The Safari didn't get out til late today. We had to drop Wifey off for her appointment then collect some bits n bobs for Frank from the vets. The vets is near the big park so we took him in there afterwards for a bot of a walkies.
We'd taken the camera with us in case of a photo opportunity but not the bins. Frank was slow, think the changing weather affects his rheumaticy elbows like it gets our hands - beyond flippin uncomfortable. We were walking down the hill towards the lake when we felt a couple of spots of rain, Frank was sniffing the trees behind us and we nearly turned round to give up as it was hardly what you would call light and we had hoped to get some gull-in-flight shots.
It's been a week in which there has been plenty of demonisation of wildlife, Shetland Pony sized Badgers petrifying children in a suburban garden - WHAT, a Great White Shark attack in Western Australia bring about a ridiculous knee jerk reaction against an endangered species by the government there which runs the serious risk of bring more sharks closer to the people in the water and then of course there's Pratterson and the NFU still trying to convince us that Badger murdering is the right way to control bTB whereas in fact what they've done is probably going to make it worse. A bTB outbreak has occurred in the county here so farmers are still buying and selling cattle from infected areas and moving them around - surely this has to stop, and extremely scary the threat of a mining company suing the Costa Rican government for not wanting the further destruction of their rainforest - sadly this is feels like the beginning of a large juggernaut coming to an environment near you soon. Even the article in the paper suggests the incidence of the disease is on a slight decline note paragraph three. There is huge need for more environmental eductaion throughout the school curriculum - how is looking after the planet we live on not a full time part of the education system?
But then we saw something quite amazing and heart-lifting. Two boys about 11 or 12 wearing hoodies came in to view on those little scooters, they dumped their wheels with a crash near the boathouse - what's going on here we thought...then they stood still with their arms out...and the Feral Pigeons descended on them like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock film.
They were covered in them and loving every minute of it. We asked the nearest lad how many was his mate's record - about 20 was the reply - blimey!
They were mobbed
Over the course of the next few minutes several others joined in the feathery fun, there were couples, youngsters, families, dogs all milling around being mobbed by the pigeons and Black Headed Gulls. They'd all - well not the dogs - come to throw bread at the ducks and Mute Swans but got side tracked by the action.
This gave us the chance to get some very poor gull-in-flight shots...it was really too dark to bother but hey-ho we were there and so were the gulls so what the heck...
The woman in the corner's husband/boyfriend was throwing bread and the hoodied lad was ducking the gulls were coming in very close to the top of his head...he didn't care though he was in the thick of it and enjoying the experience - his smile, which we can't show, you said it all when he turned round and asked if we got that on 'film'.
The bread attracted the usual melee of ducks and we tried to get an arty shot of the Mute Swans but they weren't playing ball and wouldn't pose in the right position for us.
While watching the ducks, the Coots came in and we looked for KB's colour rings but found a newly Darvik ringed bird probably from elsewhere in the north west.
|White A74 - where's he from Kane?|
Then we saw one of the Black Headed Gulls was similarly Darviked.
|White 4FC - anyone got any gen on this one, eastern European?|
This gave us the opportunity to tell the gathering throng about the fascinating movements of what they perceive to be 'ordinary' species. Really glad no-one mentioned 'flying rats' or had a downer on the pigeons.
We got carried away with more poor gulls-in-flight shots when we noticed Frank was in the background...the camera went wild!!!
|OK so it's a very poor pic but how well framed is Frank's nose - saw a remarkably similar one featuring a Bald Eagle on Twitter this arvo but can't find it for you now - wasn't as good - didn't have Frank in it!|
So what started out as a dull December day after a long and depressing grey week turned out into something really special for lots of people all thanks to a few very 'ordinary' species of very easy to see wildlife...politicians take note!
Where to next? We'll try to get out somewhere tomorrow - nature reserve?
In the meantime let us know who's putting on the aerial displays in your outback.Late Edit - RSPB Leighton Moss
Add your voice to over 124k asks for a better deal for wildlife-friendly farming: http://bit.ly/1fpCaos
So now more than 124000 people have asked the government to move the maximum amount of funds into wildlife/environment friendly farming - almost as many as the Tory party has members and probably more than the NFU membership - do the right thing government Public money for public goods!!!!!!!!!!