People always laugh when I tell them how I became interested in wildlife. You see the truth is, I’d be a very different person today had a certain bird book not fallen on my head when I was 12....
I was searching for a DVD under my brother’s desk when the small green field guide found its fateful way to my face. On the front cover was a bird unlike anything I’d ever seen before. It was colourful, with a bright red face and yellow wing bars, and striking white spots along its jet black wings. For all I knew it could have been some exotic bird of paradise. And what's more, it was sitting in a tree right outside the window!
A sunset through the lens of my first video camera
I quickly skipped through the pages of the field guide until I came across an image of the mesmerising bird: a Goldfinch! I had made my first ever identification. The buzz it gave me was like nothing I had ever felt before; a buzz that I have been hooked on ever since. It has driven me to take up filming wildlife so that I can keep a record of my encounters forever, and share them with other people.
It has also driven me to start up a wildlife rescue organisation, called Oakley Animal Rescue, which responds to wildlife casualties in the local area. Over the past four years we have rescued countless wild animals, from Pipistrelle bats to Muntjac, and have become very well known for our work in the community. I will post more about O.A.R over the coming months.
'Jim' the Blackbird was rescued after he fell foul of a cat in 2012Thankfully, I have a local patch that is brimming with nature to fuel my passion for wildlife. Nestled in the quiet Buckinghamshire countryside, my small village is home to a plethora of species which I am lucky enough to encounter on a daily basis.
For example, not too far from my house is a mound of earth shared by Foxes and Badgers who have cubs every spring. I hope to film these for you later this year. And being quite close to the Chilterns, I am reminded of the success of a certain reintroduction programme every day as I see Red Kites gliding over the rooftops outside my bedroom window. Last year a pair nested in the village,so it would be nice to see them do the same again this spring.
A Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) has a yawn in the shadeJust outside of the village there is a very large forest which is home to Fallow, Roe and Muntjac Deer, as well as, Adders, Sparrowhawks, Buzzards and all sorts of Butterflies in the summer. We are also fortunate enough to have an old WW2 airfield very near us which has become a haven for wildlife. Birds such as Skylarks love it there, and it’s a great place to see Hares boxing in March!
I hope to bring you all this wildlife and much more in my blogs throughout the year. I’ll also be setting myself a ‘Wild Challenge’ every month. This month: To film a Barn Owl hunting!
Wish me luck!