Day 25-trail cam in action

After losing my fox photos yesterday I wanted to spend some time getting used to setting up aiming the trail cam, so I set it up through the day in the garden to catch photos if the birds in my garden.

The first catch came from the ever greedy starlings.

Not a bad start, but the light settings weren’t quite right and the camera wasn’t quite positioned right.

I tried it on the grass, but placed the camera a bit close to the meal worms I’d left to entice them in, so it needed re-angling.

I put the camera to the side while I did my gardening. I found a little friend had an attraction to the mower.

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One of my neighbours had been clearing the jungle of wildflowers at the back of his house leading to a mass snail exodus.

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A busy bee and a wealth of worms

I then reset the trap cam and took Alice for a walk around the block. There were some beautiful looking gardens currently and the bees and other pollinators were out in force.

Back at home the tram cam had captured a few more birds.

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I decided to try the grass again, this time using a feeder to aim at.

One of the fat pigeons photo bombing the starling.

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My favourite the inquisitve sparrow interested in what’s going on behind him.

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Day 23-survey time

Today I had put aside the afternoon to teach my class about bees, their importance, identify several types and a look at bee anatomy. I had also planned in time for us to go outside and take part in the great British Bee Survey for Friends of the Earth as a class. I had previously scouted the field to see what types we were likely to see. I covered the identification of the white tail, honey bee, early bumble bee and wasp. Richard Louv talks about how identifying specific species is good for children in his book last child in the woods. Strangely looking at the different types did seem to be therapeutic for the children. Taking part in a survey will gain the children another point towards their RSPB wildlife action awards.

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illustration by Catherine Pape

 

 

Armed with clipboards and identification sheets we set out onto the school field ready to tally our sights. We took out a bin bag and the litter picker grabbing stick to help clear the field. We had read about how rubbish kills small mammals and they were keen to stop that happening. The children quickly tuned into looking at the tails as they realised we were mainly finding white tails and early bumble bees. On the whole they were pretty good at spotting an tallying fairly accurately (with the exception of one boy who thought everything was a wasp).

Returning to the classroom we looked at identifying the parts of the bee. They are rapidly developing super insect knowledge and more of them are using it when we’re out. They are gradually using more of the scientific language of habitat, prey, predators, herbivores, carnivores, thorax, abdomen, which is reassuring that some teaching is going in.

 

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We also found a super looking beetle. Flew off before I got a decent photo.

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And a nice looking wildflower.

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Day 12-homes for wildlife

Today I am working on planning for school, so have limited time for anything major. I’m having a focus on feeding and homing wildlife in the garden.

In a corner of the garden near the shed I’ve added some more leaf matter and some twigs around my small log pile to help out the detrivores. Hopefully help out some of the beetles discussed yesterday.

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I’ve set up a bowl of over ripe fruit for the insect life in the garden. As my partner Amy is breastfeeding I think she’s finding peeling the bananas and oranges too much effort, since much of the time she only has one hand free. So I’m getting left with plenty of fruit for the garden. I was hoping to see a few butterflies, but mainly just seen blue bottles. But it’s all important wildlife.

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I’m hiding in a new bug house amongst one of the bushes. I’ve seen quite a lot of bees buzzing around this spot through the last two days. At one stage there were 8 bees just on this one bush. So hopefully it will serve a purpose.

The bird feeders have been topped up with a feast of seeds, nuts, meal worms, fat balls and suet blocks. I’ve also put a new jar of mealworm peanut butter in the wilco’s feeder. Thus feeder and jars is probably the most popular part of my bird feeder set up. It took the birds a while to get the idea of it, but now they snaffle it all up in a few days.

I’ve moved a few sunflowers into the flowerbeds that I’ve been cultivating inside on the windowsill the last month. Hopefully they will attract insects and later on the seeds will be a good source of food for the birds.

As we’ve had lots of visitors seeing baby Alice I’ve saved the tea bags and loose leaf tea to use for fertiliser in the garden. Ripping open the tea bags I’ve added the tea around the bases of several plants to put nutrients¬† back into the soil. I’ve been doing this over the Spring and have noticed a greater abundance of worms in my normally worm low clay soil. Apparently tea is also good for spreading around root vegetables for stopping maggot damage.