Visit to RSPCA Southridge

On Monday I was invited to RSPCA Southridge to look around the centre as a part of hashtag Generation Kind.

Generation Kind is a project ‘that aim(s) to nurture and encourage the values of kindness and compassion towards all animals within children and young people of today. In this way, we can create a future society that is truly kind to animals’.

#GenerationKind

Upon arrival I was introduced to Cass, the wonderful lady who invited me. After chatting and being introduced to everyone else who was on this event, we started our walk around the centre.

To start off with we visited the check-up room where the vets look after all the animals, cleaning, feeding and rehabilitating them. In the room there was a pigeon which had a broken wing and a baby bird which was very hard to identify due to its age, possibly a sparrow.

Next was my favourite part, the dogs. There were so many dogs in the block which made me emotional, both happy and sad. I was extremely happy to see that so many dogs were being cared for, however I was heartbroken by the barking of the dogs as we walked passed and how they were trying to catch our attention.

We learnt about the volunteer dog walkers and how they aim to get each dog outside 4 times a day, which was very impressive due to the amount of dogs they have at the centre.

Secondly we visited the cattery section. I was equally surprised by the amount of both cats and kittens there. We were allowed to handle some of the kittens which was adorable. Those that didn’t want to hold any of the kittens had the chance to watch the vets come around and do check ups on the cats which was very similar to if you took your own cat to the vet, with simple teeth and heart rate checks.

Throughout the centre each area is made to be a ‘home from home’ as much as possible with toys, blankets, furniture and bedding.

Lastly we had the fantastic chance to watch a dog called ‘Tiger’ run around in one of the outdoor enclosures which had been styled like a park to get the dogs used to being in a park environment.

Tiger loved chasing a ball around, but wasn’t that keen to return it. He was such a cheeky character and full of fun.

It was an interesting day, great to meet other ambassadors for #GenerationKind, and thank you to the staff at RSPCA Southridge for letting us look around.

 

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Second Butterfly count

Second butterfly count was at Bernwood forest.  1pm.

Temperature was 31 degrees, sunshine

Bernwood Forest has its own Butterfly trail and occasionally sightings of the Purple Emperor.

Unfortunately we didn’t spot one of those, but did see:

13  x Silver washed fritillaries dancing up and down the rides, knocking off smaller butterflies from their flowers.

8 x Large Whites hanging back just a little under the branches of the hedges on the sunny side of the rides.

2 x Ringlets coasting further back in the dabbled shade

4 x Meadow Browns along the bottom of the ride where the wood meets the fields

7 x Brimstone butterflies fluttering together in pairs. or threes.

4 x Large skippers low to ground weaving in and out of the foliage and grasses.

The Big Butterfly count runs from 19th July to the 11th August and you can take part as many times as you want https://bigbutterflycount.org/

There’s more on Citizen Science and The Big Butterfly Count in Get Your Boots On

Get Your Boots On is now available from the publisher (The fastest way to get it) by clicking this link https://divedup.com/shop/get-your-boots-on/

Or you can ask for it in your local book shop or order online from Amazon UK

 

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Big Butterfly Count number one

Each year Butterfly Conservation run the Big Butterfly Count. The idea is to count the butterflies you can see from a fixed position for 15 minutes, then submit your sightings.

The first Big Butterfly Count of this year was quite a successful one.

The temperature was 22 degrees at 2.30pm. There was maybe a little too much wind on one side of the footpath but the side which was sheltered by the crops was abundant with butterflies.

The location was open fields, one with maize and one that had been left. The footpath running through the middle had hawthorn, brambles and thistles.

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25 x Large white
3 x Small skipper
2 x Gatekeeper
6 x Meadow brown
1 x Red admiral
3 x Peacock
2 x Ringlets
1 x Painted lady

The Big Butterfly count runs from 19th July to the 11th August and you can take part as many times as you want https://bigbutterflycount.org/

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Get Your Boots On is now available from the publisher (The fastest way to get it) by clicking this link https://divedup.com/shop/get-your-boots-on/

Or you can ask for it in your local book shop or order online from Amazon UK

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Ladybirds and their 4 stages

On my local patch this year there is an explosion of Ladybirds (Coccinellidae)

One thing I’ve notice this time that I hadn’t noticed before is the empty pupa shells around the garden.

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There are 4 ‘instar’ stages in a ladybirds life.

First the eggs are laid, these will hatch within 4-10 days.

These eggs hatch in to larvae with tiny hair-like spines. Each species of ladybird larvae is slightly different. 7 spot ladybird larvae are black in colour with orange markings, whereas a two spot ladybird larvae is dark grey in colour.

