Many visitors to the Woodland Hide this afternoon were in for a real treat. Having said goodbye to the school group and finished tidying up I was settling down to go through some of the day-to-day office tasks when a young family came into the lobby and Mum told her daughters to tell me what they had seen – a badger apparently. At first assuming this was a picture they had seen on a poster I queried whether they had seen a real one and they confirmed that they had. I obviously looked like I still didn’t believe them so Mum reassured me that they had and so I left them to it to confirm it with mine own eyes, and sure enough there she/he was!
Clearly one of this years cubs by its diminutive size, it spent at least a good hour grubbing around in the leaf litter right in front of the hide! Why Toby? Because I reckon that s/he is an impatient early riser, just like my eldest, who had given up on Mum and Dad or siblings ever waking up and decided to go exploring by itself rather than wait until dark like he should do!
Another surprise was in store for the Reception Class from Queens Park Infant School today – after lunch I showed them the compost bins that there fruit peelings and cores went in and opened up the bottom of the bin so they could see the “minibeast manure” that the worms, slugs, snails and woodlice would make by eating the waste and pooing it out. Normally they are very excited by the heaving mass of woodlice in the compost but today the excitement was heightened somewhat when a reasonably large grass snake leapt out of the bin (yes, I know grass snakes shouldn’t be able to leap, but I swear this one did, though not as much as some of the watching teachers and teaching assistants!) and slithered at quite a rate of knots into an adjacent nettle patch (fortunately. At one point it looked like it might head towards the children and I’m not sure it would have survived the stampede that may have resulted!).
At least 5 grass snakes are now regularly basking on the alder logs and stumps outside Ivy South Hide at the moment (even in the rain as reported earlier in the week). There were already 2 in place when I opened up before 9am this morning:
With more of the “Aaaah” factor than the “AAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHH” factor (!) are the lapwing chicks which continue to do well outside Ivy South Hide – managed to photograph this one this morning:
As summer approaches we can expect to see more and more dragonfly species on the wing – today I have seen my first Emperor and scarce chaser dragonflies of the year.