Potatoes 4 Schools

Last week we received our free growing kit for “Potatoes 4 Schools”. Over the next few months we will be chitting, planting, growing and, hopefully, harvesting our potatoes.

We started with eight seed potatoes and harvested 105!

 

Big Schools’ Birdwatch 2016 – The Result!

Big schools birdwatch 2016This year’s RSPB Big School’s Birdwatch was carried during January and February. We have taken part in this national survey for the last eight years. Each class completed one survey with all children having the opportunity to take part. The surveys lasted one hour during which time we counted the maximum number of each species seen together (i.e. not individual visits).

This year we counted 205 birds over 3 surveys and recorded 22 different species.

Big Schools' Birdwatch 2016

Thank you Peregrine Class for inputting all the data into Excel and presenting them in a chart!

Species Class 1 – 15th Jan Class 2 – 15th Jan Class 3 – 5th Feb
Blackbird 3 4 3
Blue tit 3 2 1
Bullfinch 15 13 7
Chaffinch 3 4 4
Collarded Dove 4 3 3
Goldfinch 4 3 18
Great tit 1 2 1
Greenfinch 0 0 4
Jackdaw 2 0 0
Magpie 2 1 2
Mistle thrush 0 0 2
Redpoll 0 2 0
Redwing 0 1 1
Robin 1 1 1
Rook 10 5 15
Siskin 3 0 0
Song Thrush 0 1 1
Starling 0 3 9
Tree Sparrow 9 9 3
Woodpigeon 1 3 5
Wren 1 1 0
Total Birds 62 58 80

Betty’s Journey

elephanthawkmothWhat could this strange creature be? Read LG’s book to find out more!

Click on the book to turn the pages or let them turn themselves!

Moth Night 2015

This year’s annual celebration of moth recording in the UK, Moth Night, took place over three nights 10th-12th September. We put out a moth trap in the school’s Learning Garden for the Thursday night (10th September). Year 4 children emptied the trap the following morning, recording the moths caught and taking photographs. They submitted their results on the Moth Night website (http://www.mothnight.info). Twenty-four moths of seven different species were recorded. The most numerous species was the Large Yellow Underwing.

15 Large Yellow Underwing, 2 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 2 Green Carpet Moth, 2  Setaceous Hebrew Character, 1 Small Square-spot, 1 Blastobasis adustella, 1 Lunar Underwing.

Moth Trapping June 2015

Show and tell

Show and tell

The moth trap was set up by the bird hide on the evenings of 10th and 11th June and emptied the following mornings by Year 2 and Year 3. The children photographed and recorded the moths caught and uploaded photos to our ispot account for help with identifications.

Having caught the moths in small pots, they showed them to the rest of Woodpecker Class.

 

Trap set 10/06/15: 1 White Ermine, 1 Ingrailed Clay, 1 Scalloped Hazel, 2 Mottled Pug, 1 Silver-ground Carpet, 1 Heart and Dart.

Day flying moth on the herb garden 11/06/15: Small Purple and Gold.

Trap set 11/06/15: 1 Dark/Grey Dagger, 1 Beautiful Golden Y, 2 Ingrailed Clay, 1 White Ermine, 2 Buff Ermine.

On the first night, the moth trap light also attracted three enormous Common Cockchafers (also known as May bug, Spang beetle or the Billy witch) with large orange fan-like antennae. The male antennae have seven ‘leaves’ while the female has only six. Everyone squealed (except Mrs Mahadevan) when one took flight over a nearby tree! Have a look on the buglife.org.uk website for further information.

The number of moths on the wing should increase rapidly over the next few weeks so we hope to have the trap out again soon.

Gardening 11th May

The Junior children finished preparing the large square raised bed for planting up and sowing vegetables. Runner beans were sown around the tripod erected in the centre of the plot. If these don’t grow we will use some of the ones we planted in pots last week;  we hope to sell these at the end of this term or the beginning of next. Two varieties of carrot were sown, Autumn King and Eskimo.

Vote for our National Bird

General Election Day is also the last day to vote for Britain’s national bird. Choose your favourite from a shortlist of 10 birds and cast your vote on the Vote National Bird Website by midnight on 7th May. Ask your parents to help you vote as you will need to enter an email address and tick a box so you don’t receive marketing information.

Find out about each of the birds and see pictures here. You can also hear what each bird sounds like on a BBCs Tweet of the Day podcast

What bird did you vote for? Do you have a favourite bird that isn’t on the short list?

NB Because of media coverage this morning, the voting website is running very slowly, you may have to try later in the day.

Garden Work Party and Moth Trapping

The Juniors had a very busy morning in the Learning Garden today. First they emptied and recorded the moths caught in the moth trap set up the night before (23rd April). Then they sowed sunflower seeds; may the contest to grow the tallest sunflower begin! Finally they cleared the rest of the vegetable patch ready for this year’s crops and weeded the bank around the raised beds.

Moth trap results:

2 Streamer, 3 Clouded Drab, 5 Hebrew Character, 1 Brindled Beauty, 1 Brindled Pug, 1 Oak-tree Pug. Also 1 Black Sexton Beetle.

Nesting Activity

infantboxaprilnestingA bit of mossy nesting material has appeared in the Infant Colour Birdcam Box over the last couple of days but it seems to be only a half hearted attempt at nesting.

