Tag Archives: Urban habitats

Town bound!

It’s 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’m 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 wonder 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 passed the over grown, over littered murky waters of a river. In amongst the grime. three 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 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 happened 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 street lights others on the floor. 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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#30DaysWild day 28, 29 and 30 – Urban wild

It has been a very busy few days for me, so I haven’t had much time to sit down and blog. I have, however had plenty of opportunities to enjoy some wonderful urban wild moments.

Here are my last few 30DaysWild for 2017, with a promise that I will – as always – be staying wild!

Day 28 – Urban plants

I know that I haven’t paid much attention to plants so far this month, but that all changed today!

First I spotted that someone had carved a leaf into some stone masonry. Walking a little further I found a real plant, this one growing out of a gutter. When I rounded the next corner, I found a building that had been almost entirely covered by a vine! I thought it was quite an impressive sight!

 

Day 29 – Birds

Today I was going to see some friends off at Heathrow, so I promised myself that I would find some of the Pied Wagtails known to hang out in the trees outside the Terminals. I thought it was a long shot, but still worth a try.

It was dusk as I said good bye to my friends, and as I made my way outside I decided to for fill the promise I’d made myself. I headed over to the nearby trees and sure enough several feathered faces peered back at me in the fading light. Happy with my ‘wild’ moment, I left for home.

Pied Wagtail

A quick pit stop at the services were required, I looked out through the car window expecting to see only cars and lorries. Then a flutter caught my eye, a bird flew over the car park and landed in a nearby tree. It was only then I realised it was a Tawny Owl. I approached carefully, and using only the light from the nearby street lamp, I took a photo. The owl remained for a few moments, looking around its surrounding before it was off into the night!

Tawny Owl

 

Day 30 – Travelling

Today was another day of travel, this time from Worcester to home with some urban wild in between.

At the train station in Worcester I watched the gulls flying, landing and resting. A sight I won’t see for a while and will miss.

Lesser black-back gull

In Nuneaton train station, I noticed cosy little nests had been made by Sparrows, exploiting the holes in the eaves to make themselves a home.

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On my walk between the train and bus station I passed an over grown buddleia that was spilling out over the pavement. The purple bush was smothered by busy bumblebees, foraging for every drop of sugary nectar they could get.

Bumblebees on a buddleia

Finally a short break for a snack before catching the bus. I was kept company by hungry pigeons, who snatched up any clumsily dropped crumbs in a blinking of an eye!

Pigeons

I find it so easy to admire urban wildlife. While we build with concrete and bricks, it is the plants and animals that find the cracks and fill them full of life.

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Life between the headstones

One of the ecosystems I find most fascinating and wonderful  is that of urban wildlife. We concrete and build, but there a some small instances where still nature struggles on, adapting where it can and clinging to the pockets of green that remain within our towns and cities.

One wonderful example of those pockets of green amidst our concrete jungle is the cemetery. A place for our dead is a home for nature’s life.

I visited my local cemetery yesterday and was instantly surrounded by bird song. I even had a bee fly up to me which, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say was a greeting!

I had Wrens express their alarm at me and a Blue tit call loudly to any who would hear. Crows sat high, observing the world, whilst Magpies hopped  between bushes and  gravestones. Wood Pigeons franticly flapped into flight and Redwings darting about looking for berry-laden branches. Squirrels foraged frenetically. I watched Blackbirds warming themselves in the winter sunlight and Long-tailed tits flit from tree to tree. A Sparrowhawk circled repeatedly and was then chased off by a bold Black-headed Gull. A Goldcrest combed the branches of a Yew bush for any morsels it could find.

All this activity thriving amongst the tributes for lost loved ones, because life finds away!

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Blue Tit

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Sparrowhawk

Goldcrest

HeadstoneLove

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