Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Look Who's Out to Enjoy the Sunshine!

The weather has been so good and warm that we were out for another nature walk with Tiger running around the woods in his short sleeve T-shirt!

Doesn't the woods look lovely?

While enjoying the quiet walk (there wasn't anyone else around in the woods that day), we observed quite a few things:
1) Blue tits

It's difficult to spot them in the trees because of the light and the branches, but their song is quite a giveaway.

2) Green woodpeckers
For several weeks now, we have been hearing the woodpecker drill holes in the woods so we were thrilled to finally see where it lives.

There are two species of woodpeckers in England but we've only ever seen the Green Woodpeckers around our way.  Normally we have one regular green woodpecker that visits our garden each spring and summer, so we were especially thrilled to see three all at once.

3) We also heard some unusual (for us) birdsongs.  The birds were too far away for us to identify so we still don't know what they are. 

Update on March 25th:
After watching the following episode of Springwatch 2013, we've identified the mysterious birds above as the Meadow Pipit.

4) Bumblebee

The bumblebee seemed quite dozy, probably confused by the sudden warmth that has come unexpectedly this year.  Judging from its size and the timing of its appearance, it probably is the queen bee looking for a new site.

5) Apart from the bumblebee, we also saw other delightful insects such as the Seven-spot ladybird.

There is something very endearing about the typically red seven-spot ladybirds, isn't there?  They are often spotted in the summer, so this particular one is the first we've seen this year.

6) Butterflies
We were very pleased to see a few different types of butterflies on our way, and were able to get very close to them while they were basking in the sun.

Since they remained quite still for a while, I was able to get a few photos that helped us identify them when we got home.  Other than the Brimstone butterfly that fluttered by too quickly and didn't stop for a photo, I took some of:
i) the Small Tortoiseshell butterfly,

ii) the Peacock butterfly,

iii) the Comma butterfly

It was a very fruitful day of nature observation!  But the best part happened when the sun went down.  As we were preparing to go to bed, we heard some eerie noises that sounded like a mixture of grunting and screeching:

We have heard various animal noises at night but not like this, so we were all trying to figure out what it could be.  Tortoise was quite sure it came from some kind of deer, but he didn't know exactly which type.  Tiger immediately identified it as the call of the sika deer -- you can hear him whispering his answer in the following clip:

The next morning we looked on the BBC Nature website and verified that it was indeed the call of the sika deer.  How did Tiger know this?  I have no idea.  Moments like this make me wonder what else and how much else he knows.  It's hard to tell with this boy.

This post is linked up to:
  1. Nature Study Monday: It's March! NSM! Link Up!
  2. Hip Homeschool Hop - 3/18/14
  3. Entertaining and Educational - Musical Sidewalk
  4. Collage Friday - Dreams, History, and LEGOs
  5. Weekly Wrap-up: The One Where My Kid Came Home and My Car Got Grounded
  6. Country Kids from Combe Mill: A Day at the Races
  7. The Homeschool Mother's Journal (3/22/14)


  1. We love walking in the woods too. You managed to spot so much.

    We have a green woodpecker that visits our garden, too, but sometimes see greater spotted woodpeckers in the woods. I may be wrong but thought that there were three species of wood pecker in England: green, greater and lesser spotted. The lesser spotted is rare. I don't think that I have ever seen one.

    The deer is amazing! I remember spotting deer on train journeys through the New Forest but haven't see or heard one in woods for ages.

    1. You're probably right about there being three species of woodpeckers in England. I just lumped the greater and lesser spotted ones into one group. :-)

      We were lucky that day because the sun was very bright, so many animals came out from hibernation early, e.g. the butterflies and bumblebee. Some days we don't see very much at all on our walks. :-)

  2. I love all of your photos! Isn't this weather just lovely?

    1. Thanks, Claire! The weather is gorgeous. We have been waiting for it and now that it's here, we have been outside a lot! :-)

  3. I agree, you did spot a lot! I love hearing woodpeckers but I've never known what they look like. (Their beaks make a lot of sense now I look at them.) We've seen lots of bees, too. Very cool how Tiger knew about the deer. I love that kind of moment. :-)

    1. Thanks, Lucinda. :-) It's great to be able to spend so much time outdoors these days. The walk took longer than usual but it was well worth it. There's so much to see and learn in nature. :-)

  4. Hwee,

    I enjoyed your nature walk very much! What a great idea having some video clips, as well as photos. We've also been on a few nature walks recently, but I didn't think of taking a video camera with us. When I have a camera in my hand I notice so much more than if I'm just strolling along. The blossoms are beautiful. Yes, it looks like spring has arrived for you. Enjoy!

    1. I'm glad you've enjoyed the virtual walk with us, Sue. :-) Much of the experience of being in nature has to be had by actually *being* there, which is the reason I recorded some of the sights and sounds on videos. The videos enable me to share with everyone here some of our experiences in a more vivid way than a still photograph can.

  5. Lovely photos, such beautiful wildlife! #CountryKids

  6. Such lovely photos and video from your nature walk. The birdsong on the videos is lovely. Here's to more sunny days exploring the wonder of nature. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

    1. I hope so too! It seems that the temperature really drops in the evenings, but at least it's sunny and mostly warm in the day! :-)

  7. We are still waiting for the weather to warm up here (expecting snow again tomorrow), so it's wonderful to see your spring pictures. I really enjoy seeing wildlife from other parts of the world. I certainly learned something new with your pictures of green woodpeckers and peacock butterflies!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Carol. The weather here is a bit erratic at the moment. We had a brief hail storm just the other day! I hope spring goes to you soon!


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