Challenging Habitat Blog

On the river before the rest of the household stirs.

Reflections on a summer of sun and rain, new and old, labour and fruit, adventure and stability, whirlwind activity and calm.

So many good things and experiences to be grateful for and nourish the mind.

Pelican has been in Albion Dockyard for maintenance and is now ‘shipshape and Bristol fashion’, an expression that, according to our captain Ben Wheatley, was coined here, as a reflection of the superb craftsmanship of shipwrights in this historic dock.

Before leaving, we commissioned a TriLux fluorescence sensor on loan from Chelsea Technologies. For me, it is always a delight to ‘play’ with a new instrument, and this one did not disappoint: easy to operate, no-nonsense data logging and seamless plug-and-play with our laptop. ‘Shipshape’, too!

The science coordinators Rachel, Miles and Hannah on the poop deck of Pelican, discussing the method of our first deployment of TriLux for a depth profile in Albion Dock.

We’ll use TriLux for spot sampling of depth profiles along a Secchi disk to determine key algal parameters involved in photosynthesis (chlorophyll a and phycoerythrin), as well as turbidity.

TriLux sensor, cable and Hawk data logger from Chelsea Technologies.

We will contribute our data to the Secchi Disk Foundation, who research the global distribution of primary producers that underpin the marine food web.

Working from home during lockdown saves me and my carbon footprint a daily 1.5 h commute and I have more flexibility with when and how I start my day.

Some mornings just beckon a walk along the river! And today, I was rewarded with the magic sparkle of a light frost on bluebells and mist over the water.

The light is beautiful.

I seize the moment and extend my morning outing with my dog to a walk along the river.

I am rewarded by the touch of morning sun on my face and two owls calling in the ancient woodland on the Devon bank.

A snipe flits off, startled.

Happiness comes from feeling gratitude for the moments of connecting with nature.

I smile.

Almost like a watercolour painting.

Only better: it’s real.

A little farther than strictly local, I stretched my range a little beyond 7 miles to enjoy a good walk along the Cornish coast.

Blackthorn like a bridal wreath

Beautiful, uplifting, entertaining and even more so because I enjoyed this scene with a friend and our dogs.

The violets are out today,

perhaps to greet all who nurture (it is mother’s day in the UK),

perhaps to delight those who stop and notice,

and certainly to just be.

Stunning evening light to end a weekend of beautiful blue skies and sunshine warm enough for t-shirts and shorts.

I feel blessed to experience days like these in the Cornish countryside.

Strictly socially distanced by length of paddles and exercise on the water can be a very enjoyable event.

It’s almost a mini-adventure!

It’s good for my spirit to be near (or on) the sea.

The horizon, the sound, the smell and the breeze!

…and things to discover…

A low pressure system to the west brings very wet, mild air from the south.

I’m getting excited!

Amphibians are on the move under the cover of darkness and every day, I check signs of their presence in the wildlife pond I created last summer.

Today, I spotted glistening frog spawn in a puddle nearby…

…and in my own pond a saw a newt in the torch light.

It’s such a joy providing new habitat and seeing it becoming occupied!

One of the few benefits of working part-time from home during lockdown is the ability to arrange my working hours around the weather and tide.

Within reason, of course.

So today, just before 9 am, I carried my paddle board down to the board walk of my neighbours for an hour or so on the water.

Tranquil and beautiful, some sunshine and a shower, lapwings and snipes, good exercise and fresh air…

…a perfect ‘getting away from it all’ for the mind during a global pandemic when for most of us, our favourite distractions are unattainable.

My home being my office now, a true break from work necessarily also means to break the association with the space I work in.

So, I feel it increasingly beneficial to make time during the day to leave the building behind for a while, let thoughts about work fall away, to return to it refreshed and energised and grateful for the opportunity.

T-shirt weather!

The first time, it seems, in ages that the sun shines and I’m walking the dog, enjoying every second of the its rays on my skin.

Beautiful and uplifting!

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