Hi there, and thanks for reading our very first post. What better way to launch the blog than with one of our biggest events of the year. The Wild Weekend happened on the 17th and 18th May, and unlike the dreary rain that I’m looking out at right now, we had glorious sunshine the entire time. My job for the weekend was to man the Adopt a Species stall – we’ve completely revamped our adoption packs and the hedgehogs, badgers and peregrines were being launched at the weekend . So essentially I got to sit in the sunshine for two days and watch the little pied wagtail who nests under the solar panel on the roof of the Brandon Marsh Visitor Centre. He (or she – I’m not sure how to tell the difference, so let’s say he) has a routine you see. He hops along the top of the roof with whatever food he’s brought for the chicks, but almost always gets startled by an imaginary danger, so he retreats to the roof behind. From there he takes a good look around, realises that it’s all in his head and hops back, down the roof and under the solar panel to say hello to the babies. On days as hot as last weekend (reaching 24° at times), it’s a wonder that they’re not cooked wagtails under there really, but they seem to be doing fine.
The rest of the weekend was filled with treats too. All the kids loved the minibeast hunting and the pond dipping. Several got very excited at finding Great Crested Newts in the pond as well as Smooth Newts, although perhaps the parents understood the significance of this a little better. Similarly one little girl on a walk around the reserve saw a grass snake slither out and cross the path directly in front of her. She, by all accounts, was terrified, and looked incredulously at her father as he told her that she was “lucky” to have seen one. But after working here for almost a year now and having only ever seen the very tip of a snake’s tail disappear into the undergrowth, I’d have to agree that she was very lucky indeed.
The final reward for our hard work came thanks to Bob from the Tunnel Brewery in Nuneaton. The brewery supports the Trust and the Help For Hedgehogs Campaign with their delicious selection of wildlife themed ales. So after our visitors had left, the weekend ended for the staff with our sunglasses firmly on, our faces turned up to the sky and a Tipsy Toad in our hands. Bliss.