30 Days Wild 2016 – Days 21-24

We’ve had a slightly more successful last four days.

On Tuesday (day 21) my mum came to stay for a few days and we took her to see the Peregrines. Day 22 saw the kids at Forest School and my mum and I went for a walk around Warren Farm and Nonsuch Park. It was very hot and muggy.. good weather for biting insects 😉 We also saw lots of lovely wild flowers, birds and bugs.w

Later on in the day I spotted a Summer Chafer and a Lesser Stag Beetle and Gordon also seperately found a Summer Chafer in our garden. We also watched a most impressive thunderstorm just before we went to bed.

Day 23, Thursday.. a day we always struggle with due to activities. This week however we started out well and while we were eating breakfast we spotted three juvenile blackbirds in our garden with both parent birds. The blackbirds don’t always chose to visit us so it was lovely to see.x

We also all managed to get some outdoors time at our HE Group. The kids spent a lot of time playing in a huge puddle left by the massive amount of rain we’d had the night before!

Day 24 (today). We met up with some HE friends and enjoyed a picnic at Nonsuch Park. It was a lovely day.. hot and sunny. Thomas had a mud fight with some of his friends, while Jasmine and Ben played and bug hunted. We saw a couple of crickets, a caterpillar and various small bugs. This evening we spent 45 minutes watching the juvenile peregrines practice their flying and hunting skills. It was amazing!TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_24

30 Days Wild 2016 – Days 15-20

It’s been an odd few days. Lots of rain, poorly children, trying to fit too much stuff into the days. Gordon was working a lot last week and is working five days this week too. He is working a day shift and this has meant we simply don’t seem to have enough time in the day to get everything done. Something has had to give and unfortunately it has been our wild time. We have fitted some outdoor time into each day, but frequently it has been the same activities and just playing in the garden.

Day 15, Wednesday, saw the kids at Forest School and I went on Peregrine watch while they were there. As I was dropping them off we saw some caterpillars on the nettles.

Day 16 wasn’t a particularly good day. I really struggled to fit any nature time in at all and all we managed was playing outside at our regular Home Education Group.

Day 17.. I spent two hours in the morning on Peregrine watch again with one other volunteer. We saw all four juveniles flying well, which was really lovely to see. Gordon brought the kids along just before lunch and we all stayed for another half an hour before we needed to go to the shops and library.

Day 18, we had a busy day fitting in shopping and a local church fair and so again our wild time was a brief stint in the garden and some games at the church. We did also fit in 15 minutes Peregrine watching too.

Day 19, Sunday, was Father’s Day. I have to admit i was very disorganised this year and hadn’t really sorted anything out except going to Morden Hall Park for the “Solar Seekers” event they were hosting with Landsend Astronomers. They had Solar telescopes to safely view the sun during the day. I knew both Gordon and Thomas would enjoy this so we went early as the forecast was for it to get cloudier as the day went on. It was the right choice! We got some lovely views of the sun but when we went back after lunch it had clouded over. On the way home we stopped of at the station for some Peregrine watching. The birds were fairly quiet and so in between looking in their binoculars the kids did some good bug hunting!

And finally, day 20, today. It rained all morning and Jasmine is still full of a cold so we were quite limited with what to do. When it finally brightened up this afternoon we put on our wellies, grabbed our pac-a-macs (just in case!) and went on a “Penny hike”. I remember doing this as a child and when I explained it to the kids they liked the idea. So we took our coin and let it decide where we should walk! We managed a good hours walking and spotted flowers, bugs, butterflies and more along the way.

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30 Days Wild 2016 – Days 13 & 14

Day 13 of the 30 Days Wild challenge saw us watching the local Peregrine chicks again. I went up early in the morning for an hour before Gordon went to work and then I took the kids back up later on in the afternoon for a short time. They did all watch the birds briefly, but they spent more time digging in the dirt along the edge of the car park looking for woodlice!

We also bought some nature magazines to look through.

