One benefit of the current closure of our schools and nature reserves is that I am getting to spend much more time with my son, as we both try to work from home. Of course, for both of us the working day is a little different from what we are used to, but I'm lucky that Thomas is happy to get on with the work that his teachers have set, allowing me to find some productive work time during the day.
It's far from all work and no play, though, and we've found plenty of time for quality time together. I've even joined in with the online morning PE sessions on most mornings (thanks to Joe Wicks), and have already discovered muscles that I had forgotten I had! We're trying to spend some time in the garden each day, and have managed a nature walk each day once my wife finishes work.
We've also taken the opportunity to complete some of those tasks that trend to be left on the "To Do List" for far longer than they should. One such task that we completed last week was to build and test Thomas's bat detector - a Christmas present from my brother. As anyone who knows me will tell you, DIY is not my forte, but, thankfully, this was an easier job that I had anticipated.
First things, first. Unpack and check that everything was there.
Luckily everything was clearly labelled, so we soon had the speaker and microphone connected to the circuit-board, and the the outer box.
Next it was time to connect the dials and battery.
Soon it was complete, without too much difficulty, and we were ready to test it.
It's a few years since we saw bats around the house, though we haven't looked much recently, and it was a bit chilly, so expectations weren't high for the for the attempt at detecting bats that evening, but at least we'll be ready when they do emerge.
There was the bonus of great views of Venus above the new moon - and later in the evening we spotted the International Space Station passing overhead.
We'll keep trying out the bat detector from home throughout the spring, hoping to discover which bats are active around Beccles. Once the current restrictions are lifted and we're able to visit Minsmere again, we'll try out the detector their too.
Bat detecting is just one of the great ways that we can study wildlife around us, even if we can't see it, and if you check out the Tracking Signs of Wildlife Wild Challenge on the RSPB website you'll see many other different techniques that you can try at home.
For example, we know that we have hedgehogs using our garden, because we regularly see their droppings, but do any other mammals visit us? We'll try to build an animal tracker to find out where the hedgehogs are going, and perhaps spot some other mysterious night-time visitors. Perhaps you could do the same - or maybe you'll spot some footprints, molehills or burrows on your nature walks and discover more about the wildlife in your towns and gardens.
Let us know what you find.
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