18 articles Tag nature

Next Level Sailing Recent Whale Sightings Off the Coast of San Diego

Whale watchingWhale watching can be a lot of fun. Whether you are interested as a hobby or as a day outing, San Diego is one of the best places in the country to catch a glimpse of these majestic animals. Sometimes they come in close to the shore and sometimes they are much further out. Recently, there have been some noteworthy harbor whale watching San Diego sightings.

Types of Whales Commonly Sighted Near San Diego

Part of the reason for the popularity of whale watching in San Diego is that gray whales often migrate near the city. They pass down to the warmer waters in the south for the winter. They particularly visit the lagoons of Baja California. During this time, they give birth to their calves who start to grow up in those warm waters.

When the spring rolls around, the gray whales them migrate back north toward Alaska. They can frequently be spotted during their main migratory seasons. This year was no exception and there were numerous sightings of small pods of these whales including juveniles making their first trip north.

Blue whales are another common type in the area. They are the largest creatures on earth and very rare (tragically, they were hunted to near extinction). They can be found further out feeding on small fish during the summer months. Some San Diego boat charters have already caught glimpses of these breathtaking giants this summer.

Rare Beluga Whale Sighting

The most headline-worthy sighting so far has been a beluga whale swimming in the waters off San Diego during June 2020. It was about seven miles from shore.

This sighting was strange because beluga whales live in the arctic waters. They sometimes come south during the summer months. However, San Diego is an unusually long trip for one of these whales.

The beluga whale sighting was a real treat for enthusiasts and researchers in the area. One likened it to seeing a polar bear while being out for a walk.

How To Go Whale Watching

There are many great ways to go whale watching in the San Diego area. The gray whales are often visible from the shore using binoculars, especially during the spring migration.

Whale watching in San Diego

However, the best way to get a view of the whales is usually to take a boat. There are many whale watching San Diego tours that will give you a beautiful view. Sometimes the best choice is sailing because it disturbs the whales less.

There are options for sailing all the way out into the wide ocean water or just to stay within the harbor area. Both can provide views of the whales as they come in close to the land.

Discover the Wonders of San Diego’s Coastal Waters

Whale watching in San Diego can be a truly memorable experience. It is best when you have the right boat charter to help you get great views of the whales further out. Whether you want to take a short trip, spend a full day on the water or dedicate your life to the whales, there are options for you in San Diego.

Win a Sudocrem ‘Get Out and Grow’ Bag Worth £40

Husband and I have always been passionate about getting the kids outdoor and spend a lot of time educating them about nature. It’s something we both find really interesting and that love of all things nature-related really seems to have permeated down to the kids, too. We’ve lived out in the countryside for almost 4 years now and we absolutely love it – we all agree that our very favourite thing about living out here is the huge variety of wildlife that we get to see every day.

That’s why, when I read the results of a survey conducted by Sudocrem, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. Here’s what they found:

“Whilst 87% of British households do have a garden, it’s clear growing isn’t something that families do together. Over half of British children between 4 and 8 are unable to name 5 vegetables or fruits grown in this country, with 95% unable to name 3 herbs. Many of those couldn’t identify basic gardening tools, with only 8% able to identify a trowel, 80% never having seen a rake before and, worrying, 79% believing worms are bad for plants. 

73% of those asked said they had never grown a sunflower, while only 8% had ever picked an apple, which perhaps explains why they’re unable to name even one. Less than 10% had dug up a vegetable and only 6% had ever eaten a fresh pea from the pod. Based on this evidence, it is perhaps unsurprising that only 20% have ever eaten a vegetable they’ve grown themselves.”

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Sudocrem to give away TWO Get Out and Grow goody bags, containing a whole load of stuff that will help kids to get outside and learn all about planting their own produce.

