And with such a diverse range of groups in attendance, there was plenty for kids to see and do. The Oxfordshire Reptile and Amphibian Group brought Newts, Lizards, Slow-worms and Grass snakes for children to get up close and personal with. For many this was the first time they had ever seen a British reptile before (it would've been my first time too, had I not spotted a Common Lizard a few weeks ago), and excited gasps offered much deserved appreciation to these often overlooked animals. But the lack of one iconic species echoed its worrying decline in the area-Adders are confirmed at just one site in the whole of Oxfordshire, and the Reptile and Amphibian Group are appealing for sightings through their website.
|The kids got the chance to hold live frogs (Photo courtesy of Cynth Napper)|
Aside from seeing the animals, there were loads of other activities for the kids to get stuck in to. Pond dipping and bug hunting were particular favourites among the kids, but what stood out for me was dissecting owl pellets. Unlike faeces, pellets are composed of all the parts of its prey which an owl can't digest, such as fur and bones. Studying the remains allows us to build an incredibly accurate picture of an individual's habits and lifestyle. For example, my owl turned out to be a proficient hunter- he'd caught four rodents in one night, all of them wood mice.
|Making 'bee hotels' was another great activity (Photo courtesy of Cynth Napper)|