Last week I went to a Nursery School in Eyemouth to talk to the children about autumn and the animals that can be seen in the countryside.
Dick came with me and we took Little Green a hedgehog that has been with us since she was a tiny baby.
We also took our Tawny Owl that is still blind and very placid.
We had prepared some photographs of hedgehog nests, the hogs themselves and various owls which we laminated so that the children could pass them round and then pin them to there display boards.
We were not sure how receptive the children would be as they were aged between two and five years. We need not have worried when we arrived 25 or so children all sat round in a big circle.
We told them how hedgehogs made their nests in the autumn and went to sleep for most of the winter. Then some of the very young children went off to play whilst the older ones asked questions.
We then took Little Green out and put her in the middle of the circle on a sheet. She co-operated very well uncurling and sniffing the air. Dick picked her up and tipped her slightly backwards so that the children could see her furry tummy. She was very well behaved and was happy to let all the children stroke her. We put Little Green back in her box where she chomped into her food so she was not at all bothered by the experience.
Then we put the Tawny in his all round wired cage so that he could be seen easily without being disturbed into the centre of the circle of children. They were fascinated by his eyes and eyelids. Right on cue he turned his head almost right round.
The teachers were saying they had told the children that all owls could look right behind them but it was difficult to explain how they did it. The children all enjoyed the experience and their teachers took photographs.
Then we were taken into another room where the oldest children sat round tables. They told us what they had learned about woodland wildlife and asked very searching questions. I hope we were able to answer them successfully. I also hope they enjoyed our visit as much as we enjoyed going to see them.
Whilst we were at Eyemouth a call came in about a swan in trouble on Spittal beach. Harvey and Barbara went off to find the bird. It was very weak and had been battered about in the surf, so they bagged it up and brought it in. They put it in the small pond pen. The bird was ringed but we could find no record of it having been in to us before but it seemed to know a bucket.
When they filled a bucket with grain and bread with a garnish of mealworms which all the swans love, he was in. He did not move from the bucket all day and tried to follow it when we removed it to wash and refill it in the evening. He hates the bucket to be taken away. He is much fitter now so we think he was just caught up in the strong swell.