A Special Eco Club
Sunday, April 29th 2012
Fingers were crossed that the morning rain would stop before Eco Club started and it did, just. The topic for the morning was nests, but this was rather pushed into the background as we had a special visitor, a Swift returned from Africa. Eleanor, one of our young bird ringers had found it trapped. The children were able to watch as the bird was ringed and measured. Its wing length was 179mm. Once the bird was checked, it was to be released where it had been found.
The next part of the meeting was information about nests and what species actually built and used nests. Hopes of showing bees and wasps at the nest, and may be even a 3 Spined Stickleback at his nest, had been dashed by all the cold wet weather. However we did examine a hole in the ground where a wasp's nest had been! Lined up along a net ride we also found an ant's nest.
Our second surprise was out on the reserve, so all bundled up off we set. Smiles and amazement were seen on the children's faces as the owlet was brought from the nest box. Tony explained that only licensed bird ringers were able to handle and ring birds. He also talked about the breeding of the Tawny Owls. This year there are young as well developed as this one but also some owls still sitting on eggs. It was a very well behaved owlet as children and adults took its photograph before it was returned to its nest box.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this a very special meeting.
In the afternoon Ann and Elizabeth went off to count Early Purple Orchids. They were on a sheltered south facing bank with a sparse canopy. Ann spotted a butterfly hanging onto a Bluebell flower where it was photographed. It was a male Orange Tip Butterfly, you can just see the orange through its folded wings.
As the sun came out the temperature increased and several male Orange Tips were suddenly seen flying around; a female was spotted feeding from a Bluebell flower, whilst another was being chased by two males.
There were 7 orchids amongst the other spring flowers. Water Avens are just opening and will soon be in profusion along Risedale Beck.
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