Goody bags contents for 2-5 yr olds include:
– Get Out and Grow branded drawstring bag
– Get Out and Grow branded t-shirt for 3-4 yr olds
– My Little Sudocrem
– Child’s gardening gloves
– Small watering can
– Mini gorilla gardening tub
– Flower seed packet
– Lavender seed packet
– A few coloured sticks to use as plant markers

The packs contain over £40 worth of goodies and winning one couldn’t be simpler. Just leave me a comment below telling me what your favourite variety of apple is! The giveaway will stay open until 26th April 2019, so you’ve got plenty of time to enter. 

5 Benefits to Having an Aquarium at Home for your Children

aquariumPhoto by David Clode on Unsplash

Have you considered using an aquarium as an educational tool? There are many ways that having an aquarium at home will positively stimulate the imagination and affection of your kids! While many parents look into getting an aquarium simply because it’s fun, there are many underlying reasons that reinforce why this is such a good idea.

If you’re wondering exactly what these benefits may be, read through the following article for some guidance and inspiration. You will also find useful links here comprising technical aspects of having an aquarium.

Aquariums Encourage learning

There’s something so new and exciting about having a live fish tank indoors that always fascinates children. As such, an aquarium is a great opportunity to pique the curiosity of your kids, which in term will help fuel their desire to learn more about the world. They’ll start by pondering simple questions such as how do fish breathe or whether they drink water, and from there their natural curiosity should entice them to learn more about fish species and underwater environments.

Stimulates imagination and creativity

Since an aquarium is a self-contained little world inhabited by peculiar creatures and plants, watching this unusual setting will stimulate your children to look beyond reality and imagine other possibilities. This is especially true if you allow them to play an active role in decorating the fish tank and helping with research – like finding the 3 best aquarium timers. It’s also a fun idea going on some field trips for inspiration – such as visiting a large public aquarium before getting your own.

Increases senses of responsibility

Even though they’re a great tool to stimulate imagination and creativity in children, aquariums are also a great way to encourage your children to keep their feet firmly planted in reality. After all, those are living creatures swimming around in the fish tank, and they have to be properly fed and taken care of. By recruiting the assistance of the young ones, you will manage to get them involved in the project while subtly exercising their sense of responsibility.

Helps with negative emotions

There’s something incredibly soothing about an aquarium that seems to have a positive effect on anxiety levels while promoting healthy bonding. Children who help manage a domestic aquarium will tend to connect with fish and regard them as friends. This on-going experience will provide a valuable outlet to help dismiss negative emotions such as frustration and sadness.

Creates moments of magic

For a growing child, a aquarium can be truly a magical and wonderful thing, since it’s so unlike everything else around them during any given day. Having the opportunity to interact with fish and observing them enjoying their underwater setting can be a magical and character-building experience. It will provide your kids with many happy memories as well as a window that allows them to peek into the underwater world to watch some of its fantastic creatures.

Closer to Nature – Lens Flare

This week has been a bit of a washout, despite big plans and lots of Closer to Nature related opportunities. Sausage is on half-term at the moment, like most of the kids in the UK, and we had plans of mini-golf, beach combing, nature walks and lots more besides, but the weather has meant that we’ve had to be a bit more creative about what we’ve done instead, so it’s been a week of fashion shows, cake baking, painting and film afternoons.

We have had one or two days of sunshine in the last month and I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with lens-flare, so for this week’s Closer to Nature, I thought I’d show you some sunshine snaps to warm you up and remind you that we so have nice weather sometimes! I’m not sure of the exact physics of lens flare, but I know that if I stand under something, like a tree, and snap directly at the sun, I get pretty good results and these were just taken with the camera on my Nexus 4.

I also love this close-up I took of our neighbour’s wysteria plant. I was being dragged along by an impatient Chuck on our way out for a walk, so it’s not the most amazing shot, but I love it anyway!

And finally, Sausage and I went on a walk aroundthe grounds of a local church on Sunday, just to get some fresh air, and I took one of my ‘weird photos that only I like or understand’ of some yellow moss that was growing on a curbstone. I think I liked it because of the pattern and the vividness of the yellow.

