Hedgehogs, Insects, Identification and Jumping in Puddles! (A-Z of 30 Days Wild)

H is for…
Hedgehogs! We were so excited the one and only time we have ever spotted a hedgehog in our garden!

I is for…
Insects. We really enjoy studying insects, observing them and finding out more about them. We have completed many activities around this topic!

Identification
I is also for identifying the various flora and fauna we come across. Squiggle really engaged with her environment and was keen to know more…

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#30DaysWild – Day 27: Identification Challenge πŸ’šπŸŒΏπŸƒπŸ’š . . . 1. Bluebell seed heads- When the flowers die, green seed pods are formed. By July these will be dry and brown and full of small black seeds. The seeds may take 5 years to develop into a mature flowering bulb. 2. Sheep's sorrel (rumex)- This is edible with a sharp lemon taste. 3. Statchys- Nicknamed lamb's ears because it is soft and furry. My daughter loved the feel of these, and bees love them! 4. Red leaved cherry tree- I don't know if these are edible or not! πŸ’ 5. These red 'eggs' are caused by parasites (mites?) inside the field maple leaf so the leaf reacts by producing a growth. 6. Blackberry brambles- I look forward to some foraging when they fruit, yummy! 7. Gorse bush- The seed heads explode when ripe so that the seeds spread widely. It also has yellow flowers that smell like coconuts! 8. Chicken of the wood- This edible fungus tastes like chicken, hence the name. 9. Cow parsley- Short lived but very common, it can be found spreading wildly along roadsides, meadows, woods and other places in early summer. . . . Huge thanks to members of 30 Days Wild group and other people who helped me to identify and shared information with me πŸŒΏπŸ˜ŠπŸ’š . . . Any mistakes please let me know!

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J is for…
Jumping in puddles!
Squiggle loves puddle jumping!

And even better when they are really muddy puddles!!!

A-Z of 30 Days Wild. Image of red insect
How are your wild adventures going?

Birds and Bees… and Click Beetles! (A-Z of 30 Days Wild)

B is for….

Bee image. A-Z of 30 Days Wild

Birds and bees!

We have both loved bird watching and listening to bird sounds as part of 30 Days Wild; this is an annual favourite for me personally! It is amazing when you stay so still and silent, and just really tune into just the birds, how many different ones you will hear! Especially if you catch the right times of day, but really anytime, if you listen closely enough, there are so many different bird voices even in a city. I love just listening. But I also love watching them too!

We did some research on bees, and loved observing a bee close-up; we gave it some sugar water then carefully relocated it after this video clip…

C is for…

Click beetles! We found one in our cloakroom. It was such a fasciniting little thing; such a clever defense mechanism. Insects are amazing!

Which are your favourite activities so far?

Stay Wild: Ladybirds

During a nature walk, Squiggle and I were lucky enough to a spot lavae, pupa and adult ladybirds, including a mating pair, all on the same plant. Such a wonderful real life demonstration of the lifecycle of a ladybird! We studied them closely for quite sometime, fascinated by our exciting discovery. Squiggle was interested to know that the two ladybirds were making eggs that would then complete the lifecycle before us.

Ladybird lifecycle

If you look closely enough you will notice that nearly the entire lifecycle of a ladybird is captured in this one photo!

 

Ladybird lavae and pupa

A closer look at the lavae and pupa.Β 

 

Ladybirds mating

Ladybirds mating.

 

30 Days Wild – Day 22: Bug Hunt and Litter Picking

We enjoyed spotting various insects today.

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We observed a bee collecting pollen, laughed at the challenge of taking photographs of hoverflies, watched a beetle hiding under a leaf, held a ladybird and a fly that landed on Squiggle’s leg, saw other insects too, and studied some mite eggs on a leaf.

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We also appreciated the beauty of rain drops on the web and the gorgeous colours of a tree…

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And we picked up litter too…

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30 Days Wild – Day 21: Urban Nature

Squiggle captured the following photos on our walk home from music class. It is actually very urban surroundings; concrete pavements alongside busy roads, walking past nothing but houses, shops and company buildings. I really love that she seeks out and spots the hidden nature regardless…

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Our garden has been left to grow freely all this month and is now looking very wild! As I sat earlier, watching various insects and other wildlife going about their business, I felt rather disappointed that at some point it will have to be cut again- it’s their home! But it’s lovely to sit in the long grass and quietly watch and enjoy the nature all around. Here is how it looks now…

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And in honour of insect week (day 2)…

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30 Days Wild- Day 20: Creatures Great and Small

Today marks the start of National Insect Week here in the UK. For more information on events, activities and competitions see www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk

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This seems a good time to mention our ongoing campaign to save Butterfly World Project. This was a local conservation project that sadly announced its permanent closure last December and therefore did not reopen this season. However, we have since been working together to try to find a solution. For more information on this, check out our website www.savebutterflyworld.com

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Also, it has just been announced today that EU has agreed an action plan to tackle wildlife trafficking and other crimes. Great news! This is one of many wildlife, conservation and environmental campaigns I have supported recently. It feels good to know that we can all make a difference- whether it is relocating an insect to safety or using our voice to support campaigns or taking any other kind of positive action- we can all do our bit to make the world a better place.

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30 Days Wild- Day 7: Damsel in Distress

Whilst playing outside in the garden this morning, Squiggle spotted a damselfly struggling in her paddling pool. She put her finger out to help and it quickly clambered on. Its wings were soaked and all scrunched up but she set it down in a patch of long grass, hoping they would soon dry out and recover.

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We also found a ladybird lavae too, which was exciting as we had never seen one before!

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As we outside outside in the garden, we also took a moment to reflect on our recent nature walk. Squiggle had asked me to find out more information about some of the wildlife we spotted so we talked a little about that. One of the things she asked during our walk was what these are…

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She was very interested to discover that they are bluebells gone to seed (I didn’t realise, I perhaps should have been able to guess though based on location!!!!) Later, on our walk back from music class, Squiggle looked for more in a small patch near our house where we had seen bluebells in bloom and was very excited to spot some.

Butterfly World (St Albans, Hertfordshire)

Last week we visited Butterfly World again. We have been here a number of times both on our own and with friends, as well as this we have attended a lovely toddler birthday party here a few years ago and organised two home education trips also. It has a very chilled out vibe and there is more to see and do than people might assume. Points of interest in addition to the butterfly house includes natural playgrounds, designer gardens, an ant colony and other insects. There are also handling sessions and talks during school holidays and at weekends. Butterfly World is now closed for the season but re-opens next March. For more information visit the websiteΒ http://www.butterflyworldproject.com/

 

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Butterflies feeding in the tropical butterfly house
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Studying stick insects
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Leaf cutter ants
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There is lots of space to walk and play. At the top of the hill is a giant ant sculpture
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Natural playgrounds
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Natural surroundings to explore
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The magnifying glasses proved to be a good purchase from the gift shop!
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Designer gardens
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The gardens are fascinating, very unique
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This garden is designed ‘Honey I shrunk the Kids’ style, allowing visitors to imagine they are a tiny creature in the garden.