Tag Archives: Nature

We’re Giving Nature a Home

Do you have an outdoor space? Have you thought about the wildlife that calls your space home?

I have been browsing the RSPB website and reading about the campaign to Give Nature a Home. I was shocked to learn that out of the 6,000 British species assessed recently, more than one in 10 are under threat of disappearing from our shores altogether.

But we can help. We can make sure our outdoor space is wildlife friendly and we can create homes for all sorts of birds and bugs. We can let the grass grow a little longer, we can plant wildflowers and hedges, we can make a pond or build a bug house, feed the birds or put up a nest box.

Over the last two years, as I have become more and more interested in wildlife and the world of minibeasts (thanks to my bug loving children) we have worked hard to make our garden a haven for birds and bugs alike. We have buried a bucket for beetles, we have dug out a small pond, we have made a nest box, and the plants we chose for the borders this year were picked to be butterfly and bee friendly.

We regularly enjoy watching some of the creatures that call our garden home and this year we are really seeing the benefit of our efforts.

We have a large apple tree at the bottom of the garden and hang several bird feeders in the tree and have a ground feeding tray for the larger birds. We regularly see Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Blackbirds, Magpies and Robins and have occasional visits from Woodpeckers, Starlings, Jays and Goldfinches.

Every day we see butterflies and bees enjoying the flowers and long grass. The Speckled Wood butterflies and both Small and Large Whites are very common visitors and we have lots of caterpillars. Yesterday I saw a Blue Butterfly in the garden for the first time, I think a Holly Blue.

The pond is thriving. We have several tadpoles left but are also now enjoying watching the frogs.

The kids frequently go bug hunting and find worms, woodlice, beetles, spiders, centipedes and for the first time this year we have grasshoppers.

Garden WildlifeCan you give nature a home? The RSPB Website had some great ideas to help you get started and you’ll soon be enjoying the wildlife that moves in!

 

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Becoming a Friday Tradition

Friday afternoon is Forest School time for Jasmine and Thomas. Forest School is in Ham Common Woods so Ben and I go to Richmond Park while we are twin-less. Sometimes we go into Pembroke Lodge and enjoy a drink and a cake, but most of the time we go exploring.

Two weeks ago we found a huge rabbit warren under an oak tree and now Ben asks to go and see the rabbits every week!

Today was extra special for Ben because Gordon came with us as well, and Ben does love his daddy! He was super excited to show daddy where the rabbits live and where we sit and watch them!Rabbits 2Once we’d eaten snacks, watched the rabbits and fed a crow we started walking back up the hill. Ben wanted to do some bug hunting under logs so we walked from tree stump to log, carefully lifting them up to see what we could find.Bug huntingWe only found red ants, woodlice, an earwig and a couple of ground beetles today. But while Ben and Gordon were busy studying red ants I saw a flash of colour dart into some long grass. I didn’t get a very good look at it but was sure it was a bird and my first thought was a woodpecker or maybe a jay. As I watched I saw it move again so we decided to walk towards it and see if we could get a better look, but as we approached nothing moved so I started to think whatever it was had gone whilst I blinked! But then we saw it fly up and away into a tree. A green woodpecker! I was very excited! We watched it for a while with the binoculars but it was so well camouflaged in the tree it was difficult to spot when it moved.

It was almost time to go back to the car to collect Jasmine and Thomas but there was just one thing left to see. I had mentioned to Gordon, only an hour earlier, how I had never seen deer in the part of the park we were in. Well, of course that meant that today we saw three, sitting really close to the steps we walk down! Typical!Deer

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We saw Rabbits in Richmond Park

While Thomas and Jasmine were at Forest School this afternoon Ben and I went for a walk around Richmond Park. My mum was with us today too, as she has been staying with us for a few days. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and we took a different route to our usual one, walking further down the hill from Pembroke Lodge towards Richmond Golf Club. On the way we saw lots of Jackdaws and we think we heard a Woodpecker but despite looking in several trees for at least 20 minutes we couldn’t see it!

The best find of the day however, came just as we were thinking of turning round to walk back up the hill. About 40m in front of us I spotted something move. I have seen the odd rabbit in the park before so thinking we might be lucky I looked in the binoculars and it was a little rabbit. As we looked we saw more and more rabbits appearing!

We walked closer and found a huge rabbit warren with several large holes in the ground, under an old Oak tree. Hopping around were eight or nine very cute little rabbits! Rabbits in Richmond ParkWe sat and watched the rabbits for a while but had to go back to the car because it was time to collect Thomas and Jasmine. Now I know where the warren is though, we’ll definitely all be back to watch the rabbits again. There is something really lovely about watching wild rabbits hop round so close!

 

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A woodland walk

The sunny weather didn’t last and today has been wet. Actually, today started off very wet and we spent the morning indoors. The kids did some Sticklebrick building, Thomas and Jasmine read a couple of books each and Thomas did a Reading Eggs lesson. By mid-morning they were asking to go outside so we decided to go to a local park, Nonsuch Park, after lunch.

We have been to Nonsuch Park a few times before but not much recently. It is quite large and we usually go to the Cheam side, however I recently found out that there is a pond on the Epsom/Ewell side so that is where we headed today.

Amazingly, by the time we got there it had stopped raining! But there were plenty of muddy puddles for the kids to jump and splash in.PuddlesWe had a lovely walk through the Oak Plantation, identifying lots of different trees along the way. Jasmine is getting very good at leaf identification so we collected some that we weren’t sure of and brought them home to look at. We also heard lots of different bird song and Thomas surprised me by identifying the Great Tit song! He was very proud of himself!Walking through the woodlandAnd then we found the pond! On first glance it looked quite disappointing; very small and quite dirty to be honest. But then we saw that it went much further back so we continued to walk round and found some much better spots to peer in to! We even found a little island that we could get to by balancing on some fallen logs. I think the water level was very low as it looked boggy around the edges in places, so this made getting to the island possible.On the islandA little further round still, we found some good spots were we could get right to the waters edge and we saw lots and lots of tadpoles. The kids were disappointed because they were hoping to see other things as well; maybe a fish or, in Thomas’ case he wanted to see a dragonfly larvae! If we’d had our nets with us maybe we would have seen more, but on the surface there were just tadpoles.

By the pondOnce we had achieved our aim of finding the pond, it was time to wander back to the car. We carried on round and through a meadow of beautiful buttercups to end back where we’d first seen the pond. We retraced our steps back to the car and along the way the kids discovered that if they hit the branches of the wet trees, water fell on them like rain! Then they got daddy in on it and he shook the branches over them! By the time we got back to the car they really did look like they’d been caught in a heavy rain shower – just with tree bits added for effect!Making rain from wet branchesWe had a great time on our woodland walk today. I can’t believe I never knew about that side of Nonsuch Park! We’ll most definitely be going back there again.

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