A simple life is a happy one, learning to enjoy, explore and discover whatever your age :)

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Chirpy Chirps 6 – fa’s singin fit?

Chirp 6

Each week I’m posting a Chirpy Chirp Challenge, listening to different bird calls.

Today we’re listening to the skylark.

Last week we listened to the song thrush. How did you get on recognising its calls? I’d be interested to hear from you!

All you’ll need to join in is a piece of paper and a pencil.

The skylark

Clothes and behaviour

The male (Mr) and female (Mrs) look the same; they have a crest which they can raise in alarm or warning.

Skylarks’ streaked appearance enables them to be camouflaged in longer grass – on our local golfcourse you can see a number of them.

They mainly eat seeds, but also insects.

If disturbed they might flit along just above the ground and land a bit further away, or they might rise straight up in the air, belting out their song as they hover overhead, a bit like a kite, trying to ward you off their territory, like this:

They will continue to sing as they descend, often plummeting to earth like a stone.


Skylarks make a round nest on the ground, using the materials around them – grass and sometimes hair. The female incubates the eggs. Once the chicks have matured they have to learn to be quick fliers as they are easy prey for hungry predators.



Skylarks are called leverocks in scots and their song can be heard on open grassland from early spring. It does not matter if it’s blawin a hooley, skylarks will still rise up into the air, jubilantly sing-shouting their repetitive song over and over.

If you can access your local golfcourse or nearby open grassland, listen out for this:


Write ‘Skylark’ at the top of your paper and below it write ‘song’.

Challenge – what words would you use to describe the song?

Now see if you can write or draw the pattern of how the call sounds to you. There’s a few questions below to help you.

Can you hear any repeats of the song? If you think of each bit as a ‘sentence’, answer the following:

Do some notes stay on the same level like this – – – – – – -?Β 

When do they go up and when down? Do you hear it as a wave – moving up to a point and then back down?Β  Or is there another way you can describe it?

If you try and clap the rhythm, what do you get?

There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s just to help you remember the sounds.

Remember, the more you listen, the easier it becomes!

Here’s more info about the skylark:

See you next week πŸ™‚











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Oot ma door 5 – the silver birch tree


Hi Folks πŸ™‚

Today’s tree is the siller birk, or silver birch tree.

Where I was brought up, there was a ‘queen’ birch tree in my garden, with fronds like hair, that glowed in the light. She grew taller than all the other trees and I loved looking at her through all the seasons.

Time for a talehow the birch tree came:



Silver birch – how we can use it

Birch bark

The bark naturally peels off the trunk and makes great kindling:

If you want kindling, take only a little – every tree needs its bark like you need skin

If you look round a birch woodland, some trees will have fallen and the heartwood rotted away, yet the startling white bark remains:IMG_4814Β The bark is resilient and can be made into bowls, baskets and other useful implements

Birch wood

This tree has beautiful light, straight grain and can be used for making furniture. In the past the hardwood was used for making bobbins, reels and spools for the cotton industry. Check out this site for more info:

Birch sap

The sap can be tapped from the tree in early March, when winter is waning. It is a refreshing, wholesome water that can be drunk straight from the tree. You can take a little from one tree – but then move on to another. Watch here to see how it can be done simply, without long-lasting damage to the tree:



The silver birch tree

The tree

The younger tree’s trunk shines white, the older tree’s marked by dark indented areas

The bark

Silver birch bark has flat white areasΒ  broken by darker areas. As the bark ages, it gradually thickens and darkens from the base upwards:

IMG_9822 Silver birch bark

Time for another tale – an Ojibwe legend, ‘How the silver birch got its burns’:



Challenge – can you make up your own tale about the birch tree?

The buds, flowers, leaves and fruit

The small, neat buds of the silver birch lie alternately up the twigs and branches of the tree. In spring the male catkins develop on many of the branches:


As the spring moves into summer, the neat heart-shaped leaves have appeared, the hanging male catkins have released their pollen and the upright female catkins have been pollinated:


In autumn the female catkins have many seeds on each ‘shelf’, which are released into the wind as the catkin dries or falls to the ground:IMG_5500 Autumn catkins

birch seed 2 A birch seed

In autumn, birch trees glow:IMG_4704IMG_4764

With silver-white bark and heart-shaped leaves

On heather moors, or windswept braes

In forest of pine or rowan glades

You rise, slim, elegant, queen of the trees

Thanks for joining me, see you next time πŸ™‚






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Chirpy Challenge 14

The May May 18

Mornin folks, here’s another bird for you! D’you know it’s name?

Clothes and shape

Last week’s Chirpy Challenge was one ‘sky dancer’, the swift – and here’s another beautifully aerodynamic bird πŸ™‚

Notice the red above and below its bill. This bird has deep blue on its wings and a very long forked tail.

Challenge – can you draw it?

Find out what it is on the RSPB bird identifier under ‘S’:


Glenbuchat July 14

This is a swallow πŸ™‚

Time for a Tale – this is called Thumbelina and the Swallow, adapted from the Hans Anderson story:

Continue reading

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Chirpy Chirps 4 – fa’s singin fit?


Morning abody πŸ™‚

Chirp 4

Each week I’m posting a Chirpy Chirp Challenge, listening to different birdsong.

Today we’re listening to the blackbird song.

Last week we listened to the robin and wren. How did you get on recognising their calls? I’d be interested to hear from you!

All you’ll need to join in is a piece of paper and a pencil. Continue reading

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Oot ma door 3 – the horse chestnut tree


Morning πŸ™‚

Today’s tree is the horse chestnut.

In the photo above is a horse chestnut in May, the time when it’s covered in bonny candle-like white flowers and the young leaves have just clothed the tree πŸ™‚

Horse chestnut wood has a smooth, soft texture, that’s pale and creamy in colour and great for carving – listen to a story about it:

Time for a Tale how a king learns the importance of having a trade Continue reading