Ten things to learn before school

10 birds for 30 Days Wild by Dave Steel

Even the walk to school counts as part of the 30 Days Wild adventure for mosslands birder Dave Steel

The pace for today’s Wild was set at “snail.” The walk to school, with my granddaughter is in truth not normally too slow but she has by now accepted that school is a place to learn.

Our wild classroom was to be the first lesson of the day, when she spotted a snail heading across the pavement. and was fascinated by its movement out of first gear and into second. It raced across the footpath. Quick! Camera out and photo, before it sped off.

We continued and decided that, after her spotting a robin, that we could try and grab 10 species of bird for our outdoor blackboard - or is it whiteboard these days? - before that strident school bell rang.

Blackbird came easy, as did house sparrow. Now, for bird number four, a wren sound-blasted its song from a nearby field. Calls of birds count, therefore, number four sorted.

Passing the now blossom-free stand of blackthorn, we managed to pick up a brief snatch of a song (of sorts)  from a starling, before our eyes lit on a woodpigeon, which was trundling about a patch of grass.

We were now both more than half way to school, as was our list as a greenfinch wheezed its lazy song of summer, then a piratical Magpie was spotted by young eyes. Certainly not mine. And she had got us number eight.

School in sight and two more to go. A pied wagtail was there, then not, as it flew by, leaving us with one to go but we were at the school gates.

Our mission looked as if it would fail, until a lesser black-backed gull rang out its call of the sea as it passed overhead. Ten reached, the reward for my young wildlife companion - well that was inevitable - lesson two and more in a warm, comfy classroom.

30 Days Wild