I am Rowan Wakefield, and I am wild about all wildlife. I love watching and seeing animals, and exploring the natural world. I am very passionate about conservation, and love hearing good news about persecuted species, such as hen harriers. I recently have acquired a new tool, a video camera, and I’m hoping to add some of my best films into some of my posts. There will be some writing highlighted in blue on my posts, which you can click on and see the film I have put on, and I will also be putting photos on.
My ambitions are to do bird ringing, track wolves and lynx in Iberia and work in conservation.
In August 2017, we went to Scotland, and went on a boat trip, and saw lots of species, including bottlenose and common dolphins (both new species for me, and the common dolphins we jumping out of the water so close to the boat!), a minke whale, a great skua (new species), a white-tailed eagle, manx shearwaters, gannets and guillemots. Overall, we saw and heard an amazing 81 species of bird, and 9 species of mammal over the holiday. We saw lots of new species, including great skua, whimbrel, whinchat and sanderling. In 2014, we saw minke whales on a boat trip, and when we went last year, we saw porpoises.
My best ever mammal sighting (so far) was a wolverine in Finland, whilst on a bear watching trip. We saw 52 Russian brown bears, including cubs, and also white tailed eagle and black kite. We stayed in Finland during midsummer, and it was light all the time. We stayed by a lake in a cabin. There were black throated divers on the lake, and they called at midnight.
I have been to Majorca twice to watch birds. We saw over 40 species including wryneck, red knobbed coot, turtle dove, hoopoe, woodchat shrike, marsh harrier, osprey, Eleanora’s falcon, black vulture, griffon vulture and booted eagle.
I like to draw in pencil, and also use pencil crayon. I usually use photographs (sometimes from screenshots of my own films). I don’t ever go very far without a sketch book. I also sometimes use oil pastels, and when I do paintings, I use gouache. In 2014, Mummy had a book printed of my best drawings, and I also drew stars from Spring, Autumn and Winterwatch, and Mummy had them printed as a book too in 2017. I gave copies to my teachers, and I am hoping to give Chris Packham one when we go to this year’s Birdfair.
I collect taxidermy because I can see all the detail of the animals that you don’t normally get to see in the wild. I have a sparrowhawk, barn owl, ocelot and red fox cub and many more, my most recent being a very nice water rail. I have also preserved a buzzard wing and talons, and goldfinch wings. I would never harm an animal. The taxidermy is very old, and the animals I have collected were found dead. Mummy gave me her bird skull collection. The best is a little owl. Last year when we went to Scotland, we found a dead gannet on the beach; it has been in our shed for over a year rotting down! I also have magpie and short-eared owl wings.
When I was 7 and 8, I met David Attenborough at his yearly lectures in Richmond. He signed ‘Life of Mammals’ and ‘Life of Birds’.
In 2014, I met Chris Packham after his lecture at Birdfair, and gave him a copy of my book. He was so funny, I couldn’t stop laughing! He is so passionate about conservation. We went this year, and we’ve given Chris a copy of my most recent book, ‘Watch’, and we saw Steve Backshall, the adventurer, at his evening lecture, and his first Birdfair. In the future, I would really like to do my own lectures at Birdfair.
I am really pleased that I ticked off fox on my mammal list last year, and it was a cub, which made the sighting even better! I have seen 214 birds world-wide, and 182 species in the UK. I would really like to see a badger, alive! I am extremely pleased that so many hen harriers chicks fledged (10 altogether; see my post about it, in the In The News section) in Northumberland this year, and I hope to hear that even more breed next year, maybe even in my own county, Derbyshire.