I’m taking part in the Wildlife Trusts’ #30dayswild again this year, a great challenge to add a random moment of wildness to your life every day for a month.
Taking time to go wild every day for #30dayswild during June could feel a bit daunting, a challenge. I’ve found that it’s easy to fit in little snatches of wildness every day, even at times that feel like they couldn’t be wild at all.
The daily commute is one of those times, it can feel wasted, spent getting from home to work or school and back again, something to be endured. Even sat in a traffic jam, it’s possible to be a little bit wild.
One of the best ways to add wild to your commute is to walk all or part of the way if you can. If you’re getting public transport this could be the walk to the bus stop or train station or getting off a stop early and walking. Take time to notice the weeds poking out from the gutter or between paving slabs, the different shades of green on trees and shrubs, flowers blooming in gardens and parks, birds flying overhead, cloud formations in the skies, there can be lots to notice on even a short walk.
If walking part of the commute or journey is not an option, fear not, there’s still lots you can do to make your commute or journey more wild. I drive to work each day, at over 10 miles it’s too far to walk and I need my car for work, here are things I do to make my commute wild:
- Listen to a wild audiobook, my current “read” is Wonderland: A Year of Britain’s Wildlife, Day by Day, written, and read by, Stephen Moss and Brett Westwood. In my mind I’m escaping to the Scilly Isles, the Somerset Levels, a midlands wood and more…
- Learn bird song- in my car are British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) CDs of birdsong, I’m trying to learn to ID birds by their song so that when I’m out and about bird ID comes more easily
- Check out the road verges, coming up to one set of traffic lights where I often queue, the road verge is full of oxeye daisies, red clover, buttercups, sorrel and other wildflowers and it looks wonderful. It lifts my spirits every morning to see the beauty of the flowers.
- Keep an eye out for birds, on recent commutes I have spotted a kestrel hovering at the side of the road, buzzards and red kites overhead, a heron fishing in a roadside stream and a noisy party of starlings squabbling on the road verge. One evening recently I noticed a man with a large telephoto lens pointed at the top of a nearby tower block and on glancing upwards, stuck in unmoving traffic as I was, was delighted to spot a peregrine falcon perched on the side of the roof. In fact, we can see the building from our bedroom window, and setting up a telescope I was able to share the peregrine with my husband once I got home.
- Notice the changing seasons, my commute looks very different in different seasons, the changes subtle day to day, but profound over a longer time scale. It’s good to notice the changes each day, new flowers blooming, the changing of the trees as they come into leaf, crops growing in the fields.
- Keep your eyes open, you never know what you may see. I’ve seen a weasel shoot across the road in front of me, deer grazing in motorway side fields, rabbits snacking on roadside grass and stunning sunsets and amazing moonrises all from my car commute.
- Travelling by train can give more options for wildlife spotting, if you can see out of a window, railway sidings are edgelands, often neglected and great for wildlife. Beside the train tracks great profusions of buddleia can be seen, foxes can be spotted nosing around, glimpses of woods, meadows, heaths and gardens can be seen, a rich tapestry of habitats. Even amongst the urban sprawl, patches of wildness can be found next to the trainlines if we only keep our eyes open and look. Even in the London Underground it may be possible to watch mice (or rats!) foraging between the tracks!
- If travelling together, especially if you’re travelling with children, wild games can be played in the car- eye spy and twenty questions to guess the animal or plant you are can liven up a journey, little challenges like thinking of an animal or bird or plant for every letter of the alphabet can fill time or keeping nature spotter books in the car for longer journeys can make a journey more wild.
- If you have time, stop somewhere wild on your commute. I pass fairly close by a small nature reserve on the way home and sometimes pop in there for just a few minutes of peace and quiet before carrying on my way home. There are also parks on the way, where I can stop for a walk or a few moments by a pond, all without going out of my way. I used to share a commute into west London with my husband and in the summer we would often pick up a picnic on the way home and stop at Chobham Common or a local park on the way home for some time outside in the evening.
Do you do anything to make your commute wild? Have you seen any amazing wildlife on your commute? I’d love to hear about your experiences!