This week we have been looking closely at the natural world around us. We have been learning about different species of tree, lichen, how to harvest sunflower seeds and that invasive species can be harmful.
On a walk around Callendar Park we looked at the Chestnut trees around us. We talked about the differences between Sweet Chestnut and Horse Chestnut trees and Beanster thought the Sweet Chestnut resembled a snitch. We opened a few conkers to see how ready they were. We decided they weren’t quite ready enough to pick so we will come back in a couple of weeks to check again.
In Zetland we made an important ecological discovery. We found an invasive species of ladybird, the Harlequin Ladybird. In fact, it is the most invasive species in the UK and it has helped us to better understand the process of invasion. The main reason Harlequin Ladybirds pose a threat to our native species is that they have such voracious appetites that they easily out-compete native ladybirds for food. It is almost certainly why our Two-Spot Ladybird is so scarce. In talking to one of our friends we learned that Harlequins should be reported when found so we did just that. We now have our very own record in the Harlequin Ladybird sighting database!
After that find we were on the lookout for more interesting finds. We discovered lots of lichens, which Moo particularly enjoyed touching and describing.
We found a few animal holes to look at and we had fun talking about what animals we thought lived inside them based on the size.
Back at home we wanted to know more about the structure of sunflower heads and whether the seeds were ready to harvest from our plot at the allotment. Beanster set about dissecting one. The seeds are nearly there, but not quite so we will leave the allotment ones to die back a little before we harvest the seeds for the birds.