It's Monday morning and I'm recovering from a fun, if slightly damp and muddy Sunday at Newton Rigg College's Countryside Day, near Penrith. There was plenty to see and do from all aspects of the countryside from den building to tractor rides, clay pigeon shooting to wildlife gardening, and I was there with an RSPB stall and my trusty hen harrier games and craft activities! A great opportunity to talk to a wide range of people, from students and families just out for the day, to wildfowlers, grouse moor owners, and college staff.
The Feed The Hen Harriers game never fails to attract attention...
The idea is to get the bean bags through the hen harrier's mouth while standing in the hoop... though there was a certain amount of cheating going on...!
A simple but effective moorland habitat display attracted attention and generated some good converations, while several new and interesting species were created through the build-a-bird activity!
After a successful day all round, I've also agreed to run some Skydancer workshops with the College's gamekeeping students in the autumn - something I'm really looking forward to! There are lots of events to come on the Skydancer roadshow so be sure to look out for for us! Next stops - Newcastle Green Festival and Glendale Children's Countryside Day...
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Not many harriers about in Bowland I’m afraid to say but there were plenty of these around on the spring bank holiday 'In search of sky dancers' walk.
This is the sun loving green tiger beetle or Cincindela campestris, which tells you something about the weather we enjoyed on the walk!
I’d not seen one before coming to Bowland. Clearly I’d not been looking in the right places as they’re pretty common, you find them on dry sandy soils so they particularly like heath land and dry rocky land rover tracks such as the one up the Langden valley!
These beetles are neat, they are fearsome predators equipped with huge jaws for crushing their smaller invertebrate prey – even their larvae are ferocious, digging pitfall traps in the soil in order to trap their prey! I also love the fact that they are able to move so fast (they are one of our fastest insects) that they become unable to see, meaning that they either have to visually lock onto their prey then catch it in one swift attack or run in really short bursts, stopping to reorient themselves!
So don't forget to look down at your feet every so often when your out and about ... there are some pretty amazing creatures to be found at ground level as well as in the skies!
Above are aggregated posts from various wildlife blogs created by tourism businesses within the Forest of Bowland AONB, please visit www.bowlandwildlife.org.uk for further information and to view the full list of postings.
The Forest of Bowland AONB accept no responsibility for any content created in these blogs.