A Cold Visit

Thursday, April 28th 2016

Driving up the reserve track to the Field Centre a Woodcock ambled across the road and disappeared into the undergrowth, never to be seen again. The weather was bitter, snow still laying in patches of shade, but at least it was bright.

We had the second of our school visits, Romanby Primary School years 1 and 2. Thankfully the rain held off for the majority of the day, and the teachers had ensured that warm clothes were worn especially as we were pond-dipping, nature walking, and giving a mini beast hunt, all outdoor activities.

The wintery weather did not prevent us from finding treasures to show the children. In the Scrapes for our pond dipping activity the children found a variety of pond life; Water Skaters, Pond Skaters, tadpoles, Freshwater Shrimps, Water Boatmen, etc. Some gems also included a caseless Caddis Fly larvae, this one below was approx. 35mm in length.


 

Caseless Caddis Flies tend to be predatory whereas the usual cased caddis fly feeds on detritus, plants and algae, making a case for themselves from the surrounding debris.

A single Mayfly larvae was found.

When gems like the above were not being found the children were finding plenty of 3-spine sticklebacks, keeping their attention off cold hands.

While I was pond-dipping Jackie was leading the Mini Beast safari at the out door classroom. The usual worms and slugs were found underneath rotten logs, as well as this single mini beast which at first I thought was a Millipede, as it was 40mm long, and rather slow moving compared with the usual centipedes I see.

On closer inspection you can see that each body segment has a single pair of legs, and that rather passive looking head was concealing a hefty pair of mandibles. Centipedes are predators, whereas Millipedes, like the ones found below, feed on living and dead plant matter. Note also the two pairs of legs on each body segment.

Elizabeth took the children on a habitat walk showing them the variety of habitats which Foxglove Covert has squeezed into its 100 acres.

As the rain started to fall I walked the school group back to the coach for their journey home.

Thank you for all the help from the volunteers today.

 


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