Whilst many baby birds are only now eagerly poking their heads out of nests, some parent birds are already encouraging reluctant youngsters to leave the safety of the nest. Most of our common woodland and garden birds such as robins, blackbirds, starlings and blue tits are feeding their hungry fledglings and May is a good time to observe fat fluffy chicks taking their first ‘hop and flap’ into the wider world. Here are some activities to learn about the marvels of nest building, eggs and baby birds. Continue reading Fledgling birds
January is a quiet month after all the New Year festivities and in terms of wildlife it feels a bit bleak, with trees stripped bare of leaves and many animals in hibernation, the woods seem to be in a deep slumber.
Not surprisingly, January is a month associated with deep reflection as we look back at the year departed and look forward with new hopes. In Greek mythology Janus, for which January is named, is the god of beginnings, transitions and endings. Janus is depicted as having two faces, to look at the future and to the past. We also need time to stop and reflect, and nature can provide the perfect medium to do this. Read on for some ‘woodland therapy’ ideas. Continue reading A Woodland Invitation
The New Forest’s woodlands become different places in the winter. Leaves fall from deciduous trees, in a myriad of autumn colours, to reveal bare branches and twigs with pointy buds. Suddenly leafless, this is the best time to study the shapes and silhouettes of trees; the ancient oaks look bent and wrinkled whilst silver birch look slender and smooth. Here are some fun ideas to help ID and learn about trees in winter: Continue reading Winter Trees
Autumn is my favourite time of the year to be outdoors exploring the New Forest; foraging for juicy blackberries, collecting fallen crab apples and enjoying the season’s changing colours. It’s also a wonderful time to create some amazing land art – all you need are leaves and a creative imagination. Continue reading Nature inspired autumn land art
Moths are fab – not drab! They are as brightly coloured and patterned as their day-flying relatives, and come in all shapes and sizes. With an amazing 2,500 different types of moths, compared to 58 different butterflies in the UK, looking for moths and experiencing their world at night is a magical and wonderful way to learn about nature. For fun ‘mothing’ techniques read on. Continue reading Moth Mania
Feathers are unique to birds. Strong, yet light and flexible, a single feather is a thing of great beauty. From July until late summer is a good time to look for feathers when adult birds are moulting: a process of shedding old feathers and growing new ones. Not surprisingly many birds are looking a bit shabby after the efforts raising their young, and are now growing new, strong, warm feathers for the winter. Look for moulted feathers on the ground and try out these activity ideas. Continue reading Focus on feathers
Did you know the New Forest is one of the best places in the UK to spot a dragonfly? Of the 36 species which exist in this county, an amazing 74% of them can be found here. June and early July is the wonderful time to observe dragonflies as they emerge from their larval cases and exchange a life in water for one of flying. So with streams, rivers, ponds and wet bogs aplenty to explore follow these tips to observe and learn about their incredible lives. Continue reading Close encounters with dragonflies