Feeding birds,planting hollies,daffodils and wildflowers +weeding out alexanders and nettles

Thursday February 26th 2015

Rose arrived in time to help me with filling the bird feeders.After sorting the bird food ready for next Monday’s work session we planted some wildflower plants ie cat’s ear,salad burnet etc -we also planted 6 pots of daffodils and 3 hollies just below the far steps.

Next we sat in the light rain enjoying a chat during our coffee break after which we had time to weed out more alexanders and nettles-my fingers are still stinging 2 hours later!

Mr Ball brought some school children into the wildlife area for an outdoor learning session-they were busy making creatures such as slow worms and hedgehogs out of modelling clay plus also making minibeast shelters from recycled materials

Lots of birdsong heard in our school wildlife area +we saw blackbirds, robins, collared doves ,wood pigeons and bluetits

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Rain stopped work!

Monday February 23rd 2015

First work session after half term break-Colin and I filled all the various bird feeders around the school wildlife area

Nigel brought his large shovel back for us to use when Teign Trees deliver the tree chippings for our muddy pathways

Lots more winter aconites,hellebores,snowdrops,crocus ,violets and primroses in flower now plus a red campion also spotted near the main steps

After sorting the bird food ready for next time we intended having our first coffee at seating on the top path alas the sky darkened and the rain fell -however  we managed to take shelter in the shed!

Wildlife seen this morning included a grey squirrel,collared doves, crows, magpies , robins, blackbirds,great tits and a jay

Decided to leave early for home when the rain eased- mainly because all the foliage we were due to prune back would be soaking wet

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Birds gathering moss for nest building+winter aconites +celendines in flower+planting betony,birds foot trefoil and red flowered clover

Thursday February 12th 2015

After Rose and I had filled the bird feeders  we sorted the bird food ready for our next work session after next weeks half term-have put out 5 extra half coconut fat filled feeders as we are not coming in next week….

Rose planted some donated betony plants plus a red flowered clover and a birds foot trefoil plant on the large slope below the shed whilst I added another 9 marker canes with brightly coloured tops around the wildlife area ie hoping to protect the nearby emerging daffodils, bluebells,snowfrops, primroses,violets etc

Next off to the front of school to tidy up the flower beds -alas Rose had to leave suddenly -I stayed 30 minutes just time to weed the wooden planters+remove any dead foliage -I also picked up litter and watered the planters and nearby flower pots

In the wildlife area lovely to see 2 new bright yellow spring flowers now in bloom ie winter aconites and celendines

We noticed that the wild  birds have been busy gathering lots of moss- from the grassy area between the 2 main paths-for nest building

Crows,magpies,robins,blackbirds,collared,doves,woodpigeons and chaffinch seen in the wildlife area plus lots of birdsong heard including a great tit

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Woodpiles-important wildlife habitat

Monday February 9th 2015

Lovely sunny but chilly morning- Colin and I began by filling bird feeders around school wildlife area as usual

Cath joined us in time to help with some major work-we have rebuilt and reinstated the 2 woodpiles in the copse by the wildlife pond

Over the last 10 years we have been adding to these piles of tree/hedge prunings, fallen branches etc

NB About 3 years ago Nigel brought some stag beetle larvae/grubs from some rotting wood in his grandson’s garden-he added them to our woodpile by the ash trees-stag beetles are quite rare and can take up to 7 years to mature into adults

We have put up laminated signs on the 2 woodpiles in the copse to inform the school children and staff about the importance of woodpiles

Woodpiles are a very important habitat and haven for a variety of wildlife ie

BIRDS-feed/nest+shelter from larger bird attacks

SMALL MAMMALS-hedgehogs/mice/voles/shrews

MINIBEASTS-woodlice/beetles/millipedes/centipedes/various beetles+ moths/butterflies

MOLUSCS-slugs/snails

AMPHIBIANS-frogs/toads/newts

SLOW WORMS also are found in woodpiles+the rotting wood is an ideal food source for a variety of FUNGI

We also worked hard tidying away the 2 piles of prunings brought into the wildlife area by the schoolchildren in 2014 when the Embercombe team built the raised fruit and veg beds by the classrooms

Colin, Cath and I have made sure we have left a large woodpile in the far copse near the bird table ready for the children to use when the classes are working in there with Mr Ball….

An amazing variety of birds seen and heard in school wildlife area this morning-wren+WOOD WARBLER heard-seen were starlings+magpies+ female GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER+robins+ woodpigeons+collared doves+blackbirds+chaffinch+goldfinch+greenfinch+longtailed tits+great tits +bluetit+dunnock+house sparrows-also a glimpse of a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER

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Feeding birds+more foliage winter clearance

February 5th 2015

Rose and I began as usual by filling the birdfeeders in and around the school wildlife area then sorted the bird food ready for our next work session on Monday

Second job of the morning was more pruning on wild roses+clearing of brambles and dead foliage on the large perennial bed behind the school nursery

Rose kindly took 2 large wheelbarrow loads of garden waste down to the compost pile at the far corner of the school field

NB the dead wood pigeon has gone from where we saw it on Monday there’s just a pile of feathers….

Birds seen this morning in the wildlife area included herring gulls,wood pigeon,collared doves,robins,blackbirds + sparrows investigating a nestbox in the ash tree+pied wagtail in playground

Flowers seen in bloom today were snowdrops,snowflake,crocus, cyclamen,  hellebores,gorse, violets,hazel catkins and primroses

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Feeding birds,weeding and pruning+dead pigeon

Monday February 2nd 2015

Very chilly but thankfully dry weather this morning whilst Colin and I were working in the school wildlife area

After filling the birds feeders and sorting the bird food ready for Thursday’s work session we went to do more work on the perennial bed behind the school nursery and Learning Centre

Lots of pruning of goat willow,brambles and wild roses plus some dead foliage cleared out-resulting in a wheelbarrow load and 2 large bags of gardening waste taken down to the compost pile at the  far corner of the school field

Numerous birds seen and heard in school wildlife area this am-wood pigeons, collared doves,blackbirds,robins ,chaffinch,magpies,dunnock and hedge sparrow

A dead half plucked wood pigeon- possible killed by a bird of prey- on the slope just above the outdoor classroom seating

An increasing number of spring flowers now in bloom ie violets, primroses, snowdrops, hellebores and crocus

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Feeding birds + weeding and pruning

Thursday January 29th 2015

Managed to walk up to school this morning arriving 8.50am started to fill bird feeders just before Rose arrived o help

After filling the birdfeeders we sorted the food ready for Monday’s work session then had an early coffee break

Our second job was more winter clearing ie pruning and weeding out dead foliage on the large bed behind nursery and our Learning Centre -lots of garden waste added to the compost bins nearby

After tidying away tools etc back at the shed we even had time for another coffee break!

Several new crocus now in flower in  the school wildlife area+lots of small birds seen including around 8 blackbirds

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