Elsewhere in the school grounds, the children have spotted signs that the Rook chicks have hatched. Earlier in the week they started to find large empty egg shells near the wooded area where the Rooks have built three nests. Now when the Rooks return to the nests we can hear a lot of noise from the birds as the chicks get feed.

Early Activity

Despite the cold start to Spring this year, the birds have been busy checking out potential nesting sites. Rooks have already taken up residence, and built a couple of tree-top nests, in the school’s wooded area. A Tree Sparrow has been seen investigating the Colourcam box and a Blue tit has been roosting in the Infant birdcam box.

Bird Box Clear Out

The school’s bird boxes have been cleaned out ready for this year’s nesting season – thank you Mr Marriot for helping once again!

All the boxes showed signs of having been used; six had nests in them and the rest had been used for roosting.

Sparrow terrace 1 –  one section had a partial nest of dried grass and moss and the other two had droppings
Sparrow terrace 2 –  all  three sections had droppings in them (roosting birds)
Corner field box – no nest but droppings (roosting birds)
Silver Birch Box – full nest of mainly moss (successful Blue Tit nest)
Infant Birdcam Box – no nest but droppings (roosting birds)
Butler Box – no nest but droppings (roosting birds)
Staff car park box – mainly mossy nest (successful Blue Tit nest)
Sycamore tree box – no nest but droppings (roosting birds)
Pond box – inaccessible, unable to clean out
Bird table roof – not cleaned out
Open fronted nest box –  nest, cleaned out
Colour Birdcam box – full nest, mainly moss (successful Blue Tit nest)
Flowery bird box – Blue tit nest (box now split so not cleaned out)

Box locations can be seen on a satellite google map

In addition to these boxes, a pair of Robins successfully nested in a bag of leaves in the school’s greenhouse!

Blue tit roosting in Infant box, 20th February

Blue tit roosting,20th February

When the birdcams are left running overnight, a Blue tit can be seen roosting in the Infant box. It has already added some droppings back into the newly cleaned out box!

Big Schools’ Birdwatch 2015 – The Result!

This year, the RSPB has given schools from 5th January to 13th February to do their Big Schools’ Birdwatch surveys. We have taken part in this national survey for the last seven years. This year, each class completed one survey with all children having the opportunity to take part. The surveys lasted one hour during which time we counted the maximum number of each species seen together (i.e. not individual visits).

Brambling

Brambling

This year we counted nearly 200 birds over 3 surveys and recorded 26 different species. We were excited to record our first ever sighting of a Brambling which was seen feeding under the Alder trees with other finches and also on the feeders in front of the bird hide. The Brambling is similar in size and shape to the Chaffinch and can be mistaken for one. It is a winter visitor to the UK, breeding in Scandinavia and Western Siberia during the summer months.

Although the ground was covered in snow on the 23rd January, the leaf litter under the Alder trees was fairly clear of snow. We counted a massive 25 Bullfinches feeding on Alder seeds on this day.

Species19th Jan pm - Class 123rd Jan am - Class 223rd Jan pm - Class 3
Species count141520
Blackbird222
Blue tit222
Brambling11
Bullfinch131525
Carrion crow12
Chaffinch315
Collared dove42
Dunnock1
Goldfinch323
Great Spotted Woodpecker11
Great tit212
Greenfinch1
Jackdaw3
Magpie225
Mistle Thrush1
Nuthatch12
Redpoll1
Robin11
Rook74
Siskin3
Starling26
Tree Sparrow4
Willow tit1
Woodpigeon1043
Wren1
Yellowhammer2
Total birds seen494790

 

Autumn Tidy Up

Reception and Year 2 did a fantastic job of de-heading dead flowers in our Learning Garden today. This will help the plants flower for as long as possible providing nectar for insects still out on chilly autumn days. A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was very grateful for all the work the children did!

Year 2 also collected some Lavender flowers to make their classroom smell nice!

Late Bloomers!

Learning Garden in Bloom

Learning Garden in Bloom

We came back to school after the summer holidays to find our learning garden in full bloom, what a fantastic sight! Thank you Mr Cooke for keeping the garden watered over the holidays. The flowers have been attracting large numbers of butterflies such as Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells during the day along with many bees, hoverflies and other insects. At night-time, the heady scent from the flowers also attracts moths.

Moth trap set 18th September, 2014 (by bird hide)

Emptied by Year 6 on the 19th: 2 Copper Underwing agg., 1 Angle Shades, 22 Large Yellow Underwing, 3 Dusky Thorn, 1 Garden Carpet, 1 Pied Smudge, 2 Square-spot Rustic, 4 Lunar Underwing, 1 Mouse Moth, 3 Brimstone Moth, 3 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 3 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 1 Brown-spot Pinion, 2 Green Carpet, 1 Snout, 1 Common Wainscot, 2 Common Marbled Carpet, 2 Common/Dark Marbled Carpet agg., 1 Rosy Rustic.

Average temperature 15ºC, drizzly

From Fork to Plate!

The children worked hard over the summer terms to grow some fruit and vegetables. The strawberries were all eaten before we broke up for the holidays and even featured in our competition winning video. We harvested the tomatoes, purple french beans and garlic on returning in September. Sue, our cook, used the vegetables for school dinners. She used the garlic for garlic bread and tomatoes and garlic in a bolognese sauce. When cooked, the purple beans turn green; these were served as a side dish to the spaghetti bolognese. Delicious!