Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Birds & Bugs

So sadly this Tuesday (12/07) was our last Bog Blog session. The aim of this session was to head out to the bird hide and use our binoculars to record what birds we  could see on the marsh.
Spider Nest
Magpie Moth Cocoon?
As is often the way, we got very easily distracted en route to the bird hide. The bushes and plants were filled with extensive funnel -shaped spider webs, beetles and lots of other insects. The sight of a nest of baby spiders even illicited an , "ah cute!" from one child that had a mild dislike of our 8 -legged friends.

We also found a rather beautiful cocoon which we later found out was a Magpie Moth. It was black and yellow striped and wondered if this was a true or fake warning to birds not to eat it because it may be poisonous.

We finally got to the bird hide after wading through tall grass and brambles and settled down for some bird watching. We reminded ourselves of how to use the binoculars (provided by ACA funds in 2014) and started scanning the estuary and South Efford Marsh.

The children recorded what birds were seen:

Mute Swans
Black-headed Gull
Little Egret
Herring Gull
Mallard Duck
House Martins

We then looked in the book which previous bird-watchers had recorded what birds they'd seen. This had an impressive 16 species which had been recorded over an hour. We also chatted about beak shapes and why birds had different shaped beaks depending on what they fed on. The swan having a beak for shovelling, while an Egret had a sharper beak for capturing fast moving little fish.

It was great to hear lots of children talk about how there was "no such thing as Sea Gulls". I hope that they go on with their new found knowledge of just a few birds to be able and interested in finding a few more species when they are next out in the wilds of Devon.

Some of the children wrote in their nature diaries about what they saw and how they felt. And we finally after a brief shower, which we sat out in whilst in the bird hide, made our final journey back to school.

I would like to say a huge thank you to the school for their support, the children for their enthusiasm, the parents who helped with lifts to the marsh and of course the Aune Conservation Association for giving the children of Aveton Gifford the chance to get to know their local wild spaces. I personally feel that engaging children with their natural environment in this fast-moving and technology orientated society is an incredibly valuable opportunity that we really must share with our children.

Until next time!

Avon Estuary
On our Final Journey Back

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