We put out the bird food we made earlier in the week (although it didn’t work properly, as it got stuck in the moulds), as well as some cheese, oats and seed. Then, pen and paper at the ready, we sat in Izzy’s window seat and started the timer for 1 hour.
We recorded 1 Blackbird, 1 Starling and 1 Woodpigeon, as well as 2 House Sparrows, but the rain that set in after 10 minutes did not help our rather pathetic total. We did notice a Blackbird with a white feather and saw a Pheasant land in a neighbour’s garden (quite surprising in the middle of town!) and the kids had fun looking up the birds in their ID books, learning the differences between male and female birds, sketching and recording their results. To be honest, I was quite surprised by their enthusiasm and that they stuck with it for the full hour.
Later that day and despite the pouring rain, we took the dog out for a family walk. The kids burnt off some of their overflowing energy, pretending to be super heros, jumping in puddles and singing ‘the world is lovely’ at the top of their voices. We returned home drenched, but happier, to a mug of hot chocolate, complete with marshmallows.
Total wild time – at least 1 hour 30 mins
In the morning, we hung our ice decorations in the garden (they had to be put in the freezer as the weather was so mild!), then I looked after the kids, whilst B erected the new shed on the allotment. We wandered past the swollen River Coly, to the cafe, then back again.
After lunch, I took Izzy for a pony ride and spotted a rainbow.
Total wild time – E about 30 mins, Izzy about 1 hour 50 mins
We didn’t manage to fit in any wild time today, as I had to undertake some training for a new Woodland Trust volunteer position and as we went to soft play after school.
Total wild time – 0 mins
After school, the kids made decorative bird feeders, mixing melted lard with bird seed and pressing into moulds, then putting in the fridge to set.
Total wild time – about 15 mins
The kids made hanging ice decorations, by finding pretty leaves etc. in the garden, to add to tubs of water, which we left outside to freeze.
Total wild time – about 20 mins
We had friends to visit and went to the Donkey Sanctuary, which was cloaked in fog and eerily quiet. We heard a Song Thrush singing, but that was about the extent of our wild time.
Total wild time – 0 mins
E, my mum and I visited Borrow Pit whilst Izzy was at zumba and were amazed to find that it was almost entirely iced over. The Mallards skating around on the ice must have been very confused! There were geese flying and honking overhead, as well as thousands of gulls and other waders heading out to sea.
Total wild time – 35 mins (E), Izzy 0 mins
When we were last at Seaton Wetlands, I noticed that a Cattle Egret had been recorded in fields off Cownhayne Lane, so on our way to Tesco, we stopped off to take a look. As promised, there it was, following a cow through a muddy field, which was also full of Lapwing and gulls. This rare visitor was not much different from a Little Egret, but had greyish legs and a yellow beak.
B and Izzy went to Tesco, whilst E and I took the dog for a walk on the beach, which was gorgeously sunny and calm. There were people fishing all along the shoreline and plenty of people strolling along the sea front. As I had a load of dog poo bags in my pocket, I decided to do a #2minutebeachclean and quickly filled my bag with plastic bottles and bottle tops, tangles of fishing line, crisp packets, polystyrene and random bits of plastic.
E was happy to find some white stones, a handful of manky old feathers and a mermaid’s purse. He enjoyed throwing handfuls of shingle into the air and listening to them raining down onto the beach.
Total wild time – 40 mins (E), Izzy (0 mins)
I took the kids for a quick wintery walk, down to Road Green, where we found some lovely icy puddles to smash through.
Buds were bursting on the trees, though, so Spring is on its way.
Total wild time – about 30 mins
Izzy had a welly walk at school, whilst E, B and I went into Exeter, where we had lunch. Afterwards, I took E around the RAMM. He was really interested in the insect room, was a bit wary of the stuffed Tiger and generally gave me the run around. After a quick visit to the library, we went for a stroll around Rougemont Gardens, which wasn’t exactly welcoming due to the numerous pockets of people drinking and listening to loud music. We were on a mission to find squirrels though and were rewarded when one dashed in front of us and away.
After dinner, we wrapped up warm and headed out in the car to Trinity Hill Nature Reserve, which is also a designated dark sky discovery site. It was bitterly cold, but the sky was completely clear, the moon had yet to rise and the stars were amazing. We knew the names of some of them, including Venus and Mars, The Plough and Orion’s Belt, but using an app, we could identify some of the less well known stars , too.
Total wild time – Over 1 hour in total