Yesterday our 5 year (two month and 9 day) old Grandson, Sam, held his belated birthday party. The family had been away on Jan 2nd, the actual date, and Sam decided to wait until later to celebrate this ripe old age with his friends.
He decided on an open air celebration which would commence with a nature walk. To try and make it more interesting Simon and I hit on the idea of some simple "work sheets" done like one of the old fashioned I spy books, with just a few pictures with names to fill in.
I did take along a couple of telescopes and these proved a big hit with some of the kids, although I'm not convinced any of the saw what I originally put into view. Nevertheless the sky certainly got a thorough looking at!
The event was held at Hollow Pond, on Whipps Cross Road, which stands at the southern end of what is still called Epping Forest. It is still an interesting green areas where there was quite a lot to see in a good accessible way for the children.
I was pleased that there were more than the expected Mallards representing the Ducks, although this female didn't match the black and white picture on their "work-sheet".
Luckily the male appeared from behind and Island and at times even its eponymous tuft was visible. Every one seemed to enjoy the even, especially when Pam arrived with some hot food, followed by birthday cakes and various other nibbles. I think it's great to start to sow the seeds of some interest in the natural world at an early age, let's hope that Sam's generation are better custodians of their environment than ours has been.
Today I tootled along to the Restharrow Scrape in the hope of seeing the Garganey's that had been present yesterday, but unfortunately they seem to have moved on. Peering through to gloom towards the railway at Mary Bax I eventually found the two Cranes that have been around for a few days. They were not photographable, but through a scope they OK and were obviously very actively feeding in one area. Wouldn't it be great if the work done by the RSPB on their new reserve brought breeding Cranes to Kent, as has been done in Somerset and Norfolk/Suffolk.