Saturday, 10 June 2017

Wet in the rain and the hope for a boar

The Safari wasn't able to do the dolphin watch we'd hoped to do for World Environment Day due to bad (= atrocious) weather, nor was there any chance to move it World Oceans Day a few days later due to solemn family duties. The following day we had a bit of a chill out day with Wifey to clear our heads and have a bit of a walk out with Monty somewhere he's not been before.
We had a walk along the river listening to mostly Blackcaps, Robins and Song Thrushes. We had to listen as we didn't see any birds at all in the dense woodland. There was a bird we did want to see and photograph, a Dipper or two, but arriving on site mid-afternoon the amount of doggy disturbance so far, which we added to to be honest, probably put paid to any chance of seeing them. 
Almost at the end of the woodland section of the circular walk we eventually came a across a real live bird, a Robin sat preening on a low twig possibly after having a bathe in one of the many puddles just off the edge of the track.
Once out of the woods the meadow was a picture of glowing gold from the myriad of Meadow Buttercups. Last time we were at this site was last year with BD (or was it the year before? - time flies when you're on safari) there was a team out with a heavy duty motorised scrub cutter clearing away the Alder and Willow scrub that was developing and beginning to over-run the meadow. Now we're all for reforestation and rewilding but there are limits. This work was being done to ensure the scrub didn't totally over-shadow the orchids that grew on the meadow.
The work had been a success as it didn't take long to find the first Southern? Marsh Orchid, nor the second or third, once you'd got your eye in there were thousands scattered among the buttercups.

 A wonderful sight!
Back at the car Monty was being cleaned off and we had a quick look at the apparently empty feeders in the corner of the car park. There was some food and there was a bird there in the deep dark shadows. We edged closer very carefully and fired off a few shots as we went.

Those stripes down the back and the buff wing bar gave the ID away, a Lesser Redpoll (162, YBC #138).
Sneaking a little closer and changing the settings on the camera we ended up with an almost decent pic showing it's lovely red head which gives the bird its name.
Once home we had a txt from CR saying he'd had a Blue Tailed Damselfly close to his pond which he didn't think had emerged from there but flown in from elsewhere. We took advantage of a bit of sunshine and went into the garden at Base Camp to find the same species almost immediately.
This one could well have emerged from our pond.
Later our Extreme Photographer sent us some very interesting pics. His neighbour had been at a friend's and she had brought back a bit of a specimen that her friend, knowing of our Extreme's interest in wildlife, had kept for him. 
The recently shed skin of a very large Grass Snake.
It's a big one, well over 1m long
The ventral scales were about 4 cm across!
What a great addition to his collection of wildlife bits n pieces.
We'd love to see one that big in Safari-land, we like to see one any size in Safari-land!!!
Last night on Twitter we saw a post about wildflowers and lawn-mowers that reminded us very much of Patch 1. So while we were out with Monty after the rain we took the opportunity to recreate the post. Here's today's pic. The field looks like this every day.
But it used to be cut less frequently until a couple of years ago and often looked like this, or white with White Clover and buzzing with bees.
Why do the 'Tidy Brigade' hate wildflowers and all their associated invertebrate life, especially pollinators, so much?
Most of the field isn't played on by the local kids and could easily be left uncut for longer, if absolutely necessary the margin against the paths could be cut to no more than a metre in. We're beginning to think all public green spaces, including, and perhaps especially, the roadside verges should be manged for pollinators and other insects and sod the 'Tidy Brigade'; sports fields would obviously be exempt but less tidy doesn't mean un-managed or uncared for and should be the norm. If people want tidy let them scalp their own lawns and leave the rest alone. What is it that they/we are so afraid of?
On the way back we saw a garden that had recently had some bedding plants put in. There were scattered plants surrounded by what seemed like acres of bare soil. Now the gardener obviously meant it to look like that and will spend ages all summer hoeing and weeding to keep it so. But we thought it just looked like a sounder of Wild Boars had had a rummage and accidentally missed or deliberately avoided a few plants - we can imaging the chaps absolute terror if a flock of Wild Boars had done that to his garden no doubt he'd be calling for a cull!!! They're a species that would do well at the riverside site we visited yesterday provided they could avoid all the doggy would Beavers up the river...heaven forbid!!! BUT the river managers had felled some trees directly into the river to reduce and deflect the flow in certain areas just as Beavers would do...
Come on Britain, pull your fingers out and lets get some wildlife back in our land, urban and rural!
Where to next? Back to the real world of work tomorrow but we do have an event on the beach in the evening to tell you about.
In the meantime let us know who's tidying up in your outback.

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