I will be down at Milton Locks again on Thursday morning this week (13th April) with lots of hands-on family activities. We are going to make a concerted effort to record lots of the species we come across, so watch this space on Thursday afternoon for a big sightings list and tales of an adventurous morning. Better still, pop in, say hello and grab a bug pot. Fingers crossed for the weather!
On Friday afternoon, the rain cleared and the sun even put in a brief appearance. Portsmouth Home Ed Group braved the changeable conditions for another visit to Milton Locks. The children in this group range in age from 3 years old to 13 years old (or 33 years old if you count me). We took advantage of the high tide to use plankton nets and make and sail some mini driftwood boats. We also made some interesting beachcombing finds. Some of our spots were surprisingly jumpy!
Sand hoppers are tiny crustaceans that live under seaweed and other debris on the strandline. They are very active when they are uncovered and one of the children remarked ‘It looks like they’re having a party’. We managed to catch some in a bug pot for a closer look before releasing them back into their habitat.
Not all of our finds were entirely natural. This mysterious object is a DIY style tape measure with seaweed growing on it. We were wondering what journey it had been on to get to Milton’s hidden seashore.
This little object is often called a mermaids purse. It is in fact the egg case of a small shark called a Small Spotted Catshark. Confusingly, the same species used to be called a lesser spotted dogfish. I can confirm, however, that it is definitely a shark rather than a cat or a dog.
We had a wonderful afternoon in between the showers with lots of fun and learning taking place.
… we did see lots of families at this week’s Portsmouth Home Education Group session on Friday. We found a lot of tiny shore crabs and built some truly spectacular dens. Whilst we were there, we bumped into a great friend of the nature reserve, Jim Craise. Jim is well known in the area for sharing extraordinary photos of Milton wildlife across social media. He has sent me two photos of possibly the friendliest friend of Milton Locks.
Our Robins are humble little birds with big personalities. They are often around us when we work with people on the reserve, possibly hoping we will unearth some tasty morsels of them. They are probably our most recognisable garden bird, which I think gives them a special place at Milton Locks.
Thanks for the wonderful photos Jim!