Matt’s experience nature journaling

Two weeks ago I challenged myself to keep a nature journal and so here is my experience of writing one…

I was maybe a bit over ambitious thinking I would be able to keep one every day as I only made four entries in those two weeks but I’ve realised it is something that you don’t have to do every day. Here’s how my first entry went –

“20th May 2020

Cycled through Kelham Island, Sheffield central and Nether Edge on my way to the allotment.

I saw sand martins nesting in a crack in the wall next to Blonk Street bridge.

I tried to find a wildflower ‘Spring Beauty’ which I had made a record of on my iSpot account a few years ago in Nether Edge but when I got to the place where I had seen it all the paths had obviously been sprayed-off. I wondered whether there was a way that path maintenance and footpath wild/wallflowers could co-exist?

I heard a blue tit and a song thrush in the allotment”

I then decided to draw a picture of the wildflower ‘Green Alkanet’ which had popped up next to the seating area at the allotment.

As you can see the drawing is very rough. I would never usually consider doing this but since it is a useful part of a nature journal I decided to do it. Whilst observing it my attention was drawn to its very hairy stem, deep veined leaves and the purple-blue colour of its small flowers. I studied the flowers further and noticed how the petals were formed to give the flower its shape.

I found the act of drawing it really lifted my mood and made me feel a deep connection to nature.

Other entries…

“21st May

Ate lunch outside and saw a lime tree leaf had galls on it. I researched it and found out it was of a mite call Eriophyes Tilliae. It has red finger-like projections protruding out of the top of the leaf.

Cycled along the river after work, saw lots of yellow-flag iris”

“23rd May

Very windy. The cow parsley heads were rocking back and forth like a metal loving headbanger”

“31st May

Cycled up to the allotment and saw a cinnabar moth land on my ragwort I’d been leaving to grow. I got very excited to see it and felt justified for leaving it grow so big next to my lettuce. Hopefully I’ll see some caterpillars on it soon.”

Cinnebar moth which lays its eggs on ragwort and whose black and orange catapillars can be seen chomping through it in summer

I’m going to continue to keep a nature journal as I found it to be quite reflective and it helped me to consider the beauty in the world that bit more. I may invest in a few better pens to draw with as well as a better note book to do it in.