Wonderful Wildlife

This week at Walton Hospital in Chesterfield, Cavendish Hospital in Buxton and Newholme Hospital in Bakewell, we’ve been looking at wildlife – and talking about some of the stars of BBC’s Springwatch such as barn owl chicks, and feisty fish Spineless Si the stickleback. We read some classic wildlife poems, such as Come In by Robert Frost, The Unknown Bird by Edward Thomas, and The Thought Fox by Ted Hughes, lovely thoughtful poems about our relationship with nature.

As we’re in Derbyshire, with lots of countryside and wild places, the patients and staff have a close relationship with wildlife. Outside the wards, swallows swooped and sparrows chirped as we talked. The world outside is a constant source of inspiration and solace to us, sometimes making us laugh or gasp with exasperation, but always fascinating.

In my garden

In my garden,
The bluetits, robins
House sparrows,
Woodpigeons,
All watch out for the cat.

The foxes sneak cleverly,
A mouse scurries,
The swan’s grey goslings waddle,
Rabbits bob their tails running.

Insects buzz around the flowers
Butterflies crowd the buddleia;
Lavender keeps them happy.
At dusk, moths show beautiful colours.

The hard-working birds start their dawn chorus
Singing from the lilac tree
The elm, the acer, and the holly.
In the spring woods, bluebells grow
Dandelions – bright yellow.
Daisies by the roadside.

The sloe berries and the elderflowers
Are a harvest for us too!

Our wild world

The dog starts barking at the birds,
Chasing and barking but never catching them.
The early light wakes you up –
The wood pigeons cooing,
Getting so full they can’t fly away.
Boys used to catch sticklebacks
Bringing them back in jam jars;
Collecting frogspawn, newt eggs
The tadpoles hatched in the pond.
There were rats in our school.
Kids used to feed them.
All hell broke loose when we saw a rat run
Through the science lab, carrying a banana!
But I’m a farmer’s daughter,
So I’m not scared of anything like that.

Wildlife Watching

He was lying in the grass, quiet and watching.
He saw the badgers hold a funeral
They pulled the dead one out of the set
And all followed; a burial procession.
You can see a lot if you’re quiet and wait
In the hides at Carsington –
The drama of the birds on the lake,
Even the mice finding scraps on the floor.
People come from miles around to watch
Peregrines nest on the tower of Derby Cathedral
And Winchester; watching chicks peep over the parapet.
A pigeon tried to nest on the arm of my satellite dish
And I couldn’t see a thing on TV!

We also enjoyed making some brilliant wildlife collages, using pictures cut out from the wonderful RSPB magazine.

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