Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Home and away - this one's home

The safari had a couple of outings this weekend one just around Base Camp the other a little furthere afield. The season's first 7-spot Ladybirds were a thinking about pairing up on a nettle leaf. If you count properly they actually have eight spots. Gone on...try it.
A Whitethroat sang from an Ash tree. apparently the forecasters are telling us that this summer is likely to be a hot one. I wonder if it was their super computer that told them that or whether they had just had a look out of the window and observed the old adage if the Ash is out before the Oak we will have a soak; if the Oak is out before the Ash we'll only have a splash. certainly around here the oak is out before the Ash...hot summer here we come...but is it the same round your way?

We spotted a cat slinking around on the track in froont of us, which made itself scarce when Frank ambled up. But we found this still warm corpse lying on the path. A Common Shrew - murdered for no good reason! Common Shrews can be told from Pygmy Shrews by the relative length of the tail, Common's tail is shorter than their body, the tail of Pygmies is as long as their body plus half the length of their head

The local lake has a small island which holds a colony of Grey Herons - the young are not far off leaving the nest; even if they are all asleep.

Within the dense woodland over the road from the lake we found this rather bizarre red blobby fungus. In this picture they are a little shrivelled after a dry spell but after rain the grow and glow flourescent pink...as previously told it's a fungus therefore I have no idea what species it is.

Out in the open grasses are coming into flower and some stems from last year are still standing. For those of you who think grass is for mowing and playing footy on then think again there's some great shapes and textures to be seen...great names too. I hope the pick enlarges when clicked on...left to right Tufted Hair Grass, Red Fescue, a sedge - not a grass separate male and female flowers, Soft Brome, Common Reed, crossed by Meadow Foxtail, Crested Dog's Tail, Cocksfoot. Next time you're out have a look round and see how many different types of grass you can see...it doesn't matter if you can't name them just enjoy the looking for them.

Grey Squirrels are a nasty import from Yankee-doodle-dandy-land. originally released into a country estate in Cheshire about 150 years ago now ubiquitous in English woodlands and gardens at the expense of our native Red Squirrels. This chap looks perfectly healthy but is probably carrying a dose of Squirrel Pox to which the Reds have no resistance. Reds have long since vanished from our area.

The nest box is for Swifts and was put up just in the nick of time as the first Swifts of the season were seen over Base Camp the following morning. The joinery is not mine! despite my bad hands I would hope to make a better effort but this was a freeby knocked together from scaps of timber by trainees on a post-school young adults course. I'm sure the Swifts won't mind; I hope they use it.

Late news just in...a Grey Seal was very close in shore at lunch today, so close that i could see every droplet of water on its whiskers. Filled the binocs it did...and no camera!!!! Typical!!!
Where to next? Read on...the next post follows without further ado.
In the meantime let us know what is lurking close by in your outback.

1 comment:

Monika said...

Surely the shrew's death was not totally in vain - I'm sure someone will come along and appreciate the free meal.

In my recent botanical observations I've definitely noticed a huge variety of grasses....I'm not even going to try and delve into the complicated world of grass ID just yet though!

Funny, your red squirrels have completely overtaken us here in Yankee land, and its the gray squirrel that's a rarer sight! What more do we expect when we mix up what Mother Nature has so carefully selected?