Puddle Jumping at WWT Arundel & Our First Picnic of the Year

It's been a bit too damp for picnics so far this year, but we finally managed our first one earlier this week.  As it was half-term, our local WWT at Arundel was holding a puddle jumping championship.  The girls were keen to take part in theory, although in practice they were a little perturbed by the crowd of people watching and only did mini jumps.  Exploring the site was much more fun!

The reed bed walk is one of our favourite spots, and its ever-changing nature never ceases to teach the girls something, with so much to see and investigate, from moss and mini beasts to kingfishers, voles and the developing woodland area.

Much more interesting than organised puddle jumping was the thin layer of ice on the reed beds which Lara and Sophia were fascinated by.  You can just make out in the photo above where the warmer water ends and the ice begins.  The water near the walkway contained broken up pieces of ice and the girls managed to reach in and lift large pieces and small sheets up, some dimpled by the flow of water underneath and some full of holes where the ice had formed around the reed stems.

It was a great opportunity to think about how ice forms and why the temperature difference near the walkway meant that the ice had already melted there.  It also made a terrific glass-like noise when you smashed it, great fun.  Lara spotted a difference between the open areas and those that are under the trees, and Sophia pointed out that where the reed was thickest no ice had formed at all, luckily for these residents:

It was a bright sunny day with a beautiful blue sky, and actually quite warm in the sun, so we enjoyed our first picnic of the year, followed by some mud painting and then off to the hides.

The girls love all the hides and getting up close with the wildlife, although it was very busy with other children on half-term holiday so most of the birds scarpered!  And there was no chance of seeing any water voles or other shy mammals this time.  The hardcore ducks and swans weren't phased though.

And don't forget to enter our competitions!