Monday, 15 June 2009

The good...the bad...and the sad

The safari had a mixed weekend. The good...a muggy, warm, windless night had the Base Camp moth trap bulging at the seams. Well almost...and some of them put the butterflies to shame.

This little chap is Small Magpie.

Followed by one of the three Brimstones we caught. Even brighter than the butterfly of the same name.

This one is the diminutive Green Pug, all of a centimetre across, if that. The fluffy stuff it is on is an egg box.

Pick of the bunch was this rather splendid Lime Hawkmoth. Again the gratuitous on the finger shot.

After the moths had been duly recorded and sumptuous sausage barm cakes had been devoured the land Rover was filled with biodiesel and pointed at the hills.

Where the prime target was something bad and scary. Scary enough to close public footpaths, not normally an easy task.

No; this Heath Spotted Orchid is certainly not scary enough.

And nor is this fish, which I think is a Salmon smolt.

Was it this clear felled hillside...danger from falling trees?

Certainly some serious dangerous machinery been at work here, but don't worry it's not as bad as it seems - an 'industrial' conifer plantation has been removed to make way for a new woodland of native trees as part of the programme to re-forest large areas of the currently almost treeless Forest of Bowland. A 'forest' in this sense being a mediaeval hunting area for kings queens and other rich bods...nothing much changed in the intervening 1000 years then.

The white sticks are freshly planted saplings.

Could it be this little Common Lizard...hardly a Komodo Dragon is it...Something bigger and scarier looks to have tried to grab it because it looks like it has lost its tail at some stage.

What about this load of old bullocks...well hardly old...

This is pretty scary, no not our Extreme Photographer but the fact he's standing in freezing cold water looking for White Clawed Crayfish with big pincers...but still not scary enough!

No we're thinking something with bigger teeth and much more attitude...Wolf? There is a Wolf Fell and Wolf Hole Crags up here - this was the last stronghold of the Wolf in England.

Five kilometres up the track it lives here. Nearly there and Extreme Camera gear is beginning to weigh very heavy - the 20kg bag feels like 40kg after the last steep climb, but its down hill all the way now...the quarry is in sight.

Made it... but what lives in an old landslip like this?

Getting closer...but what is it??? You certainly can't tell from the pic at this stage.

This is as zoomed as I could get...and you're still none the wiser. From the annotation the critter is obviously a bird and probably quite a big one..
The bird in question (and shot) is a young Eagle Owl. You'd never have guessed from these pics, maybe the Extreme Photographer's will be better on the next post. They deserve to be after he lugged a lens as long as your arm up the hill.

Scary??? Yes apparently the Rangers and the Police have been attacked by th parents when they have been near the nest site taping off the footpath. one of the police officers was hospitalised needing stiches when dad came out of nowhwere with all talons blazing. An angry 3 foot tall bird armed with 8 razorsharp daggers is going to pretty scary to most folk.

These landed gentry, or at least their servants have all the fun. They can drive the remote hills excersising their Land Rovers in their natural habitat and don't have to carry their very heavy shotguns.

While the rest of us get back ache, leg ache, neck ache humping heavy gear up a perfectly servicable road. Now if I were the farmer I'd be running a tractor and trailer up and down from the village at a pound a throw and earning me a few tax free dollars.

But then we wouldn't have seen the fish, the Lizard, nor heard the Cuckoo or the Red Grouse, or had the opportunity to spot the only orchid in the valley. So I guess walking is really the only way to travel on safari proper.

So that was the good and the bad...the sad was that back at Base Camp our little cat Pippin (aka The Pipster) had to be put to sleep today after a short but terrible illness. Sweet dreams Pip. We'rd like you to remember her as she was only a week or so ago spaced out in the summer sun - see post 'No need to go far'.
Where to next? Hmm tricky do you beat the UK's third largest raptor. Off to the depths of Wales soon so Kites, Otters and Badgers will abound...not
In the meantime let us know what is too well camouflaged or too distant in your outback to photograph properly


Monika said...

Sounds like quite an adventure you had! Nicely written, and very true that you would have missed all those great sightings if you hadn't walked.

That lime hawkmoth looks amazing.

Warren Baker said...

I hope the Owl isn't going to end up on some rich W**kers game list Dave !!

Like the comment on the Forset for rich folk!!

Caroline said...

Wow...this looks amazing! Good for you taking on such an adventure. Whenever I get sore muscles and aches (my whole family actually) we rub on some Topricin pain cream and it works like a gem! No need for constant pain meds anymore. My hubs has suffered from lower back pain for years now, and now I seem to have all kinds of kinks and aches too. This stuff is great and best of all, it heals and is all natural. Maybe this would help you all when hiking through rough terrain and carrying all your gear? Anyway- fabulous photos, loved it!