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Day 14 has seen us, finally, getting out and doing something different! We went on an Alphabet Nature walk this morning with some friends. We walked from our friends house to local park/woodland and tried to find something for each letter of the alphabet. We did quite well and managed 24 letters, although some were rather random (buZZing for Z, quivering leaves for Q for instance!) but the kids really enjoyed it and spotted lots of things as we walked.

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This evening while Jasmine was at Brownies I took the boys up to watch the Peregrines for 40 minutes. Two of the juveniles have done some, not quite successful, flying today and while one made it back to the top of the building, one is caught in pigeon netting and we’re not sure if it can get itself out. Fingers crossed for it tomorrow.

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30 Days Wild 2016 – Days 10-12

Its been a pretty quiet weekend here. But we have still managed to fit in some #wildtime each day.. although yesterday’s was slightly random!

On Friday and today I have spent some time helping the local Peregrine watch volunteers as we wait for the four chicks to fledge. Thomas joined me on Friday morning as well but Jasmine and Ben chose to have their wild time at home in the garden.

Friday didn’t see much action with the birds but one did fledge yesterday and then got stuck on a neighbouring building so I went back this morning to help keep watch. I also took the kids later on this afternoon and we were lucky enough to see both adults flying and one chick flapping on the edge of the roof.

Yesterdays wild time involved rain, and lots of it. We were walking over to the local carnival and got caught in a torrential downpour – the third this week but the first one we’ve been out in. The kids loved it! We had waterproof coats and wellies/walking boots on but even this wasn’t enough to keep us dry! We were soaked through but luckily it didn’t dampen the mood and we still had a good time at the fair once the rain had stopped.

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30 Days Wild 2016 – Day 9

Another Thursday and therefore another quick #wildtime activity required to fit into our busy day. This morning we went to our local park and took some photographs of nature. The children had an old iPhone each to take photos on and I just said they should take photos of things they liked. With such an open task, they did their best to take as many photographs as possible in the time available!

rHere are four of the best from each of them …

From Jasminea

From Thomasaaa

From BenaaTWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_09

30 Days Wild 2016 – Day 8

We have had a very busy wildlife based day today. We started this morning with a walk to a local green space to pick some elderflowers ready to make cordial later on. I wasn’t sure I was going to bother making cordial this year but the kids really enjoy picking the flowers and helping with the process of making the cordial, so even though most of them won’t drink it I decided to go ahead!

As we had five small ones this morning the elderflower picking didn’t take very long and we got loads! So we decided to look for a nearby geocache that we’ve not found before. After initially looking behind the wrong tree (!) once we got the right tree Gordon found it quite quickly.oThis afternoon the kids had forest school and Gordon and I took the opportunity to go for a walk around Nonsuch Park to see what wildlife we could find. We saw lots of bugs and beetles, and we heard several birds singing. My favourite spot of the afternoon however, was the dozens of Small Blue butterflies in the meadow just outside the park 🙂

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Once we got back home we started making the elderflower cordial. The house smells so nice .. so flowery and summery! Just 36 hours to wait until we can strain the syrup and try the drink!

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30 Days Wild 2016 – Day 7

Today has been a day of two halves. This morning it was hot, sunny and a perfect time to be outdoors. We went to the garden centre to buy some mealworm for the Starlings and ended up picking up some Sweetcorn and Squash plants as well. The kids spent some time playing in the garden and then decided that their #30dayswild activity today would be to look at nature through a microscope. They have a handheld microscope each and they do enjoy taking them out and looking at different things. Today we studied pollen, petals, soil and a teeny, tiny aphid on a redcurrant leaf.

