29th January 2017 – Big Garden Bird Watch

IMG_0087We 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.

IMG_0089Later 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

28th January 2017 – Pony ride

IMG_0083 IMG_0085

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

23rd January 2017 – Ice-skating Mallards

IMG_0077 (1)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

22nd January 2017 – Cattle Egret and #2minutebeachclean

IMG_0069 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.

IMG_0075B 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.

IMG_0073Total wild time – 40 mins (E), Izzy (0 mins)

20th January 2017 – Star gazing

IMG_0062Izzy 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.IMG_0061

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