Today we were booked onto a pond dipping session at Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve, 5 minutes drive from us. Pond dipping is one our little lady’s favourite activities, and she could lose herself in it for hours marvelling over all the microscopic mini beasts. She’s also extremely lucky with her finds always being interesting, and I swear if she was in Scotland she’d get the Loch Ness Monster! The mini men enjoy it, but tend to only last half an hour, and then if their lucky older sister has captured an unexpected fish (like today), they then spend the last half hour making me try to catch one for them. They did catch quite a few interesting specimens, but obviously none as cool as a fish.
Between the three of them they caught a fish, mosquito larvae, water mites, water fleas, water lice, leech, bloodworm, whirligig beetles (my favourite name), greater water boatman, lesser water boatman, and mayfly nymph. A very successful haul. They are taught how to use their nets gently and effectively, how to place them in the specimen tray with just enough amount of water, how to use their mini beast transporters (plastic spoons!) effectively to move a mini beast into a magnifying pot for better inspection, and then how to replace all the mini beasts back into the pond respectfully and kindly.
All three had a fantastic time, but it would have been a lot better if we hadn’t bought our own mini beast home with us, in the form of a tick in mini man no.2’s hair. A minor surgical procedure followed, and there were three very upset children (mini man no.2 obviously as it was quite uncomfortable. Mini man no.1 got very upset as in his words, “the ladies (i.e. preschool staff) tell us not to do that” – which I think translated to…”you shouldn’t be hurting my twin”. Then our little lady got upset, as everyone else was upset and she’s very squeamish. Once the tick was removed, Scandinavian marshmallow teddies coated in chocolate (Bamsemums) were handed round, and they seemed to sort everyone out 🙂