Do you have any photos of anything nature-related on your blog this week? Link up below and grab the badge code from the sidebar.

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Closer to Nature – Meet the Robins

Something very exciting has been happening this week…we’ve just found out we’ve got babies! Baby robins, that is! Let me set the scene…

A few weeks ago, I was on the phone (probably to my Mum) and I was gazing out of our patio doors when I noticed a robin, standing INSIDE my garden shed.

“No”, I thought, “I must be hallucinating…” (like that was a FAR more reasonable explanation)

I put the thought out of my head until last week, Husband proclaimed “A robin just flew into our shed!”

“Aha!”, I thought, glad not to have been in the early stages of a psychotic break.

So, we’ve been watching two robins flying in and out of the shed for a couple of weeks, watching them frantically searching for food, knowing that there must be babies in there and on Monday, Husband managed to sneakily get this snap through the window:

Isn’t he a beauty? We’ve learned that robins don’t get their red breast until they reach maturity, although you can see the beginnings of orangey patched on this little dudes’ chest. He’s not alone either, we’re pretty sure there are two babies in there as we’ve seen them hopping around together. Mr. and Mrs. Robin work tirelessly to feed their young, we’ve sat and watched them for whole afternoons, zooming in and out, hopping through the hole above the shed door with worms and berries in their beaks.

On Monday, Husband and I decided that we’d help our lodgers along in their daily toil to feed their young and we bought a variety of bird food, which we’ve secreted in various locations around the garden. Suet pellets, mealworms, soaked raisins and robin museli have gone down a treat! We didn’t want to put a bird table up, as we’ve heard that they attract cats as we had to come up with some other, impromptu ways of dispensing the food. Husband came up with the great idea of getting a carton from a dozen eggs and cutting it into sections, which we then taped on windowsills and outside the shed, and we even hid one in our trough of strawberries!

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed observing the robins and getting a little bit closer to nature (did you see what I did there?!) and we’ll be sad when our babies fly the nest, something that we think isn’t far off, given the size of them. We’d love to see your nature photos too, so please get involved by linking up any recent nature-related posts and you can even stick one of our badges on there too, if you like. (code in sidebar)

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Learning is Fun: Animal Sizes

Since Sausage was old enough to hold her own head up, Husband has sat her on his lap at his desk and showed her pictures of animals on the computer. She’s always been fascinated by nature and as she grew we moved her learning on from visual-only stimulation to actually learning facts about animals and the natural world. The internet is an amazing resource and we love nothing more than when Sausage asks us about something and we’re able to sit and learn together using websites we love, such as Wikipedia and the National Geographic site.

One thing that can be quite hard to explain is the actual sizes of different animals. Most kids don’t have a concept of how big things are, so Husband and I started actually measuring things out with Sausage. It’s a fantastic learning opportunity as not only are you quantifying the knowledge you’re passing on about animals, you’re getting them involved with using numbers, tools such as tape measures and best of all, it fires the imagination like nobodies business!

Now that the weather is nicer, we’ve taken the game outdoors and have started marking things out in chalk, so whenever Sausage wants to know how tall or long something is, we mark it out on the patio. However, our patio is only so big, so we’re planning to take our tape measures to the park to measure out some of the larger creatures, like species of dinosaurs and whales!

What you’ll need.

All you need to do this at home is a patio, a tape measure, some chalk and the internet. Encourage your kids to think of different animals to look up, get them involved in measuring them out and drawing the lines. We’ve had hours of fun doing this and it’s free, educational and really fun if you get your imagination involved.

Starting left to right, the smallest line is Sausage’s height, for context. The next line is the wingspan of a golden eagle (Sausage was blown away that a bird could have wings wider than her height, which led to a conversation about other birds that are even bigger). The third line, in blue, is the average length of a bottle-nose dolphin and the longest line is the average length of a large species of crocodile!

