Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children
The Rocky Bay Headland is a cliff jutting out into the sea just west of Rocky Bay.
There is a little beach at the foot of it at the land end, but the beach turns to a jumble of rocks and rock pools at the sea end of the headland.
This headland is loved by wildlife. There is much to see in the rock pools and seals like to sun themselves on the narrow beach when there are no holiday makers around. We love walking along there too sometimes.
But the cliffs are the place that is the most crowded. There are many, many nests built on the sides of the cliffs and this is where many seagulls call home and lay their eggs.
There are many other cliffs around the world that are just as busy, but they have an even greater selection of birds than the cliffs of Rocky Bay. For example Flamborough, facing the North Sea, has one of the largest nesting colonies in Britain with not only gulls but gannets, oystercatchers, eider ducks, cormorants and the very cute and colourful puffins.
ln other countries you will find auks, albatrosses and penguins living on cliffs and rocky shorelines.
There are gulls all over the world including the Arctic and Antarctic; many gulls are migratory (they travel long distances at certain times of the year).
Birds live in closely packed colonies when nesting sites are in short supply near a food source. Birds on sea cliffs will mostly eat fish, but gulls that come inland will eat almost anything they can find, including your chips and ice cream as you eat them on the beach if you are not careful – as Bill and Bob have found out on more than one occasion!
They seem to have extremely good eyesight and can swoop down seemingly from nowhere.
They can also cleverly pick up shellfish and drop them from a great height breaking open the shells so that they can get inside. They are taught how to do this when they are young by older birds.
Sea bird nests are made on rocky ledges or between stunted bushes.
Puffins actually make underground burrows, and these can be up to three metres down. lnside, their chicks are protected from the weather. The burrows are sometimes lined with grass, leaves and feathers to make them cosier. ln places where there are old rabbit burrows available, they might use them too.
Only one egg is laid in each burrow; the babies are called pufflings. That is a nice word, isn’t it?
Puffins only have their distinctive, colourful beak during the breeding season; that is when they are laying eggs. They have short wings that flap rapidly (about 400 times per minute) as they fly over the waves.
They can also use their wings to swim under water as well as they search for food.
They can be found on places like Lundy, the Faroe lslands and the biggest colonies are in lceland. You can find these places in your atlas.
Birds particularly like to nest on islands where there are no rats or foxes who would like to steal their eggs for food. And these animals won’t be able to get there unless humans take them there; perhaps accidentally on a boat.
Cormorants can be seen on beaches and rivers as well. They are often seen with their wings outstretched in order to dry them out. This is because unlike other seabirds their feathers are only partially oiled.
The edges of their feathers absorb water in order to reduce the bird’s buoyancy (ability to float). The cormorants need to be able to sink below the waves in order to catch fish underwater, and they can spend a very long time swimming below the surface. Have you ever seen one dive under the water and thought it would never come up again?
Some seabird colonies have thousands of birds living closely together; sometimes there are several species on one cliff. This habit means that they can protect themselves more easily. On very small islands there are no predators at all.
When you see birds nesting on ledges on tall buildings, like pigeons for example, it is probable that their ancestors liked nesting on the sides of cliffs before these tall buildings were available to them.
ln the past, people used to lower themselves down on a rope to collect from the plentiful supply of eggs to be found in these seabird colonies. They also used their feathers for bedding and quill pens and the manure (called guano) for fertilizer.
Unfortunately, this was overdone in some cases, causing the extinction of the Great Auk, the reduction of puffin numbers, and the Short-tailed Albatross is now an endangered species.
Have you ever visited a seabird colony?
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Love and kisses
Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Week
Bill: Do you know which bird is always out of breath?
Bob: No. Which bird is always out of breath?
Bill: A puffin!
Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.
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An oyster catcher
An eider duck
Cormorants are often seen drying their wings
The edges of their feathers absorb water
Gulls often fly inland
A puffin in Iceland
Pigeons are often to be found in cities
Pigeons like nesting on the sides of buildings
This one is on Tower Bridge
A gull on the water
This is what a Great Auk used to look like
Now you will only find them in museums
THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESK
Bill and Bob and Emily have been doing some cooking with Auntie Alice this week.
Her little, country kitchen is often full of hungry children!
They have been making some puff pastry galettes. They are like flat, round flans. You can make sweet or savoury ones but Auntie Alice was making them for lunch so they were savoury.
She thought you might like her recipe.
