Great weekend camping with the children up at the village playing fields with many other Ashcott families. Many group activities; BBQ's, rounders, football etc For my contribution I ran a natural history session with the children on the Sunday and we all dismantled owl pellets.
The children were all really into the activity and spent more than an hour tweaking the pellets apart with tweezers and dissection tools. I gave a prize (*big packet of sweets) to the child who retrieved the most bones and many of the children did a beautiful job cleaning the vole leg bones, shrew skulls and mouse jaws and organising them in their little labelled bags. They became very proficient at identifying the bones in a very short time and it was great to hear them telling each other what they were looking at and sharing particularly interesting finds. Amongst the pellets we found a couple of rat skulls, notably more robust than the mice and voles, and by the end of the session the group of Mum's were left alone focussing intently on their own pellets as the children raced off to play bike zombies, recharged after a quiet sit down.
Note: The swallows that I had previously thought had left for Africa haven't left at all, I have seen them every day this week and in large numbers on the phone lines in the village.