I have come to the conclusion that the Victorian ways of dealing with children such as being seen and not heard, sending them to public school as soon as they came out of nappies or putting them up (or down?) chimneys was one of the key fundamentals behind their success as Naturalists.
Imagine how little we would know these days if Darwin had had to take his kids with him every time he went on a trip. Any attempted collections would have been pulled, twisted, broken, cracked, thrown, trod on or put down the toilet. My daughter found a Woodpigeon eggshell on the lawn this morning, obviously deposited away from the nest by one of the adults, before I had chance to examine it it became a jigsaw.
We went for a morning constitutional in Scotch Gill Woods in the glorious sunshine. Lots of Butterflies but wrapped in two sets of reins with one child hanging onto a leg and the other convinced they could walk on water as they tried to catch Mallard in the river, capturing any images was nigh on impossible. We saw a couple of Orange-Tip and I managed to get one shot of a female (?). Taken one handed with one child underarm and a a second running downhill toward the river.
Blackcaps have made a prominent arrival over the weekend, many singing on Sunday morning and there were two to three singing in a 300m stretch of woodland today. A pair of Treecreeper, calling Nuthatch and a brief Great Spotted Woodpecker were as much as I could manage unable to stray from the path and take my eye of my own fledglings for more than a few seconds and even having to pack the bins away on the return leg to shoulder mount the whingeing twins.
Two Common Sandpiper yesterday morning at QE2 were a year tick and unusual for me to get in lowland habitat in Spring, normally I've had to go upland at this time of year to see them.
So this is me with pipe in hand back at the desk of my study, children asleep in the chimney recording my findings in the same tradition as those Victorians who discovered so much of what we take for granted.