You will need:
A sheet of puff pastry (shop-bought)
1 large or 2 small onions cut into small dice
2 red peppers (or a large aubergine/egg plant) cut into small dice
A 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
3 teaspoons of tomato puree
A pinch of salt
A pinch of black pepper
A little oil
100g of grated cheese
(1 clove of garlic if you like it)
- Cut your pastry into rounds (you can put them into baking dishes or onto a baking sheet) – they can be any size you like and if you make them up as squares instead it will be quicker with no wastage of pastry
- Dice the onion and fry in a little oil in a pan
- Add the red peppers (or aubergine/egg plant) and fry until golden brown
- Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, salt, pepper and garlic and cook gently until the mixture is very thick, stirring occasionally – leave it to cool
Spoon your mixture into the centre of your rounds of pastry and cover with grated cheese
Bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes
Your galettes can be served with baked potatoes and salad or green beans or any other kind of vegetable you like.
*Always ask permission to use a knife and cooker in the kitchen – and don’t forget to wash your hands before you start cooking.
If onions make you cry:
- Keep the onions in the fridge and cut them when they are cold, not at room temperature.
- Peel the skin down to the roots and hold onto it like a handle. Most of the juice that makes you cry is in the base of the onion so cut that last.
- Don’t lean over the pan when they are first heating up because the vapours will hit you in the face.
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lf you are given part of the garden to be your own, a good choice might be the corner of a rockery. lt is a good place to play with toys because a rockery can look like a miniature landscape.
Low growing rockery plants creep along the rocks
Rockeries usually do best in full sun so don’t forget to put sun cream on the back of your neck and shoulders before you start working or playing in the rockery.
lt shouldn’t be built too high. You don’t want to start climbing up a rock face and slip!
Rockeries don’t do well under trees and if you have a small garden you might be able to get an adult to help you build one in a large container. Then it will be easy for you to walk around it.
You can even add little houses or windmills.
You will have to keep an eye on weeds so that they don’t take over, but there are many lovely plants that you can have in your garden. A lot of them are very low growing and produce really tiny flowers like saxifrages.
You can choose from plants that have flowers on them like aubretia or alyssum.
Succulents and sedums are other plants that will fit in well. Succulents can be quite brittle, but if a bit breaks off, it will root easily when pushed back in the soil.
Thrift is a good plant to use because it is really pretty but really tough. Mosses will also help to create a miniature landscape, but they don’t like sun-baked positions so put them in any shady parts you might have between rocks.
Dwarf conifers will give some height and interest to your garden.
You will also need some space without plants to play with your toys.
ln the autumn, leaves should be removed from rockery gardens because if they rot on the plants they will damage them.
You can put shingle between the plants so that weeds find it difficult to grow there.
Very old spoons and forks can be used as garden tools in narrow crevices.
Rockeries can look like miniature landscapes
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lt’s the Weekend!
HOW TO MAKE A SNOWY-ROOF HOUSE
These houses are really cute.
Cut out pieces of felt in any colour you like. The door is a piece of white felt 2cm by 1cm, the windows are pieces of white felt 1cm square.
- Sew the door and windows to the front and back walls using sewing thread or one strand of embroidery thread by sewing on frame details – and a letter box and key hole on the door.
- Using tiny over-sew stitches sew the base of all the walls to the base of the house with wrong sides together.
- Sew up all 4 corners of the house.
- Cut 2 pieces of canvas 15 holes by 11 holes.
- Cover the pieces with textured yarn to create a snowy appearance by sewing into every hole (white dk yarn will also do).
- Sew the two pieces together along the ridge of the roof and continue to sew around the edge – this will make a sturdy roof.
- Stuff the house keeping its shape.
- Thread the end of the narrow ribbon into a yarn needle and pull one end through the middle of the base of the house (just off-centre) then do the same with the other end of the ribbon (just off-centre too) so that the two ends of ribbon do not enter the house through the same hole. Then pull the ribbon through the stuffing.
- Thread the ends ribbon through the top of the house (not in exactly the same place) and tie a knot on top of the roof.
- Tie a knot and bow at the top of the ribbon so that the house can be hung up.
- If you can sew the roof to the top of the walls with catch stitch in the four corners, the tops of the front and back walls and one stitch in the centre of the side walls, the house will be more solid and secure. Use white thread so that it will not notice as you pull it through the roof.
- If there are any fibres of the yarn around the rim of the roof, twist them in your fingers and they will look like icicles.
Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.
It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.
Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.
©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015
A Chinese rock garden made about 1780 out of wood, ivory and mother of pearl
For an Embroidery Stitches Chart
Check out Blog Post 3