I can’t get to you and you can’t get to me at the moment and as you’ve got the children at home to educate and keep happy, I’m creating a series of nature poetry videos to edu-tain you. (Scroll down to start watching them straightaway!) They’re bitesize videos about the minibeasts and birds you might be encountering at this time in your garden, on your one (or now more than one!) walk a day or just by looking and/or listening out of your windows.
In these videos I’m bringing to life ‘learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme’ nature poems from my award-winning books Buzzing! Discover the poetry in garden minibeasts, and Flying High! Discover the poetry in British birds.
I hope the videos will inspire you and your children to learn about and enjoy the minibeasts and birds wherever you happen to find yourselves confined to at present. (As it happens, Buzzing! came into being as a result of my being confined to base for a period of months, and being amazed at how buzzing with invertebrate life my small garden was – when I took the time to look.)
I hope too that these videos might encourage you all to perform – and even write – poems about the creatures you see and hear.
Send me videos and audio of you and/or your kids performing these poems, and pictures your kids draw and poems they write, by email to theBigBuzz@gmail.com, or share on Twitter (@theBigBuzzNews) or facebook.
I’ll be adding further videos to this page. Keep coming back to view more!
19. It’s National Insect Week, so today’s ‘learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme’ video is about an insect you may have in your garden, but never see …
18. June and July are peak times for seeing ladybird larvae, which is what today’s ‘learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme’ video is all about. How many different larvae can you find where you are? Let the UK Ladybird Survey know what you find! (And the ladybird poem I mention in this video is video number 5 below.)
(Video uploaded on 9 June 2020)
17. Have you seen any fledglings where you are? Today’s ‘learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme’ poem is about a fledgling that’s pestering its parents for food. I need you to join in the refrain. How loud can you shout ‘Feed me! Feed me!’?
(Video created on 27 May 2020)
16. Watching minibeasts can give you great ideas for new inventions! Today’s poem is about wasps, and the extremely good idea they gave us!
(Video created on 23 May 2020)
15. Have you seen any caterpillars where you are? How many different ones? Today’s poem is about a Ruby Tiger Moth caterpillar – who likes chomping! Find out more about UK caterpillars in this Butterfly Conservation guide.
(Video created on 18 May 2020)
14. Some of the creatures that visit our gardens have better luck than others when it comes to names. Today’s poem is about the unfortunately named Dung Fly. Have you come across any minibeasts with interesting names where you are?
(Video created on 10 May 2020)
13. Have you seen any little volcanoes of soil where you are? Today’s poem is about the solitary bees that make those volcanoes. Look out for different species of solitary bee where you are. There may even be some building their nests in the wall of your house!
(Video created on 2 May 2020)
12. Have you seen any Swifts yet where you are? The first ones where I am in York were spotted on 29 April. Today’s poem is about a Swift. It’s a short poem, so easy for you to learn and perform yourselves!
(Video created on 30 April 2020)
11. Have you got any birds nesting where you are? Today’s poem is about a bird sitting on her nest, incubating her eggs. I need you to join in the chorus!
(Video created on 24 April 2020)
10. Have you spied a Magpie where you are? As well as a Magpie, there’s a special treat for you in this video!
(Video created on 19 April 2020)
9. When the sun comes out, the hoverflies come out too! Here’s a poem about a Marmalade Hoverfly. How many different species of hoverfly can you find where you are?
(Video created on 14 April 2020)
8. What birds can you hear singing where you are? Here’s one of my favourites. We hear it every day in our garden at the moment. Listen to the songs of all the birds that appear in my Flying High! book here.
(Video created on 12 April 2020)
7. It’s spring, and many male birds are looking particularly colourful as they’re in their breeding plumage. Here’s a poem about a male Greenfinch in its breeding plumage. What birds are you seeing in their breeding plumage where you are? You can record your bird sightings as part of the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch project (which is currently free to join!)
(Video created on 10 April 2020)
6. Here’s a poem all about the Tree bumblebee. Have you seen one where you are yet? I saw my first Tree bumblebee of the year on 8 April. Find out where to record your Tree bumblebee sightings at my BugWatch page. And keep an eye out for Tree bumblebees nesting in any nest boxes you’ve put up for the birds. Find out more here.
(Video created on 9 April 2020)
5. How many ladybirds have you seen so far this year? This video is about a 14-spot Ladybird. It’s an avid aphid eater! Find out more about ladybirds at my BugWatch page.
(Video created on 8 April 2020)
4. This video is about a Queen bumblebee coming out of hibernation and looking for somewhere to make its nest. Have you seen any big furry Queen bumblebees out and about looking for a nesting site where you are?
(Video created on 2 April 2020)
3. This video is about a Blackbird building its nest in my garden. Are any birds building nests where you are? What materials are they building them with?
(Video created on 30 March 2020)
2. This video is about the Chiffchaff. I heard my first one two days ago (on 25 March 2020). Have you heard one where you are yet? You can hear them from now until June-ish.
(Video created on 27 March 2020)
1. My first video in this series is about the Bee-fly. I saw my first one in my garden here in York today (27 March 2020). Have you seen one yet? You can see them from now until June-ish.
(Video created on 27 March 2020)