Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Sometimes you need the big boys

The Safari has had the assistance of the Young Uns AB and JS today and very glad of it we were too.
The day started rather wet which was well disappointing as we had somewhere in the region of 40 young children with their parents or grandparents in tow. It really was a good job the Young Uns had offered to help out!
We split the group into three (hardly rocket science that), JS helped with the pond dipping, AB did the bug hunting while we ruled the roost over the bug hotel improvements. An independent time keeper was employed to swap the groups round so everyone got a turn at each activity.
We had a variety of articles to add to the bug hotel including, bamboo, which we allowed the kiddies to cut up (under supervision of course), to make solitary bee nests, twigs, straw, moss, slabs of roofing slates, pine cones of varying sizes and the piece de resistance Elephant poo - wonder how many other bug hotels have that as an ingredient. Hopefully as it gets damp it will produce some fungi which the mini-beasts will be able to chomp...unless we get some Dung Beetles which decide to roll it away and bury it!
The pod dipping produce yet another 70 or so 3-spined Sticklebacks, just exactly how many are there in there? - these were given a one way ticket to another lake where we hope they'll settle in and be really happy. Best of the rest was a huge back swimming Waterboatman.
AB had a selection of Bumble Bees and a few Cinnabar moth caterpillars, but had to come and ask our advice on a wriggly larva - he'd showed us a hoverfly maggot.
A brief lunchtime Patch 2 visit didn't give the three of us very much at all.
After lunch we had a much more managable group of children out on the beach doing some rockpooling and beachcombing. The rain had long gone and the sun had come out, it really was a lovely afternoon out there.
A family was already down on the beach doing what we were about to get stuck into and they shared their catch with us which included this large, about five inches long, 5-bearded Rockling.
The other 'best' find was actually one of ours, a Scallop covered in Spirorbis worms, don't get too many of those.
The advantage of the Young Uns produced the goods, being of a certain age they are now 'allowed' to look after themselves 'at their own risk' unlike the younger children who are kept under strict supervision. That allows them to venture into areas out of bounds to the others. Today they came across a couple of Common Sand Stars which we've not seen for a few months now.

Everyone wanted to have a hold of one of them.
Here's E enjoying holding the Starfish (Parental permission given)

Kids really do luv em and so they should, and so do their mums n dads - they're great!
What a great day, made all the better by the assistance from the Young Uns - thanks a million guys you're stars!
Where to next? A mini-beast safari at a totally new never explored before 'inner city-ish' site - what will we find?
In the meantime let us know who's been hiding in previously little explored regions in your outback.

1 comment:

cliff said...

Nice Rockling & Starfish!
I was told as a kid not to pick Starfish up because they can sting you, I've never dared pick one up since - what a wuss.