Category Archives: British mammals

Town bound!

It was early October and the morning of my car’s MOT, I knew I was in for a long day. With the car delivered to the garage my day began, 8:30am and I was trapped in Nuneaton.

As none of the shops were open yet, there were only a few shop keepers and early risers milling around. The sharp ‘chis-ic’ call of pied wagtails cut through the quiet streets. High up in the air or on roof tops, these black and white beauties were hard to spot. It was fair to say from the amount of calls that there was quite a few about.

I filled the morning with a wander around the charity shops. I listen out for more pied wagtails and caught a glimpse of a couple of goldfinch. After several extraordinary long hours, I decided lunch was in order.

This decision took me past the over grown, over littered murky waters of a river. In amongst the grime. Two crisp white elegant mute swans dappled in the weeds. There couldn’t be more of a contrast between the beauty of nature and the pollution of man.

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The garage called, as I suspected the car needed work. I was to remain in town for a few more hours. Over a pot of tea and a plate of chips I pondered what to do with my afternoon, I was still wondering that as I re-entered the High Street. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a buzzard, I wasn’t expecting that! As I gazed upward and the buzzard glided out of sight, something else caught my attention. A bees nest in a chimney! That sealed the deal. I was going on an urban safari!

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I headed for the park, a couple of disinterested mallards paddled by in the small river. A group of pigeons had gathered near the water, they weren’t alone! There was a rat amongst the pigeons! The more I looked the more I saw. One brave soul found some dropped bread on the bank just below my feet. Say what you will about these rodents, these were handsome individuals.

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Strolling through the park I saw squirrels and blackbirds eating yew berries. I also say my first (and only) insect of the day – a dronefly.

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Back onto the road and passed a church. Starlings hopped about its castellations, while a song thrush perched on the weather vane.

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Still no word from the garage and I needed to rest my weary legs. I found a bench and tilted my head towards the sky. Black-headed gulls flew by, their bright white wings catching the sunlight against a cloudy grey sky. A flurry of pigeons appeared, some on street lights others on the ground. Passing school children sent them scattering, only for them to gather ready for the next group of pedestrians. Each time the birds took flight and returned, I got to admire their skillful and graceful flight. Here I remained for quite a while, captivated by unexpected moments of nimble aerobatics. I have always enjoyed watching any bird in flight, but this really has renewed my appreciation of this feathered feat.

 

The garage called, time to pick the car up. Tired, I headed back to the garage, one eye still on the sky. In the distance I saw a crow, a handsome beast stood proud a top a roof.

And then my day ended as it began, ‘chis-ic, chis-ic’, a small pied wagtail flew on by!

That day I went on an urban safari … oh and also had a car MOT!

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My photograph of the month for September

I got a bit of a treat this September, I got to visit Bradgate Park again. It’s been a while since my last visit and this time I decided to walk along the meandering stream. I had the opportunity to have close encounters with swans, along with a wigeon and a raven.

The star of the show however, goes to this very handsome and impressive fallow deer stag!

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You can have a peek at my photograph for last month here.

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#30DaysWild day 17, 18, 19 and 20

After a few busy days, I’m playing catch up with my 30 Days Wild blog.

Day 17 – Bradgate Park, Wildlife Weekend

I knew Saturday was going to be a good ‘wild’ day when I heard my first cuckoo of the year right at the very beginning.

I managed to get myself to Bradgate Park again. This time to help out on the stand for my local bat group who were attending the park’s Wild Weekend. There were lots of other wildlife organisations there and I enjoyed having a little nosey at their stands too.

The last few hours of the day I spent walking through the park and despite the blistering heat, the wildlife was really active in the summer sun.

Day 18 – A little Leafcutter Bee

While being given a lift I had an encounter with a lovely little Leafcutter Bee. It came through the window as the car was moving at a little speed. It landed in my lap stunned, so I held it in my hands for a few minutes as it gained its bearings. As we slowed for a junction the wee mite found its wings and was back out through the open window into the world!

Day 19 – Moths

Today I found some rather beautiful moths in places you wouldn’t normally look!

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Day 20 – A country drive

While driving through the countryside my friend and I stopped to enjoy the grand oaks that lined the narrow lanes. The gentle breeze was a cool welcome sensation on the skin. A simple moment of peace and serenity.

