Izzy giggled for the entire time that we were pony riding, enjoying Cracker’s fast trot and making me run next to her. The Wild Daffodils, Primroses and Violets were flowering and the birds were singing.
Whilst we were out, B and E were walking to the allotment and stopped to watch a Heron catch a fish in the River Coly.
Total wild time – 1 hour 23 mins (Izzy), 20 mins (E)
Izzy’s class welly walk was cancelled due to bad weather, so the only wild time we got was walking to Grandmum and Grandad’s house to help them move in. The Coly was overflowing its banks and we paused to watch a Heron fishing in the swollen river. We also watched the birds at the bird feeders in my parent’s garden, including 2 Pheasants, before tucking into fish and chips for dinner.
Total wild time – 15 mins (Izzy), E 0 mins
Today’s post was meant to be my blog’s highlight. I have been looking forward to sharing one of nature’s greatest spectacles with my children and have been planning a trip to see the Starling murmuration at Ham Wall for a very long time. However, things didn’t quite go to plan.
It started OK, as we drove from our friends’ house in the Mendips towards the Somerset Levels. E was zonked and Izzy was playing I Spy with B and me. We started noticing small flocks of Starlings in the orchards and gardens as we drew closer to our destination, as well as Swans in the fields and mole hills of black peat. It was a gorgeous evening – clear and dry and our anticipation was growing. As we approached the overflowing car park, it became clear that the Ham Wall starlings are a lot more famous than they were the first time B and I watched them. maybe 6 years ago or so. We joined the river of people heading deeper into the reserve and found a place to stand and wait. A sliver of moon appeared and the sun set a deep orange on the horizon. There were Tufted Ducks, a Heron and Coots on the water in front of us. People pointed at the sky as clouds of Starlings started to drift in. The groups gathered and joined together, shifting like ribbons of smoke. It was amazing. Izzy watched from B’s shoulders, but, unfortunately, by this time, E had had enough. He cried “Mummy, Mummy” repeatedly at me as I tried, in vain, to work out what was wrong. He was clearly cold, but refused to wear a hat or gloves, flinging them off if I tried to insist. A few raisins helped calm him down, but as we hadn’t been at home beforehand, I was ill prepared and had nothing else to offer. Feeling guilty that we were ruining the experience for everybody around us, we started to head back to the car and then Izzy started whingeing, too. The crying continued as we drove home and worn out, we stopped for burgers at a service station. After a few mouthfuls of junk food, the kids instantly perked up. Venus was bright in the sky as we carried on with our journey, the kids singing and joking around and Izzy keeping her eyes open for fairy dust.
Total wild time – 1.5 hours
I spent a pleasant hour in Izzy’s classroom teaching the kids how to dissect an owl pellet and identify the contents. We examined the bones with a USB microscope. One pellet, which I had dissected the night before and rather clumsily mounted on card, contained the remains of 2 Bank Voles, 1 Field Vole, 1 Common Shrew and what I think were beetles. The other pellet we studied appeared to contain 1 Common Shrew and 1 Bank Vole.
Later, I took E for a walk and we saw a Heron crouched over a ditch next to the river.
Total wild time – about 1 hour (Izzy), E (about 30 mins)
Izzy and I spotted a Heron and a Kingfisher on the Umborne Brook whilst taking Cracker out for a spin. B and E took Bramble for a walk, so they got outdoors, too.
Total wild time – 1 hour 20 mins
My friend and her little one came to visit today, so we took the dogs for a walk around Colyton. We watched the Mallards and single Black-headed Gull paddling around on the river and E chuckled over them putting their tails in the air as they dabbled for food. A Kingfisher flew past in a flash of electric turquoise and then my friend spotted a Heron in a field ditch on the opposite side of the road.
Total wild time – about 40 mins
We joined Izzy’s preschool for a sponsored walk along the river, through fields full of calves (and cow pats, much to E’s delight). The highlight was seeing a Heron from Chantry Bridge. We had an early lunch at Road Green picnic area and played in the playground. On the way home, we saw a Large White Butterfly laying eggs on somebody’s Nasturtiums.
Total wild time – 2 hours
It rained almost all day and we were busy watching Izzy do zumba at a school fete, making bunting and painting garden furniture. Also, E had a record 3 hour nap, all of which added up to it being hard to fit in wild time, today. I took E out for a dog walk and we headed towards Chantry Bridge, where we stopped to watch and listen to the birds. There were a couple of Grey Wagtails, some Swifts, Hedge Sparrows and more than one Goldcrest, doing a very good impression of a hummingbird. Apparently, they hover as they catch flying insects – something I’ve never seen before.
The heavens opened, but we carried on regardless and E said ‘Owl’ every time he heard a Woodpigeon. He’s only 21 months, so I’m not too disappointed that he can’t tell the difference, yet. Further along the river, we spotted a Heron, hunkering down in the rain, then headed home for a roast dinner.
Total Wild Time: E – 30 mins