Carnival day 2

Today we returned to the park for another day of carnival. This time we brought my parents, sis and nephews. The nephews were excited to see the birds of prey, particularly the peregrine.

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Alice enjoyed a walk in her harness.

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The boys has a bounce around in the inflatable balls. Jacob got knocked over by another lad almost as soon as he got in, but took revenge soon after.

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We saw the birds of prey display again. This time we saw the seagulls attacked. Quite nice to see them bullied for a change.

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The boys enjoyed the twister.

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And got a bit windswept.

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While Alice ate her yoghurt biscuit.

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In the Memorial Gardens a brass band was playing in the band stand and we met Alice’s other cousins.

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Another nice day out in Hornsea.

Carnival

Today was the Hornsea Carnival parade. Not quite the spectacle of Rio or Notting Hill. More a celebration of English quaintness.

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We saw three bears accompanying a juvenile offender.

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We saw Morris Dancers. For non-English readers Morris Dancing is a form of folk dancing where you tie ribbons and bells to yourself and prance around. It isn’t generally an activity you’d admit to on a first date or for that matter in the first year of a relationship.

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There were a lot of craft stalls: wood carving, rope making and jam, chutney and pies.

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In the arena area we saw a bird of prey show. However the bird wasn’t having any of it mainly deciding to sit in the trees.

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At the side the birds rested on their perches. It was nice seeing these fantastic feathers fiends for free.

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Live music played at the bottom of the hill with a eclectic mix of covers from Green day to Van Morrison

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Back at home Alice still wanted to be a butterfly with her backpack on. Tomorrow the carnival is still on so we’ll see what other eccentricities we see.

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Bees in need

This week is bees needs week. The week is organised by DEFRA and a number of charities. It aims to raise awareness of the role of bees and other pollinators. Today I’ll discuss the aims of the week and a few things you can do to help and share some of my bee photos from the last year.

Bees are vital to gardeners to pollinate many flowers as well as significant to farmers to pollinate crops.

The week is pushing five simple acts.

1: Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees. Having planted in more variety of shrubs, perennials and annuals this year I can see the difference in the number of bees in the garden. Amongst the bees favorites ate the foxgloves and the lavender. Bee and butterfly flower mixes are easy to buy these days. Once sown many will grow easily and self seed allowing the benefit continue. I grow some in my borders, but also in pots for easy management.


2: Let your garden grow wild.

There are a number of parts to this. Leaving grass in winter. Leaving pernial plants uncut gives hibernation shelters. Leaving a few wildflowers like dandelions of thistles gives pollinators there early source of pollen in the Spring. Nettles and brambles are important for many species to lay eggs on. Behind my garden there is a narrow path where nettles and brambles grow. I trim it back as little as possible, so I can still get the wheelbarrow down. This area is particularly good for moths between the thick ivy and nettles.

3: Cut grass less often. Most people don’t need an excuse to leave their lawns. But leaving grass to grow provides a number of species of butterfly good egg spots for caterpillars. Leaving grass after September gives bees nesting sites. With Alice I don’t really want the whole lawn long so I just have areas on the edge I leave to grow longer.

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4: Avoid disturbing nests. Many bees build underground nests in old mammal holes. Trees, walls and dead wood can also be nest sites. So again its about trying to leave them alone over Winter. Bee hotels can be bought or made for many solitary bees that nest above ground. While I haven’t had much luck with bees in mine they are filling with other life.


5: Think about whether to use pesticides. Many pesticides harm bees. Check labels and think carefully before buying. If you do use them try to avoid spraying flowering plants.

The wildlife trust had put out more information sheets here. Nothing very strenuous there, but will give you enjoyment of these vital, wonderful creatures.

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Brownfield

Behind the bus station is an area of brownfield land. I’m unsure what it was like in it’s previous incarnation. There are cement foundations and rubble around, but no clear signs. It has now been taken over by bindweed, nettles, brambles and other wildflowers. As I got home earlier with it being the last day of school, Amy and Alice had gone out, I went went out for a little explore. I have seen rabbits along one of the paths when out with Alice, but couldn’t take the pram down to explore. So I was hoping to see some more.

The area has had an awful lot dumped in it sadly. The site is littered with scrap metal and polystyrene.

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Despite that the site is a haven for wildlife, even on a grey day like today. The bees were out looking ethereal covered in the pollen of the thistles.

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It also provided me with my first sightings of comma butterflies this year. I haven’t seen any on my area. Now I’ve found a site they love. Eight spotted just on a short stretch. I’ve added my sightings to a the Big Butterfly Count along with one small white. It was exciting to see the flash of orange and realise it’s another species I was unaware of within my local area.

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The discovery of the comma’s was a nice discovery during the Big Butterfly Count, so even though I failed to see any rabbits the comma’s made up for it.

I’ve been busy of late, so I’m doing more quick twitter updates for anyone who uses it rather than full blogs. https://twitter.com/Jobasha to follow.

 

Dr Johnson

Today we celebrated my dad adding doctor to his name after several hard years of work researching Primitive Methodism. We’ve had a lovely afternoon in the garden. A few dabs of rain, but it’s largely stayed nice. Lots of family and friends came from across the country.

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The brass band played a nice mix of tunes. I particularly enjoyed Ilkley Moor.

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Aunty Pin and Uncle Bob added their dancing.

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Alice found some partners in crime.

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My dad with his tutor.

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Alice had a nice day wandering the garden settling around on different people.

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I made a start on theBig Butterfly Count.

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The goldfinches weren’t put off by all the people.

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Alice was pleased with herself trying to lock everyone out.

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It’s been a lovely afternoon seeing family and family friends we don’t see often enough. We’re all very proud of my dad’s hard work and it was nice to celebrate it. Even if he had been reluctant to do it.

Big Butterfly Count

Yesterday saw the start of the Big Butterfly Count. The count is organised by Butterfly Conservation to monitor butterfly numbers. Many species of butterfly have suffered over the last decade. But if we don’t put figures to the declines protection won’t be put in place.
Within my garden I will probably only see a handful of species. I see plenty of varieties of whites. However they don’t stop for photos much. The red admirals are more obliging.

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Ringlets are common on my walks.

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Speckled woods I see in my garden and out and about.

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Small tortoiseshells are a less frequent visitor to my garden, but common enough in my area.

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Then occasionally I’ll see a peacock.

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On the Big Butterfly Count website there is an ID sheet to download to help support identification. I’ve printed and laminated an A3 one to go outside in my outdoor classroom near the bug hotel to encourage the children to keep their eyes out.
Sightings can be submitted on the website here. My garden has a few more butterfly attracting plants than last year, so we’ll see if I spot anything new this year.

New Naturalist Library

Just a quick mention that a number of the Collins New Naturalist Library series are selling for 99p on Kindle currently. The New Naturalist series covers a wide range of Natural History. They are lovely in there hardback forms, but can be pricey. So 99p is a bargain as the quality and content of the few I’ve read has been excellent.

Woodlands-Oliver Rackham

The Isles of Sicilly-Rosemary Parslow

Yorkshire Dales-John Lee

Gower-Jonathon Mullard

Nature in towns and cities-David Goode

Shallow Seas-Peter Haywood

Brecon Beacons-Jonathon Mullard

They are usually fairly hefty tomes, so I won’t get through them quickly with my limited reading time. But as several are covering my area of the country I’m interested to read.