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.

Butterfly

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.

 

 

Invite a tree for tea

The woodland trust invite a tree for tea pack is back again. I used it last year with my class to learn about trees. The pack last year had a nice little ID guide, some games, treasure hunt. The pack this year again looks good. The premise is basic; trees are vital to us. But they are under threat, so the tree party is celebrating the value of trees, while raising money and awareness for the Woodland Trust.

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School garden

This week the gardening club have helped dig over the last of the plots. They’ve planted tomatoes, beans, chillies and courgettes. The children keep asking are the courgettes bananas, so probably a a good thing for them to see growing. There a bit wilted at the moment, but if I let the F2s in to water a few times next week they’ll flourish in no time.

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While in the garden we had a drafonfly visiting. This fascinated the kids. Looking in the field guide I think it’s possibly a common darter. The lavender is bringing in the bees and seeing quite a few ladybirds in too.

We had a local authority visit come to check my provision in my Foundation Stage. We got a positive report, commenting how children were focussed and how much mark making was going on outside. A lot of the boys were mark making too. In a city where this is an issue that was nice to hear. The outdoor provision has been my focus, so nice to know it’s improving.

Weekends in gardens

On Sunday we headed out to my parents for lunch.

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Alice a nice time in her ladybird tent.

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Alice enjoyed watering the flowers.

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The bees enjoyed the passion flowers.

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Then we went onto Amy’s sisters for her birthday. Lots of red admirals were out and about and a few moths.

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Alice was excited to go on the trampoline. Although her feelings were mixed when on.

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The youngsters altogether.

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In my own garden the butterfly house is seeing visitors. Bananas I put out during 30 days are now attracting red admirals. They like their fruit matured a few weeks. So if you are looking to do the butterfly count leave fruit out now to over ripen.

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Bridleway exploring

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
John Muir

Yesterday had seen an unsettled night with Alice. She stubbornly refused to sleep on her own, so ended up resting on me until half 12. Then her morning nap was much the same. Thrashing and wailing all over the place. We don’t know if it’s teething, a reaction to the measles jab or something else and she doesn’t oblige by telling us. So I gave up on trying to put her down to take her out for some quiet time, pushing her around in the pram. Unlike many babies she doesn’t fall asleep that often in the pram. But I thought some time with her sat still might give her the rest she needed.

I head out round to the new housing estate. On the edge is a path taking you between what I think are wheat fields. The paths are pretty much only frequented by dog walkers.

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Along the edge of the path, in the wildflowers, I saw a number of ladybirds. Some were native I believe, rather than the usual harlequins I see.

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A lot of ringlets and red admiral butterflies criss crossed the verges.

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The slugs and snails have been out all over the last week with the heavy rain, but now it’s starting to dry out they are making a retreat.

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I took the footpath past the bunker. This path takes you through an overgrown area of brambles, bindweed, nettles and trees. It is a have for a whole variety of wildlife. Previously I discovered many robins and bluebells. On the walk up to it I passed a buddleja covered in red admirals.

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The bunker is apparently a favourite kids play spot, which is nice that it can now act as a hideout den.

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Around the bunker honeysuckle is starting to flower.

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While walking along this stretch one of the dog walkers recommended a bridleway a little further out of town. A bridleway, for those who are unsure, is defined a path for horses. Motor vehicles are not generally allowed access and they are not for the movement of livestock. Walkers can use them and cyclists, although cyclists are meant to give right of way to others. While cyclists are allowed to use them there is no local authority obligation to maintain them to be suitable for bikes. The path was not overly suitable for the pram and at times was hard going. It did however bounce Alice around enough to put her to sleep, which is what I was hoping would happen. I wouldn’t recommend it as a pram walk though, but I was lucky that the ground was dry and the grass at a length I could push through.

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The bridleway was a lovely route with fields either side, with house martins swooping over, butterflies, bees and hoverflies flitting along the edge. The path gently rolled upwards back to one of the roads out of Hornsea. I didn’t see another soul along the whole stretch.

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A hoverfly on the nettles.

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A small tortoiseshell.

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What I think is possibly a reed bunting. This is a new sighting to me to the area. I haven’t spent much time exploring the local farmland routes. As mentioned the pram is not really designed for this, but as Alice gets walking further we can get to know these paths better.

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Damselflies mating at the end of the path.

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On the way back home I spotted gull chicks venturing out of their nest on a roof.

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As Alice was still sleeping I took a little detour through the park to give her longer sleeping.

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I even spotted some mysterious activities going on at the town hall. They’ve possibly come to unmask local MP Graham Stuart.

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So Alice got a decent sleep in the end and I’ve found out about a new path and seen some new wildlife. A good trip out. I’ll finish with a photo of the hebe I got for my birthday. It’s flowering now and is a lovely colour. The bees are loving it.

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