Last Sunday our Young Naturalists made a rather magnificent bug hotel in a sunny spot close to the new dipping pond. The improvement works here on the reserve resulted in a rather large number of pallets accumulating, so it was great to be able to put some of them to good use.
We stacked the pallets one at a time, packing them with various different materials to create lots of different nooks and crannies, including bark, sticks, pine cones, old roof tiles, bamboo, off-cuts of roof from the old Tern Hide, pebbles and sawdust. We also drilled different sized holes in some of the bits of wood.
We still have a few more gaps to fill with more pine cones, dried plant and reed stems and dry grass and I’m hoping we can add a green roof to finish it off, but we were pretty pleased with our efforts:
To make a sign, Torey and Sophie carefully broke up a pallet with Geoff’s help and some of the group had a go with a pyrography pen to burn writing and pictures onto the wood.
We didn’t quite have time to finish the sign on Sunday, but volunteer Lucy made a brilliant job of finishing it off on Monday, the bugs should be impressed!
We’re looking forward to seeing who moves in!
Finley and Percy had a go at using the various bits and pieces we had assembled to make a bird feeder:
After lunch we headed off to do the Big Butterfly Count. We decided to do ours in the wild play area where we do our den building and campfire activities, as although we had seen a lot of butterflies that morning around the Centre we fancied a change of scenery to the area where we had been working. On route we spied this Brimstone:
With Nigel as our time keeper, we positioned ourselves in the long grass and counted the greatest number of different species seen at any one time in our 15 minute window. We managed five species in total and 15 butterflies altogether: four Meadow brown, three Brown argus, three Gatekeeper, three Common blue, one Red admiral and one Speckled wood.
The Big Butterfly Count runs until the 11th August so there’s still time to get involved – you just need to find a sunny spot (this could be your garden, a park or in a wood) and spot butterflies for 15 minutes then submit your sightings online.
We had a few minutes to spare before the end of the session so decided to head back to the Centre via the lichen heath in search of wasp spiders, which we’d heard were visible in the patches of bramble and taller grass and rush.
Finally, we spied some Cinnabar caterpillars munching on the ragwort:
Our Young Naturalists group is supported by the Cameron Bespolka Trust.