Moth Trapping – October 19th 2016

The moth trap was set up on the evening of October 19th. A fairly chilly night followed, with a moon just past full, so only one moth was found in the trap in the morning. However, the Dark Sword-grass moth was a new species for the garden. In addition, there were several crane flies and a large red ichneumon wasp.

Moth Night June 9th 2016

This year’s annual celebration of moth recording in the UK, Moth Night, took place over three nights (9th-11th June). We put a moth trap out in the school’s Learning Garden for the Thursday night (9th June) and Year 3 children emptied the trap the following morning. The evening and night had been quite warm (minimum temperature 15ºC) so we were rewarded with a good catch; forty-five moths were trapped and twenty-one different species identified. The children entered the results on the Moth Night web site (

Entering data on Moth Night website

Entering data on the Moth Night website

Small Clouded Brindle 1, Pale Tussock 3, Diamond-back Moth 10, Brown Silver-line 1, Small Phoenix 1, Silver-ground Carpet 1, Silver Y 1, Grass Rivulet 1, Small Square-spot 1, Flame 1, Common Carpet 2, White Ermine 2, Ingrailed Clay 2, Water Carpet 1, Middle-barred Minor 3, Beautiful Golden Y 1, Bee Moth 3, Common Pug 1, Green Carpet 3, Common Swift 5 and Meadow Grey 1. We also caught 2 big Black Sexton Beetles.

Moth Trapping 5-6th June

I set up a moth trap, by the hide in our Learning Garden, on the evening of 5th June and a couple of children helped me record the moths trapped during Monday break-time. Normally we would empty the trap much earlier so any moths that had settled outside the trap will have flown off. We found 8 different species of moth:

2 Bee Moths, 1 Pale Tussock, 1 Water Carpet, 1 Common Swift, 1 Silver-ground Carpet, 2 White Ermine, 1 Flame Carpet, 1 Diamond-back Moth.  In addition, I also showed the children a moth I had caught the previous night at Pleasley Pit, a Peach Blossom.

Blue Tits Fledge

Although we didn’t have any nesting birds in either of our two bird boxes with cameras, at least three other boxes are known to have had Blue Tit chicks in them. Adult birds were seen going into the Car Park box and one of the Silver Birch boxes with food before half term, at the end of May, but both boxes were empty by the time we returned to school on 6th June. Adult Blue Tits were seen taking food to some very noisy chicks in the box by the backdoor on Sunday evening, 5th June. By Monday morning, only one chick could be heard calling from the box and this too had fledged by breaktime.

Early Bird Box Visitors

The school bird boxes were cleaned out at the beginning of the year, thank you Mr Marriot! It was a disappointing year last year with no birds nesting in our birdcam boxes for the first time in 7 years. However, full nests were found in the Car Park box (Blue tits) and all three compartments of one of the sparrow terraces. Some of the boxes had evidence of roosting birds.

The camera in the colour birdcam box has been left on for the Easter holidays so leave comments if you spot any visitors.

Roosting bird

Roosting bird – 25th March


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 ( 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 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.