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#30DaysWild day 16 – An early morning visitor!

My wild moment today happened very early on, 3:30am in fact. Waking up and needing a glass of water, I headed down stairs. A quick nosey out into the garden lead me to find a hedgehog scoffing the food left out for it. I normally step away at this point but as a one off I quickly took a single photo, lit by the light of the screen of my mobile phone. I then let the hungry hog be.

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#30DaysWild day 5 – Burbage Common

On the way back from the supermarket, I decided to pop to my favourite wild patch – Burbage Common.

I love it there, it’s always full of bird life … except this time. It was quiet, too quiet. I stood looking up and down the small road that leads to the car park wondering what had happened, when a Sparrowhawk swept across the road.

A few short minutes later, the birds began to sing again knowing the danger of a predator had passed. The first bird to pop down into sight was beautiful Jay. Wood pigeons appeared and then 3 Crows few by, a cheeky Robin and a foraging Chaffinch where next. A hungry squirrel appeared and spent some time munching through a pile of mealworms that had been left out for the wildlife.

Definitely worth the detour!

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#30DaysWild day 1 – exploring somewhere new!

 

For my first day of 30 Days Wild I decided to explore somewhere new. I chose Bradgate Park as I had heard many great things about it.

A bright sunny day made the visit all the more delightful! There were lots of families enjoying the warmth and outdoors which was wonderful to see

The whole visit was very ‘wild’, but if I had to pick just one moment it was the few minutes I spent sat on the grass watching some of the park’s many deer grazing peacefully.

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A beautiful Brown Hare

After a couple of sodden days of rain, it was glorious to see the sun yesterday. A gorgeous day to cycle home. What was even more special was that I managed to spot a beautiful brown hare in a farmer’s field. This is the closet I’ve ever seen a hare so I was thrilled! Worth all that pedaling!

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My photograph from November and December!

My monthly blog has been a little haphazard this year, as proved by the fact I’m posting November and December’s photos together this month! But I do find this a fun exercise and maybe it is something I’ll carry through into 2017. However until then I’ll leave you with my last two photos for 2016 and wish you all HAPPY NEW YEAR!

November – A squirrel enjoying hawthorn berries!img_1701pscc

December – Gulls and starlings on Brighton beach!img_2047pscc

Click to see my previous month’s photo here.

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Day 30 #30DaysWild

Having moved to my new home about a year ago, I haven’t yet managed to find any bat activity. Yesterday I thought it was high time to take my bat detector out and see if I could hear any bats in my garden.

I stepped outside and turned my bat detector on ….. nothing. I carefully walked around and still … nothing. Then I caught a very faint ‘tip tap tip tap’, I turned a little and there it was again ‘tip tap tip tap’. I knew it wasn’t a bat, but what was it? I scanned around and again the ‘tip tap tip tap’ continued. There walking across the path was a hedgehog! My bat detector had not found a single bat, but it had amplified the sound of a hedgehog out for a stroll!

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As for today, the last day of 30 Days Wild. I finished off a little project I started 3 weeks ago, painting pebbles! It’s taken me a while but it’s been wonderfully relaxing to do!

I have loved taking part in 30 Days Wild again this year, it has pushed me to try a few new things and helped me find new wild places. With National Insect Week in the middle, it has been a brilliant month!

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Day 13 #30DaysWild

This morning I woke to a torrential downpour, I stood with my cup of tea and watched the splashes and ripples of the rain drops from my back door.

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Later I headed out, after yesterday’s gardening exploits I was in need of some more compost. The little winding country roads are fantastic to explore, I often find myself taking a turning just to see what I can find. Upon spotting a hovering Kestrel, I pulled into a layby. The Kestrel disappeared, but I’d found somewhere new! I walked over a humpback bridge that passed over a canal and into the village of Shackerstone.

House Martins and Swallows flew over my head as I watched several families of Canada Geese enjoy the safety of a private lake. I walked along the edge of the village nearest the canal. I spotted a Green-Veined White butterfly come to rest on a Dog Rose flower, Sparrows having dust baths and House Martins collecting mud for their nests.

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As I crossed a second bridge to head back towards my car, a ripple in the canal caught my eye, a Water Vole swam across the water and into the reeds on the other side. It’s only the second time I’ve seen a Water Vole and it was certainly the best view I’d ever seen! I was bloody thrilled!

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