Category Archives: Habitat

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 April

Choosing this month’s photograph was a tough one! All the new life has exploded everywhere!

Flowers, birds and insects have been brought forth by the promise of the sun’s warmth. I have spent a lot of time admiring the gorgeous yellow glows of dandelions that have filled the local grass verges. Bringing colour for us and much needed pollen and nectar to our early insect risers! I have seen many bees like this one, revelling in the pollen provisions of these precious golden blooms.

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

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Day 22 #30DaysWild

In honour of National Insect Week I went out bug hunting today, equipped with my pooter!

Day 22a

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Day 11 #30DaysWild – An Unexpected Urban Safari

Needing a trip to the supermarket today, I decided to shake my routine up a bit and head towards Tamworth retail estate. Once done, I could have headed straight home but decided to stretch my legs and follow the path into Tamworth town centre.

My first wild moment was the highlight of the day and could not have been more urban wild! Looking over towards the main road underpass, I had the unexpected delight to see an Oystercatcher dabbling in a large puddle!

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I continued on along the path and came across what I now know is Borrow Pit Lake. Between the A5, the Snow Dome and a large retail estate, it really wasn’t what I expected to find! It was teeming with life! A short walk turned into an exploration of several hours!

Walking round the lake I passed a flotilla of Canada and Graylag Geese.

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A little further on and I came across the Oystercatcher for a second time! I also greeted by the peep-peep-peeping of a family of Swans and a family of Mallards! All still very cute and fluffy! They were so lovely to see, they completely distracted me from the two elegant birds that stood so obviously before me. A Heron, a little way from me and a gorgeous Little Egret!

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As I continued on, I encountered more wildlife and some gorgeous views! This is a wild haven I shall be visiting again very soon!

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Day 8 & 9 #30DaysWild

Day 8
My day was mainly filled with (necessary) housework, not a particularly wild thing to do. Though short pause was needed to escort a Ground Beetle out the back door so I could continue vacuuming! I did take a break, stretch my legs and get some sun. I took a short walk around my neighbourhood wild patch. Not only was it nice to feel the warm summer air on my skin, but I also spotted my first, second and third Damselfly of the year!

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Day 9
Today has been full of much needed rest and relaxation! This did include another walk around my neighbourhood wild patch and also a little further into the surround fields

Though I had only visited the wild patch 24 hours earlier, I knew that some things would have remained the same, but there’s always something different to see!

The bees that yesterday covered the invading gooseberry bushes, were still busily buzzing round the flowers today. The call of a Whitethroat filling the whole area with song was again singing loudly today! But the three Damselflies I spotted yesterday were now joined by an abundance of the little beauties! The Large White butterflies were fluttering in the sun just like yesterday, but now Speckled Wood butterflies also enjoying the warm sun light on the trees. The songs of the Chiffchaff and Great Tit of yesterday were now joined by the accompanying calls of their newly fledged chicks! And to cap off today’s visit, as I arrived the air was cut through with the piercing cries of a low flying Buzzard that flew just a feet about the meadow as it departed!

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My walk into the fields did take me past an ice cream van. A FAB was bought and thoroughly enjoyed, as was the aerial display from the House Martins and Swallows!

As I relished a slow walk home I noticed a couple of Wolf Spiders stood proud over their egg sacks. I stopped to take a closer look. I started to count … I got to 20 and gave up as I noticed another group close-by. There must have been 40, possible even 50 individuals in a few square metres of the long grass! Quite a sight to see!

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Day 7 #30DaysWild

I have had two wild moments today, the first was just after midnight. I stepped into my garden to hear the chobble of a hedgehog munching mealworms in its little hide!

I also took a stroll around my new favourite local wild patch, Burbage Common. I only discovered this place in March but I’ve already seen so many changes in those few months. I was also chuffed to spot a Blue Tit nest!

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Day 4 #30DaysWild

One of my favourite jobs at work was my first duty of today, an invertebrate survey in the Nature Reserve! The place is so beautiful and teeming with life! Everywhere I looked there was something to see!

Invert survey or a bug hunt, looking for those little gorgeous creatures is always rewarding!

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My Photograph from November

Between storms, snow, ice, colds and flu, I didn’t get my camera out much this month! But one blustery morning I got a real treat – the opportunity to watch a lovely little Reed Bunting dart around a quiet, windswept reed bed!

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Reed Bunting

Click here to see my photo from last month here.

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My 30 Days Wild: Part 3

Here is the last 10 days of my 30 Days Wild!

Day 21 – Who knew that an old dry log would be so interesting!

The life you can find on an old log!

Day 22 – Today I spent time watching a Goldfinch investigating the bark of a tree!

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Day 23 – Popped by my local Kestrel nest … I’m not sure who was watching who today!

Kestrel nest

Day 24 – I was given the choice between doing the books or counting the bugs!

Counting Bugs!

Day 25 – Stuck in traffic? I decided to do a long distance plant survey! I counted 19 different species between two junctions!

Counting plants along the motorway!

Day 26 – Today I rescued a bee from the office, two beetles from the classrooms and a bush cricket from butterfly house!

Beetle rescue

Day 27 – Paused to admire this beautiful fungus growing at the base of dead tree!

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Day 28 – Today I enjoyed blue skies, green fields and wild views along the Severn Valley Railway!

Views from the Severn Valley Railway

Day 29 – I got to enjoy the flutterings of these stunning Scarlet Tigers!

Scarlet Tiger

Day 30 – On the last wild day of June, I found this old tractor being reclaimed by the wild!

Recliamed by the wild!

I have really enjoyed doing 30 Days Wild. Being with the wild is something I naturally do every day, so I will be staying wild! I hope that you all will be too!

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Worcester in flood February 2014

As the flood waters recede in Worcester, I thought I would share with you a few photographs I have taken over the past few weeks.

Swan flying upstreamSwans flying upstream rather than battle against the increased strength of the River Severn’s current.

Stretching SwanA Swan stretching its wings on the river bank, a place that is normally fountains where children play.

Swans swimming at a resautant's doorNormally on the dry banks of the River Severn, Browns Restaurant now has Swans swimming to its door.

Swans resting in the light of duskSwans resting and stretching in the light of dusk on a road normally log-jammed with traffic.

Worcester CathedralA view of the Cathedral from the flood water’s edge.

Bridge to nowhere!Bridge to nowhere!

Sunset reflected in the flood watersSunset reflected in the flood waters that cover a playing field, a temporary new home for some Mallards.

Moon light reflected in the flood watersMoon reflected in the flood waters covering the same playing field.  The area is normally grass to the line of trees.

River overspilling into Gheluvelt ParkRiver overspilling into Gheluvelt Park, the fence-line marks where a path normally runs.

View from Carrington BridgeA look down across the River Severn from the Carrington Bridge. You can see little islands which are actually the tops of trees that normally run along the river’s edge.

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