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And then this afternoon we had torrential rain and thunder! Thomas and I stood outside listening to the thunder before it started raining, we spotted a frog climbing out of the pond, and then enjoyed the freshness of the rain as it started .. but we had to bid a hasty retreat indoors as the rain got heavier and heavier! mFinally, by late afternoon the rain stopped and the sun came out again. The birds all came out of hiding and the garden feeders were very busy. Just before we had our dinner Jasmine spotted two Ring-necked Parakeets on the peanut feeder 🙂 We’ve only just started filling the peanuts again after squirrel-proofing it (hanging it from a very long wire!) so it is lovely to see some of the previous visitors returning 🙂 n

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30 Days Wild 2016 – Day 6

Day 6 saw us in the garden again. It has been another beautiful sunny day.. even hotter that yesterday I think .. so the kids have played out almost all day. This afternoon we all weeded the garden beds ready for planting some things out. We’ve had tomatoes and green beans in small pots for a while – the tomatoes were bought from the garden centre but the green beans have been grown from seed. We’ve been waiting for the weather to brighten up (and some free time at home!) so we could plant them out and so today seemed a good opportunity.

Jasmine and Ben got stuck in to the weeding and did a really good job, although there were a few moments when they disappeared to replant a particular weed in their bug house seed trays! Thomas did a little bit but he was also reading so it was a few minutes weeding, a few minutes reading!

Once the weeding was all done all 3 kids helped me plant out the tomatoes and green beans, and then with the pots we’d freed up they planted some sunflower seeds. We are rather late planting these but I’m hopeful they’ll still grow – just maybe not so tall!

jAnd after all the hard work all three decided to spend some time in the tree!kTWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_06

 

30 Days Wild 2016 – Day 5

After our last 2 very busy days out of the house, today we had a much needed quiet day at home. Not that we were indoors though.. it has been a glorious day here and so we’ve spent most of the day in the garden.

The kids have spent time playing and lots of time making mud pie and homes for bugs, and we did our garden bioblitz. We have also been putting our trap-camera out again over the last couple of days and we’ve caught a few birds and the squirrel on it in the early morning but nothing overnight except cats so far.

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30 Days Wild 2016 – Day 4

Day 4 of our #30DaysWIld challenge saw us heading over to Morden Hall Park to join in with the Bioblitz that was being conducted today. Ever since we went to our first Bioblitz a few years ago we’ve joined as many as we can each year and we’ve had a great time at each one. Today’s was no exception! It was none-stop for the full 5 hours we were there as we took part in river dipping and the bird walk, and joined the invertebrate guys as they did a pretty thorough survey of the smaller creatures that live in the park.

I’d love to be able to tell you the names of all the animals we found today but, well, firstly I’ll never remember them all and secondly most of them only had scientific names so I’d have absolutely no hope with them anyway! We were very lucky to be working alongside some of the best invertebrate people in the country and I am always so grateful that they give the kids the opportunities to join in and never bat an eyelid when they pick the creatures up (in fact they were positively encouraging them to do so!) The knowledge these guys have is incredible and we definitely learned loads. Jasmine also discovered how essential a pooter is when collecting animals and now “has” to have one!

So, to name some of the animals we found today..

Male and Female Banded Demoiselle, Blue-tailed Damselfly, flea beetle, pollen beetles, crab spider, wolf spider, jumping spider, Orb spiders, 7-Spot Ladybird, 14-Spot Ladybird, Harlequin Ladybird, flower beetles, earwigs, sawfly larvae, mayfly, lacewing, springtails, woodlouse, Heron, Cormorant, Canada Geese, Egyptian Geese, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wren, Ring-Necked Parakeet, Jackdaw, Chiffchaff, Little Grebe, Tufted Ducks, Blackbird, Robin, Common Newt, Southern Hawker Dragonfly Nymph, grasshoppers, crickets, ants, Cardinal Beetle, Soldier Beetle, Cockchafer, water louse, freshwater shrimp, bloodworms, leech, stickleback, shield bug, Red Admiral, Brimstone.
zyxwvAnd in addition to all the animal counting we did today, we also took a moment to stand next to the poster for the event because it featured Gordon, Jasmine and Thomas at the last one!

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