This is a great activity for kids and you don’t even necessarily need good weather to play it (though it’s so nice to get some fresh air finally). We often measure the heights of things and I had fun standing on the arm of the sofa with Husband stopping me from falling off, to show Sausage how tall a particular species of pre-historic ape was! You can even get a stepladder involved to show the really tall things, just mind your head on the ceiling!

Another method of quantifying things for them is to weigh all of the members of the family and write them on a piece of paper (I recommend doing it in kilos as most animals weights are in kilos and it’ll save you having to do all of the conversions!). Using the “think of an animal…” starting point, get them to think of a creature, look up their weight and get the kids to work out how many times bigger than them the animal is, or how many times bigger than Mummy or Daddy, or Mummy plus Daddy, etc. It’ll get them exercising their maths skills and get the imaginations going even wilder!

Sunday

Closer to Nature – Moon Corner

Yesterday, I had to go and pay a cheque into the bank and as it’s only a ten minute walk and it was a nice day, I took a wander during my lunch hour. On my way, I spotted this little mosaic which was pretty run down and overgrown, but striking nonetheless. I loved the way that it looked as though the earth was reclaiming it again and there was something a bit spiritual about it, especially as I noticed it was called ‘Moon Corner’.

I couldn’t believe I’d never noticed it before and was excited to tell Husband about it when I got home. I barely got the word ‘mosaic’ out before he said “Yeah, that’s Moon Corner, it’s been there for years”. I did a quick Google search and didn’t come up with much info about it, other than one piece which said it had been made in collaboration with the Zimbabwean community, but I don’t know how true that is.

So, for my first ‘Closer to Nature’ in AGES, I give you Moon Corner, which may not be a natural occurrence but it certainly looks like nature is taking over once more.

 

 

So. I’ve shown you mine. Now it’s your turn to show me yours!

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Closer to Nature

This weeks Closer to Nature comes courtesy of a very industrious spider, a beautiful morning dew and the macro setting on my camera, which is my favourite setting to play with. I took a few photos which worked with varying degrees of success but I still couldn’t choose my overall best so I thought I’d show you them all:

If you have any wonderful photos of anything nature related, link up below. There’s badge code that you can grab in the sidebar too.

 

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Closer to Nature

Now that Sausage is at school, I’m getting back into the swing of regularly blogging, which includes putting the Closer to Nature linky on here in a timely fashion!

My photo this week was taken in my Mum’s garden on Sunday afternoon, and is actually capturing a scientific phenomena as we witnessed it! We called it a ‘rainbow cloud’, but it’s real name is a ‘circumhorizontal arc‘, and Wikipedia describes it as “A circumhorizontal arc is an optical phenomenon – an ice-halo formed by plate-shaped ice crystals in high level cirrus clouds.” The bizarre thing is, the sun isn’t supposed to be high enough in the sky for it to happen in the UK in late August, but it certainly seems to be one when compared with the pictures shown on their page.

My Mum’s dog Ralph had to be put to sleep recently, so she’s taking it as a gift from him from Rainbow Bridge.

So, now it’s your turn. If you have any photos from the last fortnight containing anything from nature, post it and link up below, we love looking at everyone else photos and they all get pinned to our ‘Closer to Nature’ Pinterest board.

Closer to Nature – Photo Linky

I’ve been totally slack with getting a Closer to Nature post up the past couple of weeks, so apologies to anyone who’s been patiently waiting to link up any nature photos! Here’s my photo for this week:

I took a photo of this moth, sitting on our living room wall, a couple of weeks ago and fiddled about with contrast and lighting in Picasa and I think it came out rather well! We’ve had something of a moth infestation this summer, but I read in the news that that’s happening because of their woodland habitats being levelled, so I didn’t begrudge them a place to sleep. I do have a couple of items of clothing with holes gnawed in them though, which takes the mickey a bit!

So, now it’s your turn, I want to see your nature snaps and you can use the widget below to link up. The rules and details are here if you need them.

 

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