Yesterday afternoon I headed to the National Memorial Aboretum as it was the monthly meeting for the Widlife Watch group, of which I’m a leader of. I gave a talk to this group over a year ago now and since then I go along to the monthly session to help out. Yesterdays activity was pond dipping. Even though I’m one of the leaders I was still very excited about this as it’s great fun and I knew the kids would enjoy it too.
As well as the regulars that turn up for the session, today we were also joined by about 20 Scouts who were eager to have a go at pond dipping. None of them had done it before so they were very excited. As we walked down they were all sharing their wildlife stories and asking plenty of questions which was firing up their enthusiasm even more.
Once down at the pond, that has recently been created here especially for pond dipping, we filled the trays with water and they all got to work with the nets. Straight away they caught species like newts, tadpoles, diving beetles, pond skaters, dragonfly nymphs and many more. This was quite surprising as the pond here was only created last year but already it was beaming with life.
They were all really interested in what they caught, and so was I! It was really great to see these youngons doing what so many others should be doing, which is enjoying nature. They were all full of life afterwards and looking forward to the next time they could do it.
Here are a few photos that I took.
Last Wednesday I went to visit my Uncle who lives in Eridge, near Tunbridge Wells for four days with my Brother, another Uncle and my Nan. Where he lives it is surrounded by nothing but the lovely countryside. He has a massive garden which includes a orchard and a large pond. I’ve heard many stories from family members about how brilliant the wildlife is in his garden and that you can see anything from grass snakes and slow worms to foxes and badgers.
When I got there, before unpacking, I went for a look around the garden. To my surprise the first thing I saw was a common lizard which was incredible! After having some lunch I went exploring round the garden again, but this time with my camera. The weather was extremely hot and I decided to have a sit down when a grasshopper jumped onto my wellie, the wildlife was everywhere! I managed to get a photo and I took some photos of the garden too. One of the reasons why we were having a long stay at my Uncles was so my brother and my other Uncle could start clearing out the pond as over the last many years it has become extremely overgrown. Before the pond became overgrown it was a common sight to see grass snakes, newts, moorhens and much more. Here are some of the photos I took on the first day.
The very overgrown pond.
After the first day this what what the pond looked like. One of the first stages of clearing the pond.
The next morning I was up nice and early to check my trail camera (a blog post about the footage I managed to get is coming next!) and to spend another day exploring the vast habitats in the garden. Most of the day I helped with clearing the pond but I did go around with my camera. I even managed to see a slow worm but unfortunately I didn’t photograph it! Here are a few photos from day two.
Here’s an old reed warbler nest we found when clearing the pond.
Once again I was up nice and early to check my trail camera and get started with another lovely day in the garden. Today I went on the hunt for a slow worm again so I could photograph one and luckily I did find the same one again and it was in the same spot. Here are some photos that I took from day three which include my photo of a slow worm!
My brother on a swing we made going over the pond.
This is my brother, Sam, helping me photograph some dragonflies. I sat in the boat and as one landed he would slowly push me out to photograph it.
Today was the last day of our four day break and once again I was up early to check my trail camera. After having my breakfast I went for one last look around the garden before going home. I even spotted the same slow worm at the same place I’d spotted him at the few days before. Here are some photos I took before setting off home.
On all three nights I managed to record some footage on my trail camera too which my next blog post will be all about!