Sandford Beavers and Brownies out with UHP Team on Great Ovens Heath

The Sandford Beavers and then the Sandford Brownies groups were out with the Urban Heaths Partnership Team on Great Ovens in May. Claire Platten UHP 'West' Area Ranger, whose responsibility includes Sandford Heaths and Great Ovens, took Beavers and Brownies on Exploratory Walks. One of the groups out with Claire were lucky to spot Dartford Warblers (Sylvia undata) . They also spotted a 'hairy' Fox Moth Caterpillar (Macrothylacia rubi) , 'hairy' caterpillars are known as 'Woolly Bears'! Like the Fox Moth Caterpillar here. 

  Fox Moth Caterpillar

Sandford Brownies found a good range of Pond Life when they swooped their nets with UHP's Sarah Doel, Bev Lagden and their troop leaders.

  Brownies group with UHP team

Brownies were careful to not overstretch and kept a sensible distance from the slippery clay edges.

  Brownies dipping nets in pond

The Brownies were careful as they transferred pond creatures into trays to have a closer look.

  Girls examing their finds in the net

Good finds included Newts (Smooth and Palmate?), Dragon Fly Larvae, Great Diving Beetles(Dytiscus maginalis) and Diving Beetle Larvae. The group were fascinated to find out Diving Beetles and their Larvae breathe by sticking their bottoms out of the water! They absorb air through tiny holes called spiracles and the adult will trap an air bubble under it's wing cases so it can dive back down and hunt for it's prey.

Can you spot the Diving Beetle Larvae?

  Newt and Diving Beetle Larvae

What have we got here then?

  Dragon Fly Larvae and Newts

The groups took care in gently putting the pond mini beasts gently back in the pond water.

We learnt which creatures were carnivorous. We also found lots of tadpoles. Tadpoles growth is affected by temperature and so far none we found had proper legs yet. 

Has anyone seen any tadpoles with legs yet? I wonder when we will see the first froglets?

Common Frogs Rana temporia froglets can leave the pond between June and September. The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust(ARC) who manage this site have a good FAQ's Spawn and Tadpoles page and information on Amphibians.

Amphibians can spend part of their lives in water like the common frog tadpoles and part on land as adult frogs other Amphibians are capable of spending time on land and in water like Smooth Newts.    page page and lots on