News from the North and Eco Club

Sunday, July 1st 2012

This morning a text arrived from Sophie at Cape Wrath.  'We all arrived safe last night.  Good day at Torridon, ringed Arctic Tern, Herring Gulls and Cormorants.  Saw dolphins, a whale and an otter too.'  The breeding success of the seabirds has been variable over the last few years, hopefully this year, the adult birds will have found plenty of the correct food for their chicks.

At Foxglove the children arrived for Eco Club to look at flowers.  Invertebrates love plants, for food and shelter so this was a good excuse to go sweep netting and bug hunting to see what we could find.  Our first stop was the moor.  Everyone joined in and soon flies of various sizes, shapes and colours were caught, along with Timothy bugs, a spider and two young, tiny grasshoppers.

Sweep netting on the moor

As we walked over the moor we identified a variety of flowers. The children were shown how the sawfly larvae react to danger, although they no longer appeared to produce their tiny droplet of saliva, which we presume tastes nasty to predators!  On to the Gorse to hunt for more bugs.

Bug hunting at the Gorse

After a search a shieldbug was spotted! 

A shieldbug

Along Risedale Beck the Stinging Nettle patch revealed more invertebrates hidden amongst the leaves.  We also saw Speckled Wood Butterflies dancing in the sunshine.  Stinging Nettles, grasses, Raspberry and Hawthorn growing up the side of a net ride from Risedale Beck always proves to be a good place for invertebrates, as it catches the sun.  Very quickly Cercopis vulnerata was spotted and although some jumped huge distances when approached, some were very co-operative and sat quietly on a finger ...

Cercopis vulnerata on a child's finger

... and an arm.

Cercopis vulnerata on an arm

Back at the centre there were refreshments and activity sheets as well as looking for and finding the queen bee and watching the 'waggle dance'.  Out on our walk we had spotted a bee from the hive searching for pollen.  Using the pollen chart to match the colour of pollen, we think that the bees were feeding from Buttecups.

Thank you to everyone who helped to make this morning another good outing.


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