Wednesday, 11 July 2012

A good day was had by all

The Safari noticed the Peregrine was on the tower as we drove up the hill this morning. 
We entertained another school group today. After they'd disembarked from their bus and were having a quick drink and leg stretch we decided to have a wander along the work's wild garden they were ging to study a little later. That's the one that is like a cottage garden but the plants are what most people would call weeds - we call them invaluable native wildflowers viz. Spear Thistle, Smooth Sow Thistle, Prickly Sow Thistle, Borage, Orange Hawkweed, Perennial Cornflower, Rosebay Willowherb, Meadow Cranesbill, Ox-eye Daisy and a few others...the colours are amazing.
We saw a chunky looking hoverfly which was duly netted to show the group how it imitates a bumble bee. 
Little did we know at the time it was another 'new' species for Blackpool, namely Merodon equestris.

Thanks once again to those invertebrate gurus on iSpot. And many thanks to our cottage garden of 'weeds' - they are indeed invaluable to our native wildlife. The other side of the cafe has a 'nice tidy' garden with 'pretty' ornamental plants but we rarely see a bee or hoverfly anywhere near them. Bees (and other insects) need to be able to move around our towns and countryside we hope to influence our bosses to join this scheme too...having said that when we got back to Base Camp this arvo we saw that all the White Clover-rich roadside grass verges had just been mown...dohhh couldn't they wait a few more days until it had gone over? Soooooo annoying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We're sure that slightly longer grass with some low growing wildflowers is far more attractive than scalped verges with huge dollops of rotting cuttings dumped randomly where the mower blades leave them.

After lunch the gang spent some time on the beach having a good hunt around for as many species of shells as they could...pretty successful they were!

They are 1. Striped Venus 2. Iceland Cyprine one of the longest lived animals on the planet 3. Edible (Native) Oyster not particularly worn but did have Barnacles and a small Edible Mussel on it so maybe 10 - 20 years old 4. Common Otter Shell 5. Edible Whelk with an egg mass but no Hermit Crab for the kiddies 6. Rayed Trough Shell 7. Pod Razor 8. Common Razor 9. Edible Mussel 10. Prickly Cockle 11. Common Cockle 12. Tower Shell 13. Thin Tellin 14. Banded Wedge Shell probably our most important shell as it is the staple diet of the 30000 or so Common Scoters that live offshore during the winter 15. Necklace (aka Moon) Shells with egg mass fierce predators that drill holes in other shells and suck their innards out - lovely 16. Edible Mussel covered in Barnacles 17. Green Shore Crab 18. Sea Lettuce 19. Purple Laver 20. Masked Crab carapace only 21. Hornwrack 22. The odd one out a Brown Lipped Banded Snail a terrestrial snail and probably a victim of the floods being washed off the vegetation into the river and out to sea.
Other stuff seen were plenty of Periwinkles, loads of Brown Shrimps and an Anemone, not the Plumose Anemone that seems to have been lost from its pot.
And the sun shone!!!
Where to next? Dentist tomorrow but that'll more likely hurt in the wallet than the mouth and may perhaps weather permitting offer the chance of a safari to a nice little site not far from the torturer's chair.
In the meantime let us know what the scavengers scavenged in your outback.

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