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ladybird larvae

The larva then sheds its skin and changes in to a pupa. Over a week to two weeks the body dissolves and then starts reforming as an adult beetle.

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Ladybird pupa

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The empty cases are left behind as the newly formed Ladybird emerges. Over the next few hours the wing casing hardens and the colour patterns being to become more prominent.

A few facts about Ladybirds

  • An adult ladybird can live for between 1 and 3 years.
  • Ladybirds hibernate or ‘overwinter’ from October through to February
  • Ladybirds are beetles, they have hard forewings (elytra) that  meet centrally without overlapping and they have biting mouthparts.
  • Ladybirds are eaten by some birds, spiders and predatory beetles
  • Ladybirds can secrete a fluid from joints in their legs which gives them a foul taste
  • Folklore says it has always been considered very unlucky to kill a ladybird

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Posted in Animals, Environment, garden, Get Your Boots On, insects, Local patch, nature, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Flying Ant day

Yesterday was ‘Flying ant day’ here on my Local Patch.

This day will vary each year, between June and August, but it will only happen when the conditions are just right. Generally it happens on a day when the temperature is over 25 degrees and there is very little wind.

The flying ants leaving the nest are new Queens and males who are going off to find mates from other colonies and begin their own colony.

One interesting fact is that once mated, the male dies shortly after, while the female chews off her wings before setting about creating her new colony.

In my garden we have an ants nest under the rendering on the back wall. Around 2pm yesterday I noticed the first few flying ants emerging, each one being pushed along or encouraged by a wingless ant.

Crawling up the wall, sometimes as high as the guttering until they took a leap of faith and took off in to the air.

Not all made it far and some could be seen on various plants around the garden. Looking at the Swallows sitting or wheeling overhead quite a few probably didn’t make it further than our garden.

IMG_2879Flying ants

 

 

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Get Your Boots On is now available from the publisher (The fastest way to get it) by clicking this link https://divedup.com/shop/get-your-boots-on/

Or you can ask for it in your local book shop or order online from Amazon UK

 

 

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Meles Meles exhibition

Walking through the door it is hard to know where to look first. In fact even before you walk in the door you are greeted with a couple of beautiful badger statues in the window.

If you have an interest in badgers, then this is the place to visit.

Meles Meles – Exhibition 8th -27th July 2019
Location : A2 Gallery – 80 High Street, Wells BA5 2AJ

From stunning photographs by Richard Bowler and Andrew Parkinson, to gorgeous paintings by Kaye Parmenter, Anna Fitzgerald and John Davis.

Plenty of badgers in various poses made from a variety of materials, which through social media platforms you can watch the making of some of them.

It was great to see one of my favourite artists here, Sam Cannon and I was really taken with the badgers painted on wood.

I loved all the tiny details on the felt badgers from the one holding a toadstool to the badger reading ‘Much ado about nothing’.

I could go in to detail about each artist but I don’t want to spoil your own visit.

By far my overall favourite was the metal badger by Barbara Franc. The more you looked at it, the more quirky little details such as the cows intertwined in the body of the badger became apparent.

 

Get Your Boots On is now available from the publisher by clicking this link https://divedup.com/shop/get-your-boots-on/

Or you can ask for it in your local book shop or order online from Amazon UK

 

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Wild Flower Meadow

This week saw the first National Meadows Day. Lots of events to celebrate our wildflower meadows went on around the country, but I decided to visit the one local to me.

Over 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930’s.

That is 7.5 million acres of lost meadows.

A wildflower meadow can support 150 different species of flowers and grasses which in turn support insects, small mammals and birds.

An hour spend in the meadow showed a variety of flowers including Common knapweed, bird’s foot trefoil, selfheal, Oxeye daisy, red clover, Field scabious and a single Bee Orchid.

So many butterflies I was unable to count them all but species included Large White, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Meadow browns, Painted lady and Skippers.

Unseen small mammals could be heard scurrying through the tangle of undergrowth, presumably Bank voles or maybe a shrew. Flocks of Goldfinches and Long tailed tits nosily made their way around the outskirts, while a couple of Roe deer strolled across the bottom end pretending to ignore me.

Get Your Boots On is now available from the publisher by clicking this link https://divedup.com/shop/get-your-boots-on/

Or you can ask for it in your local book shop or order online

Posted in Animals, birds, Blogging, Books, Butterfly, Environment, Get Your Boots On, insects, Local patch, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, photography, Stay Wild, Uk nature, Uncategorized, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments