30 Days Wild – Day Sixteen

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Tuesday 16th June:

I woke up this morning to a text and a phone call from colleagues at the library informing me that Tracy’s cat had brought in a very alive baby pigeon and not knowing what else to do with it: she’d brought it to work. After being turned down by various rescue organisations, they seemed to have collectively decided that I was the one best able to deal with it and called me up for advice. I got up and dressed as quickly as a I could and headed down (on my morning off!) to work. I didn’t have much time as I had to be at the Wildlife Trust Office for midday to help with a Forest School trip. Anyway I got in to work, put the box containing this little bird in my rucksack and cycled back home without really having a chance to look at it. Once home, I moved my tarantula vivarium and put the box on a plastic grate over the heat mat. The pigeon, which has been named Walter by my colleagues seemed pretty quiet and I wasn’t sure it would last the day after it’s shock with the cat in the morning and then bumping around in my rucksack on the way home. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to stop so I hopped back on my bike, hoped for the best and headed down to the NWT office.

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Walter the very tiny wood pigeon or possibly collared dove chick.

The Wildlife Trust trip today was with a primary school group of 60 Year 4’s who were split into three groups. I went along as a volunteer with the Lynn, the Education & Community Manager for South Nottinghamshire, and Andrew, a member of the education team at Attenborough Nature Reserve. The day was organised and led by an experienced forest school teacher who had asked us to come in and assist on this; the last of their forest school meetings. The idea was to introduce the children to the idea of surveying, and to record what we found on site so that we could suggest ways to continue managing the site, a wooded area on a local school’s land. Each group had a chance learn about and identify trees, and to do a minibeast hunt before getting some some hot chocolate and biscuits. Lynn & Andrew were running the tree identification session so I thought I would help out with the minibeast search (one of my favourite activities) and give the teachers a hand there.

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Looking for minibeasts on a sheet under a tree 🙂

The first group went well; the teacher explained the task and boundaries and the kids set about finding insects with their nets, dustpans, brushes and magnifying pots. I laid out a white sheet and gave the branches above a shake to see what fell off then I helped the children to identify the insects they found using some FSC charts and we began compiling a list.

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Searching for minibeasts in the undergrowth 🙂

At changeover, the kids went off to their next activity and the teacher went with them leaving me to get things ready for the next group. Of course that’s fine, but when the next group arrived and saw me in my Wildlife Trust T-shirt holding equipment and FSC charts they presumed that I was leading the minibeast survey so for the first time I led the activity myself. To be honest, I’ve heard the introduction and safety info so many times that it’s not hard to step in and do it when needed but I wasn’t expecting it today. Anyway, it was fine and we found some really interesting creatures like this wolf spider with eggs and the longest British centipede I’ve seen!

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A huge centipede found by one of the children.
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A wolf spider carrying a sac of eggs.

I got home to find that Walter was still alive and kicking. I mixed together a small amount of porridge & barley oats with soy milk and fed it with the 1 ml syringe that Marcus managed to get from the vets for me while I was out. I phoned the vet but they said they can’t really do anything to help so for the time being I suppose I’ll see how it gets on with me.

All images subject to copywrite. All opinions expressed on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the view of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for whom I volunteer, or any other organisation.

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