28th July 2016 – Colyford Common

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I had to take a deep breath as we arrived at Colyford Common, as Izzy was driving me a little bit crazy. We followed the path down towards the marsh and found a Slow-worm under a bit of corrugated roofing felt (obviously left there as a reptile refuge). There were loads of butterflies too – Gatekeepers, Speckled Woods and Red Admirals.

IMG_20160728_164312312_HDRIzzy raced ahead, totally ignoring any instructions from me, onto the boardwalk and towards the bird hide overlooking the tramline. We peered through our binoculars at the Herons and Little Egrets, but there was somebody else in there trying to do some serious birdwatching, so I thought I had better remove my noisy children as soon as possible. I checked the logbook and noticed that a juvenile Marsh Harrier had been spotted there earlier in the day. Back outside, I’m sure I spotted it perched on an overhead wire, but with the kids racing off in opposite directions, I had little chance to double check. We waved to passing trams and I tried to remember my marsh plant ID, as we followed the markers around the reedbed. We tried to guess what had made the footprints we found in the mud, Izzy guessing that they were made by owls, then, munching on banana chips to keep the hunger whinges away, we carried on, along the narrow path between the towering reeds, which rustled loudly in the breeze. Izzy was in her element, pretending she was in the jungle and singing a made up song.

Izzy then took it upon herself to rescue ‘drowning flies’ from a pool, using a feather to scoop the insects out. She also found the remains of a crab shell and insisted that she wanted to take it home to keep (luckily she lost it moments later).

Charging ahead again, she stung her legs on some Nettles. I found her some Dock leaves and she rubbed the stings, noting the little lumps that appeared.

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Total wild time – 1 hour 30 mins

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