21st July 2016 – Red Arrows

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OK, I am definitely cheating here. The Red Arrows are not wild in any way. But, prior to their arrival, we did spend an hour playing in Lyme Regis’ parks, rolling down hills and chasing around, before pottering  on the beach, burying Mummy in the sand and paddling in the sea. Then, we enjoyed the display (which was pretty amazing) and went home for bath and bed.

Total wild time: 1 hour 20 mins

20th July 2016 – Den’s a no-no

My kids are possibly the only kids in the history of the world who don’t appreciate a den. I made one in the garden using a sheet slung over the swing frame and a chair, then filled it lovingly with cushions and books, creating a lovely, inviting shady spot.

They refused to go in it, despite me crawling in and showing them how comfortable it wa. Izzy had a complete meltdown and ordered me to take it down (I think she was upset about a tiny cobweb on the chair, although even when this was wiped away, she was no keener to explore the den). E copied his sister and started wailing, too. So, I gave up and put Wii Dance on, instead.

Later, I tried to liven up a dog walk by giving the kids binoculars and asking them to count the House Martin nests we passed. But, this turned into a disaster, too, with Izzy whingeing for the entire time we were out.

Even later, Izzy and I made pizza and we all went to Seaton for a picnic dinner. The beach was packed with fishermen/women, families barbecuing,  eating takeaways and playing. The sea was just as busy with kayakers, paddle boarders, sailing boats and swimmers.

The kids chased each other over the pebbles, whilst I tried to relax, listening to the sound of the waves and cloud-watching.

Total wild time: About 1 hour 20 mins

19th July 2016 – Trip to Bicton Park

IMG_20160719_115120758The weather was perfect for Izzy’s preschool trip to Bicton Park – hot, sunny and with a lovely breeze. We had a fantastic time exploring the park, which was full of huge trees and inviting shade. The children played on the tractors and playground, then we went on the train, chugging past Moorhens and Mallards on the lake and the tallest tree in the pinetum. Then, we did a loop around the Rose, Italian and Mediterranean gardens, pausing at the Shell House to admire the many different types on display. There were dozens of Common Blue Damselflies in mating wheels over the moat and quite a few dragonflies (mostly Southern Hawkers, I think, but also a Common Darter) buzzing about. We also spotted Whirligig beetles spinning circles on the water surface. After a picnic, more playing and some whingeing about the lack of ice cream, we went back to the stream garden and chilled out there for a while. Unsurprisingly, E fell fast asleep on the coach home (sitting upright – I had to lean across the aisle to prop him up!).

Total Wild Time: 4 hours (although, admittedly, much of that was spent in the playground!)

17th July 2016 – Big butterfly count

thumbnail_IMG_1699It was a scorching day and we mostly spent it lazing around in my parent’s garden, watching the Buzzards soaring overhead. The banks of wildflowers in the garden, filled with Oxeye Daisy, Musk Mallow, Wild Hedge Bedstraw and Common Knapweed, as well as chirping grasshoppers, seemed a good p 1ace to do the Big Butterfly Count, but in our 15 minutes we only counted 2 Meadow Brown and 1 Large White. Just after the count, a couple of Marbled Whites turned up, but I had been hoping to record a few more!

The kids did not really participate, as they were more interested in playing hide and seek with Uncle Adam, who had just returned from travelling, but they still had a good few hours of outdoor play in the sunshine, with or without butterflies.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to submit my results, as the website is down, but hopefully it will be up and running again soon.thumbnail_IMG_1689

Total Wild Time: About 2 hours

16th July 2016 – Natural Seaton Festival and sea-swimming

Bug hotelThe Natural Seaton Festival was just getting started when we arrived, but we saw Horace the Pliosaur, identified some birds’ eggs, (where I learned that Shelduck lay their eggs in rabbit burrows), then Izzy and E made a bug hotel, which we hung in our garden.

Later in the afternoon and trusting the weather forecast rather than the actual weather we were experiencing, we headed to the sea to swim. The water was cold, but bearable and the waves were choppy, but not too rough.  B held Izzy tightly whilst she swam and E splashed about in the shallows with me. B did some snorkelling, but didn’t see anything of interest and then I got a chance to swim on my own, whilst B watched the kids. We all left the beach feeling exhilarated and starving. It was almost 7 by the time we got home, so we had a very quick and easy dinner, before bath time and bed.Sea swimming

Total wild time: Festival – 30 mins, Sea swim – 1 hour 20 mins

15th July 2016 – Following the bees

We pottered around the garden following the bees we saw, watching them collect nectar from the Lavender and Purple Toadflax. We recorded Common Carder, Buff-tailed Bumblebees and Honeybees. And we have a nest of something like Mason Bees in our doorframe, which keep getting trapped on the wrong side of the door. I have tried in vain to identify them, so if anyone can enlighten me, I would be very grateful!

bees in the door

Izzy and E were meant to be drawing the bees we saw, but E had a meltdown because I was using the camera phone and didn’t want to give it to him and Izzy (dressed as Tinkerbell) rebelled by drawing flowers, instead. Then, E required a nappy change and we had to call it a day, anyway.

Total wild time: 35 mins

14th July 2016 – Lyme Regis beach life

DSC_0519It felt like a paddle-in-the-sea kind of a day, so we popped down to Lyme Regis, parked in the town and wandered down to the beach via the colourful gardens, where the kids took the opportunity to roll down the grassy slopes and chase the seagulls. On the sand, they forgot sibling rivalries for a few moments to bury B together, then we made Izzy a mermaid tail. We dipped our toes in the sea, admired the boats in the harbour and played frisbee. It was a clear evening and we could see along the coast to Golden Cap and Ridge Cliff, where we had flown a kite the other week. The kids were in a great mood all the way home, even though it was past dinner time and they were hungry (although obviously there was an unscheduled wee stop, because there always is). The fresh air and exercise had obviously had the desired effect and hopefully they will sleep well tonight.

DSC_0505DSC_0507DSC_0510Total wild time: About 1 hour 30 mins

13th July 2016 – Seaton Jurassic

IMG_20160713_114042963 We took the bus to Seaton Jurassic, which we’ve been to several times before. However, we last visited a few months ago and the outside area had been extended with new exhibits since then. The wildlife garden had also grown up and was full of bees and birds.

IMG_20160713_112621046_HDRThe kids enjoyed stamping their booklets and Izzy did all the quizzes and brass rubbings. We hunted for prehistoric life, explored the giant rockpool, learned about the tides, dug for fossils, fished for magnetic crabs, created food webs and of course, waved at the passing trams.

Total wild time: 2 hours

12th July 2016 – Practising wildlife photography

IMG_20160712_151636861I gave Izzy her camera and E my camera phone for the journey to and from preschool and set them the challenge of photographing wildlife. E took a very thorough pictorial account of our journey as he saw it (mainly his feet, his thumb and the pavement) and filled my memory card, whilst Izzy was a little more selective, photographing the ferns we found growing on the town’s walls, noting that different species had different shaped sporangia, as well as the drops of water on the leaf of a Lady’s Mantle (which everyone knows are used to make fairy potions) and every flower, cloud and bird we passed. She strayed outside the brief to additionally photograph houses, cars and the fire station.

IMG_20160712_151621730Our usual 10 minute walk took 5 times as long, but the kids loved it.

Total wild time: 50 mins