Sometime over the last 29 years I forgot how to tell the difference between a moorhen and a coot. A fact which has mildly bothered me every time the children and I have seen one (or the other), and I’ve found myself exclaiming “Ooh look! A coot! … Or is it a moorhen? … I can’t quite remember which…”
Just as I learned almost all the trees I can name on one walk when I was eleven, so I acquired my entire waterfowl-naming repertoire on a school trip to Slimbridge Wetlands Centre around the same time. (Evidently my nature study career peaked in 1982, A grade biology “O” level notwithstanding.)
So, inspired by my recent intention to heighten my enJOYment of nature, I was excited to set off today for Arundel Wetlands & Wetlands Trust. A lovely lady at the entrance booth spent a good five minutes talking us through the free map she gave us, which enhanced our visit enormously.
We started out feeding the ducklings.
Then moved onto some pond-dipping.
We ate our sandwiches in one of the two play areas.
Then strolled around the boardwalk through the reeds and bulrushes. (Well, two of us “strolled”, anyway.)
En route we came across a camera obscura, which excited Big J very much. C and J loved being in a dark den, though the science was a bit lost on them (but is, I’m sure, one of those experiences they’ll recall one day in the future).
Next we glided through the bulrushes on a silent boat, where we spotted baby grebes among other things.
We rounded off the day with tea and cakes and a play in the “Pond Skater” playground.
And I learned – for the second time – that a coot has a white beak, and a moorhen has a more colourful red beak.