Saturday, 19 September 2015

Wild Oxfordshire

We spent the afternoon at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley, which on a normal day is a lovely museum in a fabulous setting.

Today it was extra special though as it had been taken over by Wild Oxfordshire, giving the kids a chance to hold all sorts of beasties and engage with some of the local (and not so local) wildlife.

Very keen on the tarantula

No we can't have one as a pet!
The giant millipede was nice - very smooth

Happy to touch, but 'too leggy' to hold apparently!
Great crested newt

Giant African land snails

A very handsome Indian eagle owl called Ruben

No we can't have one of them as a pet either!
We also had a look at some of the fossils that have been found locally, including this cast of a dinosaur jaw. The original was found almost 200 years ago in Oxfordshire, then it was spotted by an Oxford professor who identified it as a reptile jaw, making it the first 'giant lizard' fossil to be discovered.

The giant sharks teeth fossils were a bit of a hit and I liked this perfect shrimp fossil.

The kids did the fossil lucky dip and came home with their own fossils.

We saw snakes skins and the skulls of crocodiles and alligators.

Doing an impression of Sobek, the Egyptian God of the Nile
The Environment Agency had brought some river life along and we fished some shrimps and worms out of the water, taking a good look at them through the hand lenses.

They'd also set some traps the night before and caught a signal crayfish in one of the River Thames tributaries near Wallingford. They're an introduced species that has caused havoc with the native white-clawed crayfish, spreading disease to them. They also eat the eggs of native fish and damage river banks by burrowing into them.
Signal crayfish
We all added some artwork to the riverlife mural.
Our resident artist at work
The little one drew an otter, chasing a fish that was chasing a worm!

I drew some snake's head fritillaries on the river
bank - one of my favourite plants!
 Then we headed out to the meadow to play a red kite game. We had to build a nest, then our red kite protected the chicks while we collected food for them. Unfortunately some of our food was poisoned and one our chicks died! Took my best powers of persuasion to persuade our red kite to leave the nest!!

Rusty the red kite - he's to scale showing the huge wingspan of a red kite

There's lots of lovely things in the rest of the museum and it's definitely worth a visit.

No comments:

Post a Comment