Manx Shearwater Skulls

These are some of the Manx Shearwater skulls I found on Skomer Island in Wales. When I got home I had to clean them up by pulling off the feathers that were still left on and then putting them in hot water so I could clean up the skull.

If you look at the photos one of the skulls has thinner sections in it, I think this one is a juvenile bird and the skull hasn’t finished growing.

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Skomer August 2013

When me and my family went to Wales we went to Skomer Island by boat, it was really exciting, it took 20 minutes to get there. While we were waiting we saw loads of Moon Jelly Fish.

We stayed on Skomer for a whole day and explored the island, we saw Puffins, Fulmars, Manx Shearwaters, Chough, Peregrine Falcon, Gulls, Grey Seals, rabbits, butterflies, lots of dead birds and Sexton beetles, these are beetles that eat up the dead bodies of animals and birds, they have a lovely red and black pattern on them and they are about 2.5cm long.

The dead birds were Manx Shearwaters that the Great Black Back gulls had killed and eaten, but had left their wings and heads. I bought some of the dead birds home, they didn’t have any flesh on them, just dried skin and feathers.

I had a fantastic time on Skomer, it was really fun. I loved seeing all the different birds, I couldn’t believe how many different ones I saw in one day.

Sheep Skull

I got my sheep skull when we went on a walk. A friend had found a decomposed sheep while she was walking her dog and told us where we could find it. So the next day we went out to look for it; dad removed the skull, there wasn’t any skin or flesh left on it. When we got it home I cleaned it up a little with some bleach to kill any bugs and glued the teeth in the right place with super glue. Then dad cut a short piece of wood to hold the jaw in place. It is now on the shelf in my room, with the rest of my skulls.

Badger Skull

I found the badger skull like this, it was in our stream down the garden, near the tunnel where the stream goes under the road. It looked like it had been there for a long time because it had mud were it’s brain should be, this is called the cranium.
It has a hole in its cranium and it’s cheek bone (zygomatic arch) and there is a hole nearer the orbit. I am not sure but it might have been hit by a car and fell in the stream from the road.
I know it’s an adult because the plates in it’s skull are fused together and the sagittal crest on top of the skull is quite large. If you have a look at my baby badger bones at the skull, you can see it hasn’t got a sagittal crest; and you can still see the lines in the skull where it hasn’t fused together because it was only a baby badger.

Cormorant

We went to Thornes beach to look for fossils, I found some fossilized snail shells, turtle shell and crocodile skin.
When we were down the beach I found a dead Cormorant, it was already decomposing, so I took the head and put it in a bag. I have found quite a lot of dead sea birds this year, I don’t know why. When I got home I put it in the garden to finish decomposing, I put a crate over the dead animal so the flies can get in but nothing else can.
The photos show the skull after the flies have finished cleaning it up and I have washed it, I am going to think about whether to clean it up any more.

From the back of the skull to the end of the beak is 15cm.
Its beak is 78mm long.

Cormorants and Shags are like each other to look at, but Cormorants have white under their beak, Shags don’t, they have a black short crest on their head.
Cormorants catch fish in long underwater dives from the surface. It can feed in quiet estuaries and in lakes or rivers.

Nesting: They have a bulky nest made of sticks in trees and on cliff ledges, 3-4 eggs, 1 brood in April-May.
Length: 80-100cm
Wingspan: 1.3-1.6m
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Weight 2-2.5kg

Blackgang’s dinosaur release

On the 1st August I got invited to Blackgang Chines release of the Dinosaur. They are two big baby T-rex’s, like the ones in the show Walking with Dinosaurs, one is a girl they have called Sheila and the other one is a boy called Shadow. The dinosaurs are fantastic and look real, I really enjoyed seeing them and having my picture taken with them. The photos they took of me with the dinosaurs are to use for advertising, one of them is on Blackgang Chines face book page.

After that I was invited into the park so I could spend the day having fun with my family. There was loads and loads of things to do, but I loved looking at and sitting on the Dinosaurs in the park and the new Dodo land.
Blackgang Chine has been open for 170 years and is Britain’s oldest theme park, the first attraction was the skeleton of a whale that had got washed up on the local beach. I wanted to go and see the whale as I collect bones and skulls and I would probably never be able to get a whale skeleton, but I would love to have one. It was really big and awesome, I have put some pictures on my blog to show you how big it was. The tail had been preserved and it was interesting to read that Alexander Dabell who started Blackgang Chine, found the washed up whale and sold of all the blubber first then bleached the bones and put them on display.

Baby Badger Bones

These are my baby badger bones. I had gone out on a walk with my family and found a dead baby badger on the path not far from a badger set, it had been dead for a while as it was smelly. We emptied out are bag and got some dock leaves to put in the bottom and then put the baby badger in.

When I got home I put the badger on the ground and put a crate over it and left the flies to do the job.
After it had decomposed I dug up all the bones and cleaned them in hot soapy water. Then I bought some hydrogen peroxide bleach from the chemist and put the bones into it. This bleaches the bones so they go whiter.

It is really interesting looking at the bones of my badger, some of the bones haven’t fused together, this is because it’s only a baby badger and is still growing.
I didn’t get all the bones this time, some of them got lost in the soil, so another time I am going to put a metal mesh underneath the animal, then put a crate over the top.