Urban wildlife

The last two days I’ve been out of school on first training. The training has been at the end of Sculcoates Lane in Hull. Surrounded by industrial buildings it seems an unlikely area to hunt wildlife. However I’m reading David Goode’s nature in towns and cities. This book is part of the Collins New Naturalist series. I’m thoroughly enjoying it. i bought it when the book was selling for 99p on kindle and it is certainly proving good value for money so far. Having finished the chapter on graveyards and canals I went to investigate the graveyard across the way on my dinner break.

The graveyard is an overgrown Victorian relic providing a decent woodland habitat. I could hear robins and blackbirds, although I couldn’t see them.

There were some signs of human habitation too.

A little further along the road is the Beverley and Barmston drain. This winds through the city. My school sits further along the drain. While it isn’t the pleasantest habitat on the nose it is providing a rich habitat for waders with many ducks and moorhens enjoying the water.

Much rubbish fills the drain.


Alongside the path was the remains of a rat. Fairly inevitable in a city.

Wandering back to the first aid course I spotted something odd on the other bank. Looking through the cameras lens I was surprised to see it wasn’t rubbish, but a terrapin! Must be unwanted pets released. There were three apparently thriving. I’ve reported it to NSPCA to see what they make of it.

Certainly a few surprises today. It’s amazing the wildlife that can be found within our cities.

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Autumn equinox

The Autumn equinox has passed and the world outside is looking more Autumnal. Berries are filling the hedgerows, leaves are starting to turn and my mornings are filled with mist more frequently.

However my garden doesn’t seem to have got the message. Last weekend I still had painted ladies hanging around. They’ll be needing to get a move on soon to manage their migration.

 Bird numbers are quite low in the garden as there is plenty of food they can scavenge naturally with all the fruit on the trees and berries along the hedges. I have however seen quite a lot of great tits on my feeders.

While the variety of butterflies and moths are dropping there are still plenty of caterpillars around.

Hopefully this weekend I’ll get going on some of the Autumn garden jobs. I’ve got bulbs to go in for Spring and a number of evergreens to plant to give us some greenery over the Winter. I want to move a few plants and a few shrubs need a trim.

A walk in the park

Yesterday I made it out for a walk in the park after several days in school working in a windowless room on my Early Years School Evaluation Form. This form is the schools judgement of how well we believe we’re doing. This is then presented to ofsted when we get the inspection phone call. So I was quite happy to be outside despite a bit of drizzle.

The hedges along the park were a ladybird hot spot last year, but so far I had not seen many. Yesterday they had returned in force with lots of signs along the whole of the hedge.

Amongst the trees we found a decorated rock. Decorating rocks, then leaving them hidden places has been a craze this Summer. When you find them you photograph them a tag on facebook/twitter. I have mixed feelings about this activity. I like that it gets children out. But living by the seaside I’ve seen people taking buckets of rocks away. There is a legal side to this that many of them shouldn’t be taking the quantity they are as well as dismantling a habitat. But this probably deserves a whole blog on itself. People have always taken rocks and seashells as souvenirs from beaches, but the quantity people are taking is a concern.

Amongst the long grass area a robin perched on branch serenading.

Conkers are now falling. It looked like they’ve already been scavenged through, but I did find a few to take into school for my discovery area.

Now it’s time to get back to writing my school action plan and evaluation form. A bit nicer though working from home with a view of the garden. Red admirals and sparrows are back and forth across the garden currently.

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Bill Bailey’s Cabinet of Curiosities

Yesterday saw Alice and myself visiting the Hull Maritime Museum to see the temporary exhibit; Bill Bailey’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Bill Bailey is one of my favourite comedians, but he has also presented some wonderful natural history programs. His exploration of the life of Alfred Russell Wallace, the co-founder of the theory of evolution, is well worth keeping an eye out for on eye player. Watching Bill sighting the orangutans is great viewing.

The exhibit is, of the nature of cabinets of curiosities, a display of various items from the museums collections. Bill, in collaboration with Hull school children, has written whimsical fictionalised accounts of the origins of the items. A handful of dusty artefacts have been transformed into amusing centre pieces. The collaborations with local schools is a nice touch and some super imagination has been put into the installation.

An elephants foot.

The head of local Hull merchant looking very Lovecraftian.

The back massager 360

Alice wasn’t quite sure what to make of the peculiar exhibits.

There was also a little info reminding people that collecting many of the items on display is no longer an appropriate past time for the up and coming gentlemen in society. Collecting items of this nature is not only a social faux pas, but also illegal. It is worth contemplating the fact that wildlife crime is still common. Not just abroad but here in the UK as well.

Today was sadly the last day of the exhibit, so I’m glad I caught it before it went. The display was done in collaboration with Burton Constable. For those of you who missed out Burton Constable has a fine collection of curiosities ranging through fossils, taxidermy and a giant whale. So thank you to Bill Bailey and Burton Constable for putting on this whimisical display of wonders.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust magazine

This was my first week back at school. My outdoor area is still a building site and my garden area is looking overgrown again, so I’ll be needing to get out to tidy it all up.

I did get a nice surprise through the post. The Autumn edition of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust magazine came through the door.

I had sent in a few photos a while back and they said they’d use one, but not which. So opening up to the back I discovered my mouse photo. It was nice to see in the magazine.

As we have a family Wildlife Trust membership we get the children’s magazine. This season they covered stranded animals, animal poo, wood mice and Autumn. While Alice isn’t quite at reading point she enjoyed flicking through.

The main magazine has a good article on identifying different ducks and a feature on Autumn wildlife gardening I think I’ll enjoy reading. The magazine is a nice perk of the membership. I’m happy to of contributed in a small way.

mouse

Summer Falconry School

Today saw a large family outing to see one of my nephews help in a falconry display.  This was the culmination of a Summer attending South Cave falconry for lessons.

A few of the birds.

The last time we visited was just before Alice was born and the vultures were due to arrive. It was good to see these spectacular birds that sadly are becoming more endangered. Vultures carrion habits are important for stripping dead animals which helps stop disease spreading. Yesterday was vulture day and it’s worth spending time admiring these birds.

Alice took my dad round to explore. As well as the birds of prey they have a petting zoo. Alice seemed quite interested in the wallabies.

We saw the birds in flight.

Nephew Jacob helped with the display.

Jacob pictured with the kestrel he has been flying over the Summer.

Alice walking with Amy and Jacob.

South Cave falconry deserve praise for the work they do looking after these amazing birds. Many are rescued from owners who didn’t realise what effort training would be. The Summer school has given Jacob experience’s he isn’t going to forget soon. So if you are in the Hull area please pay them a visit.