Spring over the Rea

Today we held our spring festival celebrating the start of another ‘Friends Event Year’ and another year of patch people and wildlife activity. We were happy to be joined by the Rangers (Arthur and Alan), local friend Penny Moore who organised the great duck race (from Balaams Wood another River Rea local patch), the RSPB in the shape of Hollie and Jess who will moving on to pastures new as their Severn-Trent funding has expired (they will be greatly missed), Adam, Laura and Jon (from OPAL West Midlands), Tom and Nicky from Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust (BBCWT) and famous ‘Bat Detector Van’.

Nicky (BBCWT), Tom (BBCWT), Jon (OPALWM) and Adam (OPALWM) with the OPAL WM Bee Hotels and literature,
OPAL worm survey kits and Evolution MegaLab snail tank.

The Bat Detector.

There were bee hotels and bat boxes to be made (courtesy of BBCWT) and lots of information concerning British solitary bees and OPAL West Midlands’ ‘
West Mildands Buzz’ bee project.

Adam and bees

Badges to be drawn.

The day started with a walk around one of the patch nature walks led by the Friends and OPAL (see
here for walk details) and concluded with the Great duck Race, started by Tony and refereed by Penny. In between we had lots of activity in the Queen Mother’s Woodland (or Rea Thicket) when Arthur and Alan ran a bug hunt, attended by a host of enthusiastic young naturalists and their parents.

Arthur organising the ‘bug hunt’.

45 minutes of rooting around looking on and around trees, under stones and logs, in brushwood piles, leaf litter turned up a vast array of different bugs including mites and spiders, woodlice, millipedes and centipedes, beetles, slugs, snails, flies, hymenopterans, adult caddisflies and the like.

Most were taken back to the stands for photographing and you can find these sitting on the ‘Bug Ball gallery’. Can you spot your bug? Wait for the pictures to cycle through!

The day culminated in the ‘Great Duck Race’. The ducks were released from the bridge at Second Avenue and the finish line was the ford down Rea Walk.

Penny allocated the ducks to their owners. Eventually 68 numbered ducks entered the race.

Ready, set go...........

And they are off........

The race is on downstream........

And the winner was......number 26! Thanks Penny (and Arthur and Alan for marshalling and collecting the late finishers).

It was a terrific way to spend a warm spring day. Thanks to all involved.

Tony (left) and Jon (right).