Haiku for fairy rings

Grow wild are encouraging a love of fungus through poetry this month. Mark Grist performs his here. This seemed like another suitable act of wild for 30 days.

Fungi perform vital roles in our world breaking down organic matter. But this useful recycling skill didn’t fill me with inspiration. So I’m sticking with fairy folklore. 

Fairy rings are rings of mushrooms that occur naturally. But there are many tales of folklore of these rings appearing as good and evil omens. Here is my haiku to fairy rings.

Joyous the elves dance

Create their fairy portals

Door to unknown worlds

30 days of wild: day 17-rainbow hunt

Today I decided to go with an act I didn’t do last year; the rainbow hunt. I thought it was too much of a hassle, but today through my garden, walking to the Floral Hall, the beach and the park I have kept my eyes peeled for colours.

Richard (red and pink).

Of (orange).

York (yellow)

Gave (green).

Battle (blue).

In vain (indigo and violet).

I hope you like my kaleidoscope of colours. Alice’s had a nice potter in the park along the way. The rainbow hunt was a nice activity. Next year when I’ve got more planted I might try it in school.

 

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Focus on goldfinches

Yesterday morning I spotted these beauties in and out of the garden. They seem to like the bushes behind the house and the which ivy. I’ve spotted them a few times, but they’ve been too quick for photos.

The goldfinch is quite distinctive with the red face and strip of gold along their backs. They can be found in the UK all year round, although some do migrate as far ad Spain. They are more common in Southern England, so a pleasant sight up North.

Their beaks are long adapted to getting seeds out of thistles and teasles. They will also eat insects. They are traditionally farmland birds, but have been becoming more common in farmland. Nyjer and sunflower seeds have enticed them out of farmland. They have suffered from disease in the last decade. So cleaning feeders can help.

So to entice in leave sunflower seeds and nyjer seeds in Winter especially. Growing teasel can attract goldfinch in. I planted some earlier in the year but they haven’t taken off. I’ve got some more seed as affording to the pack it’s not too late to grow. 

30 days wild: day 16-den day

Today has been Save the Children den day. We took part at school as my first stay and play as EYFS coordinator. Before the kids came in we got out the kit. We had lots of tarps and curtains. We got the crates out and tables out.

We have dividers designed for splitting areas inside up. We assemble these into frames for the children to use as a starting point for dens.

 

We covered the picnic table with a tarp and set up a pop up tent for the lazier children.

 

One of the other teachers had come up with the idea of having knot examples.

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We just aimed to provide enough of a starting point for the children to take it and build a den with a degree of independence.

The children and parents were wonderful working nicely together and coming up with lots of different dens.

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Using the room dividers worked well as a frame for the dens. The kids were able to use these and pegs to make decent dens with just a small support.

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The parachute made for a big den for lots of children at once.

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The mud kitchen ended up covered.

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This was a pop up football goal put to better use.

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The most solid award goes to a den built by one of the older brothers who came. He was great with the kids and helped build a whole run of dens.

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Both kids, staff and parents have had a great morning. I think a lot of the parents were a bit disappointed to see their dens dismantled at the end of the day. We had some really positive feedback, which is nice to hear. A lot of prep goes into these days, so it was good to see it appreciated. Many of the parents were talking about carrying on with dens at home. This was lovely to hear and hopefully means moreover more children outside.

Focus on long tailed tit

Yesterday was the turn of a new visitor, the greenfinch, to be focused on. Today is another new visitor. What I believe is a long tailed tit, although they look more bedraggled than the field guide examples.

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I’ve been seeing a pair coming in to hop about in the thicket of small trees and bushes at the bottom of the garden. Apparently they flock in large numbers of up to 20. I haven’t seen this yet, but I don’t know if that’s connected to breeding.  They are in and out of a large tree a few doors down a lot. I’ve been looking out for a nest. The nest should be ball shaped made of twigs, feathers, spiders webs, moss and lichens. But they normally make them in bushes, so it may just be that their in and out of the tree as it’s a convenient vantage point.

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They feed mainly on insects, larvae and spiders. The bark on my borders is rich in spiders, so they’re hopefully getting a good feast. They can’t handle larger seeds, but can eat peanut fragments. Suet products high in energy are good for them. Winter is particularly harsh on small birds who lose their body heat more quickly than larger birds and animals. They roost in large numbers to conserve heat in Winter, so I’ll need to keep my eye out for more.

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Focus on greenfinch

I have fallen behind with my focus on blogs. My aim for 30 days is to improve my knowledge of common species I see. However with work and Alice ill this has fallen to the side. However the last few days I have had new visitors to the garden I would like to research.

Over the last few days I have seen a couple of greenfinches in the back garden. I would see these in my last house on the front garden feeder. Since moving though, I haven’t seen them much in the new garden. Until the last few days when I’ve spotted them more regularly.

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Grenfinches are common garden visitors, although they haven’t been for me. They are originally woodland birds and still are in Europe, but in the U.K. they have adapted well to gardens. They nest in conifers and dense shrubs using sticks and grass. Their clutches are usually 2 or 3 eggs and are white to beige. Their little beaks are adapted for eating seeds. They love blacksunflower seeds. They can be found throwing seed mix around to pick out the black sunflower seeds. I’ve witnessed this at my last house and then had the other seeds rooting under the feeder as a result.

Living in the north they will desert me in Winter to go to the warmer south. It’s grim up north for a little bird like the greenfinch. Their numbers had declined throughout the 70s and 80s before starting to rise in the 90s. Unfortunately they have suffered from parasites more recently reducing the numbers back down.

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To help greenfinches make sure you keep feeders stocked through Winter. Changes in farming practises such as Autumn sowing has affected their numbers. Cleaning your bird feeders also helps reduce the spread of disease.

30 days wild: day 15-cloud watching

Day 15 brings us to half way through 30 days wild. It’s going fast. I started early with a bowl of Jordan’s granola outside on the patio. Jordans, as well as making tasty granola, also support the wildlife trust. They put aside part of their land for wildlife. While enjoying my breakfast I listened to the birdsong. I’ve been trying to improve my recognition by sound. I recognised the blackbirds, sparrows, pigeons and seagulls. There was one I don’t know, but I think it might of been some form of tits. I also engaged in the wild act of cloud gazing. The moon was still visible. The previous act of finding something blue would have been easy today. The clouds today were the nice big fluffy white variety of Andy’s wallpaper in toy story.

 

 

I had lain out a tarp to dry ready for den day tomorrow and found some spectacular wildlife underneath when I moved it. It’s amazing what will settle in dark, warm spots in gardens.

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I tried unsuccessfully to capture a photo of the housemartins but only got a seagull.

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In work I started getting things ready for tomorrow’s den day. We have wigwams inside. Then outside we have tarps, parachutes, curtains, pegs, tape, and the portable dividers to use to make our dens. It’s my first stay and play with parents at my new school, so hopefully be fun.