Friday, 30 May 2014

Garden snails are fun and good science

I will soon be speaking at a South East Grid for Learning Teachers Conference about habitat mapping in school grounds, to help wildlife and as a teaching resource.
I needed some photographs to support some of the activities. One particular activity great for urban schools with little green space is a study on garden snails. So I photographed part of the activity in my garden - collected some snails painted numbers on them and then allowed them to climb out of the pot and then i recorded where the snails went.

As a project for schools, pupils can speculate where they think the  snails will go (and why) and then evaluate their finds and what they have learned about the habitat requirement of snails.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Bees and ants

The red mason bees are still busy nesting in the 'bee hotel'
Activity is not high as several bees are nesting at the same time and coming and going are frequent.

The pollen on the underside of the abdomen and occasionally you can see a bee carry a mouthful of  mud to construct the cells.

The black ants in our garden are also busy, but in a different way as they colect food and clean up the remains of dead invertebrates.
These ants are cutting up the dead remains of this damselfly

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Blackbird, damselfly and mason bees.

We have blackbirds nesting nearby and the male is often in our back garden looking for worms. 
Here he is tackling a large earthworm  which it took several minutes to subdue to fly off with, it looked like it was going to give up on a couple of occasions, but persevered

The large red damselflies have emerged from our pond, this one is resting on an ornament next to the pond.

The red mason bees are still busy making their nests in the 'bee hotel' 
Mason bees do not have pollen baskets like honey bees or bumble bees, instead they carry it on their body which you can see on the returning bee above.
Lots going on in our greenhouse. Things to eat, plants for the window boxes and also sunflowers which i would miss if we did not have at least a few each year. Good for the bees and birds too.