Rosemary Webber, Watch Leader at the Heart of The Levels Wildlife Watch Group looks back over the past year of activities of the Hambridge based group.
Visit from Beau the Barn Owl
The Heart of the Levels Wildlife Watch Group is based at Playses Orchard Farm, Hambridge and has been running for 18 months; we are still only a small group but one which is happily growing in numbers. This year we have tried to organise a range of activities for our children and families to take part in and enjoy. One of our aims was to get involved in the Somerset Barn Owl project and secure a Barn Owl box for the village of Hambridge and for our Watch Group. As a result we had a very successful session with Chris Sperring who brought his Barn Owl, Beau. Chris talked to the children about the importance of having the right kind of habitat conditions to entice barn owls to nest in the box. After explaining this, the children had great fun walking around the orchard looking for field vole runs in the long grass to see if the site had a sufficient food source for the owls, which in fact it had. Before going home all the children had the opportunity to have their photo taken with Beau.
Another very successful session was in July when professional wildlife artist David Waters expertly demonstrated watercolour painting techniques and skills and encouraged the children and their parents to have a go themselves in order to produce some very fine wildflower paintings in the field. For the whole session both the children and their parents were completely absorbed in what they were doing and by the end of the session I think all were pleasantly surprised at what they had achieved.
Other activities have included small mammal trapping in order to survey, observe and record small mammal species around the orchard and hunting for fossils on Charmouth beach in Dorset.
The children all had the opportunity to have a picture taken with Beau the Barn Owl