My talented nephews

In a break from my climate change petition efforts I’d like to share some nature efforts from my nephews. This morning they’ve been having a go at watercolours at my dads.

Jacob did a super shark and Joe an excellent effort at a fox.

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Then Jacob and Joe had a go with my camera at capturing some snaps of my parents garden.

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Some excellent photos by Jacob of bees in passion flowers.

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Joe took a good one of my dad, his granddad.

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Jacobs photo of the most wild thing of all.

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One from me on my phone.

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And some by me of my baby Alice being fussed over my family.

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Day 28-success of the trail cam!

This morning I set up the trail cam at the back of the school field in the wooded area. At lunchtime I went to collect it in. The camera wasn’t quite positioned ideally as a number of animals seem to of crept up close, so only half was captured. But I was happy to see this little chappy trundling past.

Then a little later in the morning this young lady popped her head in to have a look.

I was quite happy to capture the hedgehog, even if I didn’t get a clear shot. But I still wanted the to get a good sight of the foxes. So I set it up for the afternoon.

The first visitor did have a streak of red, but not a fox.

But then later in the day I got what I was waiting on.

Day 27-Foxes

Well I set the trap cam up hidden in my school wooded area and managed to capture one of the foxes again. Not as good as Fridays attempts, but they excite the kids when they saw them. Most are a bit blurry, whereas the photos I lost on Friday were clearer, so will keep trying for better.

To begin spot the fox.

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Still watching.

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In a bit closer…….

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…make a dash for it….

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Will try to continue to try to get a better clear shot.

 

Today is also national badger week, so in the spirit of the event I read my class the disgusting sandwich.

A suitably gross story about a hungry badger.

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 22-wildflowers

Today we carried on our class National Insect Work writing about what we saw on our mini-beast hunt. Some super writing was produced with high levels of engagement from all. The kids are picking up the names of species new to them. There getting more used to where to look. When we first went out to look for snails they were a bit stand offish, not knowing what to do. Now there getting stuck in looking under leaves on plants, lifting stones, digging in the dirt. Things kids should know how to do already by the age of 5 and 6. They still show a preference for snails, but are keen on the hunt for beetles with our class pet.

I took another group put at dinner to develop their photography skills. This group mainly showed a fondness for wildflowers and mushrooms. So today was predominantly out of focus daisies, but they’re enjoying exploring the school fields edges which are normally off limits to them.

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The children have been very excited to see our coconut bird feeders are going down. We haven’t seen any birds on them, as 23 noisy children is enough to scare off most birds. But they can see it’s going down.

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We spent the afternoon sat out in the sun for sports day. Too hot for them, lots of tears when they didn’t win, but done and out of the way. A number of frogs for found in the grass where the kids were sat.

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A pretty good day for wild exploration.

 

 

Day 17-Feed the birds, tuppence a bag

Today my class and I set up two coconut feeders to add to our window feeder to try to lure some birds a little closer.

I took another couple of children out to take photos around the school site. They’re really keen to get a good photo of the two magpies on the field. But the magpies are too weary to let them get close.

 

Today I also signed up for a free online course to learn more about the soil under our feet. I completed the Open Universities free introduction to ecosystems earlier in the year and thoroughly enjoyed studying again. While probably no more detailed than the A level biology I did decade ago it was still nice to refresh my knowledge and hear some more up to date research. The courses through future learn have varied a lot. Some I’ve tried have been great, others useless, but as soils is being led by my old University, Lancaster, I am hopeful for an interesting course. It will also carry on my wild studies after the 30 days of wild sadly end.

Day 16-A bird on a wire

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Today was a busy day at school. Report writing during the afternoon and then moderating maths after work at another school. A fairly unproductive meeting didn’t leave me in the best mood. On the way home I stopped of at B&Q along the River Hull. After popping into get a few bits I needed I took a walk down a narrow footpath enclosed by thick bushes. This took me out into a scruffy path alongside the River Hull. Littered by cans and crisp packets, and probably frequented by less than savoury character at night, might not seem like the nicest area to look for wildness, but flitting back and forth over the river were a host of birds. Bees were flitting over the bushes. A few minutes walking just a short way down the path left me feeling much more revived especially after seeing a lovely little chap in green on the wires of B&Q.

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Back at home after sorting out tea, school work I did some late night weeding and enjoyed some moon gazing in the peace of the garden.

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A few other sites in the garden.

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Day 14-Budding young photographers

We started the school day today with the children entering to a slide show of photos of wildlife around the school grounds: black birds, spiders, snails and bees. I let them know I would be taking out children over the next few weeks for them to take photos of the wildlife around school as we try to map out what is on the school site. After finding several children crushing snails yesterday with glee I’d like them to learn a bit more respect for snails. While I have slug and snail beer traps in my garden I don’t take glee in killing them.

At breaktime we went out as a class into an enclosed area to snail hunt in the solid thick plants. Initially the children couldn’t spot any. After they’d been encourage to get hands on, lift leaves, check in the thick of the bushes they found an abundance in the damp wet plants. Then they were given a chance to take some photos. This largely led to out of focus snails photos, but all budding wildlife photographers need to start somewhere.

We have taken two snails into the classroom (returned back that afternoon). So we could see them move within a tank set up for them. The children loved seeing the snails foot in action through the transparent plastic. Hopefully have less being crushed for a few days as they learn to enjoy and watch rather than kill.

At dinner took a smaller group out to look for a wider variety of wildlife. This gave me some more out of focus daisies, but the children had a whale of a time. They got up closer to some of the birds, bees, spiders and their favourite the frogs.

 

My personal favourite.

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Not too bad for five and six year olds.

 

Day 13-Foxes

Day 13 saw the foxes on the school playing field very active. It had been a wet drab morning, but in the afternoon it had cheered up a bit and my class had got out for PE. When we came out the sports coach called us over warning us to come quietly. Over by the bushes were 3 young foxes. My class lay flat on the playground and spent the first 20 minutes of their PE lesson watching the foxes play fighting. The children loved how the foxes played just like them. One child came up to tell me they must be carnivores with their teeth. A very proud moment for me that a lesson had actually gone in. A few of the children had a few misconceptions about foxes. One boy told me they’re as dangerous as wolves. So we might need to examine this concept a bit further. Sadly no photos as my camera is in the repair shop, so I am down to a compact for the rest of the month.

On the subject of foxes there is a new book about documenting foxes in Britain. Foxes unearthed is currently very cheap on kindle £1.99.

I have also been having problems with several of the more blood thirsty children enjoying crushing snails. As it has been wet over each night there are a lot around. I’ve started taking some photos (on the aforementioned compact)  to map out the wildlife and start looking at how we can take care of all of it. I’m going to share them with the kids tomorrow morning, then look at letting them try to photograph them over the day.

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Day 6 – write a poem

So far most of the poems I’ve seen have been haiku’s. Being a year 1 teacher I will stick with the simpler acrostic poem.

Terrific

Heart-warming

Idealistic

Regenerative

Titillating

Yearly

Delightful

Amazing

Yeatsian

Satisfying

Olfactory

Flourishing

 

Wonderful

Inspiring

Little

Distractions

 

Not amazing, but a bit of a rushed job.

A few photos from my parents garden.

 

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