Sunday, 27 March 2011

Birds v Bees

The children(ok and me) have spent all morning watching a mighty battle between a red-tailed bumble bee(Bombus lapidarius) and a pair of blut tits vying for our nestbox. The blue tits had been checking it out for about a week, hanging outside and looking around and occasionally nipping in for a few seconds before heading off out again.

Today though they seemed to be keen to move in and start building up a cosy home, frequent visits and lots of pecking at the entrance hole-putting their mark on it I guess. Then the bee appeared. Its been around for a day or so, seemingly circling the house, and at times getting confused and coming into the conservatory for a quick look. Wh and I discussed where she might be looking to start up her colony but never thought she might fight the blue tits for her new home.

So the bee heads in to the box, the tits reappear and whilst working on their front door notice the queen and retreat to the beech hedge twittering wildly, the queen leaves and the tits bombard her chasing her madly until she disappears. This has been going on all day-with no winner as yet-who will be left with the new apartment ready to raise their family....?

As if that wasn't enough excitement the frogspawn is developing well, the black dots are now more like dashes and you can start to see the tadpole shape appearing. Fingers crossed that they continue to grow well as Wh has been talking all about 'the cycle', and it would be fantastic for him to experience that up close and personal.

Nature at its best, right outside our window.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Loose Materials

So many of the school or playgrounds I visit have no loose material at all, the only activities on offer are sport, or maybe games like hide and seek if there are any plants left to hide behind.

Today I went into the playground at one of the schools I visit regularly and was greeted by a group of year 3 pupils, who I don't know, demanding that I follow them to see their 'settlement'. When the group of around 20 pupils parted I saw the most amazing village, created from the few loose items they had scavenged from their flat and featureless landscape...

They have even found some labels which they have used to name the different areas including the circus and the church.

3 year groups, upto 20 children at a time were working together, communicating their ideas and sorting out any difficulties to create an amazing fantasy land.

Several staff are now keen to enourage the creativity and we've discussed other loose materials that we could import from the vast parkland that ajoins the school.

I can't wait until I visit again to see how the settlement, and its creators have developed...

Monday, 7 March 2011

Spring Flowers

Went on our favourite snowdrop walk on Sunday, and it wasn't that the snowdrops were past their best, more that they had been outshone by the crocuses and the daffodils! Hence Cj has filled the camera with numerous shots, but at least in the digital age its easy to pick the best, as above and delete the rest.

I'm not a great fan of children mixing with technology too much-in fact theres a no tv on school days rule and a 2 hour screen time limit at weekends which makes me pretty strict according to my two.

However Cj spent a happy two hours looking closely at her surroundings, thinking about what makes a good composition, trying to create a few arty shots...
...and enjoying the beauty around her.

Maybe just a little technology can be a good thing, only don't tell my two I said that!!