Year 5 trip to Minsmere

The boys and girls were divided into four groups, and the RSPB ‘field teachers’ expertly planned the itineraries so that not only would we carry out our planned activities but also see behind the scenes of the BBC programme.

We were certainly in luck, with some pupils getting to meet Chris Packham, one of the Springwatch presenters, as well as Barney Harwood and Lindsey Russell: Blue Peter was also coming ‘live from Minsmere’ on the day of our visit!

Each group spent time birdwatching from a hide overlooking the ‘scrape’ and enjoyed seeing Avocets and Little Egrets there as well as Marsh Harriers hunting over the reed beds.  The famous Bitterns would have to wait for another time!

We also did pond-dipping, which involved fishing out creatures from a pond and trying to identify them.  Finding the larva of a dragonfly in my net was certainly my highlight (unlike Nick Baker on Springwatch, we were not allowed to actually go into the pond!).  In this activity, and during our search for insects in the woods, I was struck by the amazing observational skills of the children and by their knowledge!  Unlike many adults, who might, for example, ‘only do birds’, youngsters are often refreshingly catholic in what they will look at, from butterflies to dragonflies to centipedes to orchids.

At the end of our wonderfully varied day, I reminded the children of what I had said in the briefing prior to the trip: that our visit to Minsmere was a ‘taster’, and that if they had enjoyed it they should try to go again and spend longer enjoying the different parts of the reserve.  In the summer holidays there are further activities in which children can participate – details can be found on the ‘what’s on’ section of the reserve’s website:
http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/m/minsmere/index.aspx

On
a personal note, I would like to thank the Year 5 pupils for their enthusiasm and interest during the day, and for making me feel so welcome!     David Walsh, Senior School teacher and long-time birdwatcher!

‘On 5th June, all of Year 5 went to Minsmere for the day.  First my group went to see where Springwatch and Unsprung are filmed.  We then went to the lorries, where we spoke with Chris Packham.  Afterwards we went into the woodlands and saw woodlice, spiders and centipedes.  Then we went to the shop and bought some things.  Next, we had lunch outside.  We then went pond dipping.  My friend and I found some bloodworms and a water snail.  Afterwards we went birdwatching, and we saw avocets, geese and swans.  Throughout the whole day, pond dipping was the best.  Thank you to everyone who took us and the RSPB.           Written by a Year 5 pupil

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