Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Just like buses . . .

I was just to the dog the other day (the only way to have a decent conversation) that we hadn't seen much in the way of wildlife recently - if you don't count the hundreds of rabbits that we see everyday and whihc scatter as soon as we come into sight. The farmers round our way must love rabbits - they don't seem to do anything about them or anything to mitigate the damage they do.

Anyway, earlier this week we left home a bit earlier in the morning than usual - I had a bit more than usual to do before leaving for work . . . iron a shirt, put out the bins, water the hanging baskets I'd not had a chance to do the previous evening (late getting back after delivering child to Latitude Festival) etc.

So we set off at 5.45am rather than the usual 6am, which is obviously the time to go round our local fields because we had a nice meeting with a barn owl which was having its breakfast in the long grass, then disturbed a kingfisher which was trying to catch its breakfast.

Sunday is the day for our long walk when we go a bit further afield and last Sunday we had another encounter with a barn owl. I was quite surprised because we were well into our walk and it was after 9am, but we sat and watched it hunting across a paddock for at least 20 minutes. That also surprised me because I read somewhere recently that owls are only active for about 8 minutes a day . . . that must only be lazy owls!

We've also had closer than usual deer experiences in the last week. The first was the usual one of the dog scaring an animal out of its cover - it was only a few yards away but, of course, it didn't hang around long enough for us to get acquainted.

The second was much more interesting. We were walking along a path when I became aware of a real commotion behind a bush. As we drew level we saw it was a deer, trying to get at something under the bush (a tasty morsel, perhaps). Whatever it was, for a couple of minutes the attraction was greater than its fear of me and the dog and it refused to give up. In the end, the dog decided she was bored and jerked on the lead, which sent the deer scurrying off.

As usual, I didn't have the camera when I needed it, but I did get a shot of the barn owl. It was quite a way off (for my camera) but the picture enlarged okay for here.

Barn owl

Also saw a nice heron perched on a boat - again a bit far away. Unfortunately I'd put my camera away when we spotted a tern of some sort (a common tern, I think) fishing in one of the bigger drainage ditches.

Heron on boat

So, some nice wildlife after all . . . but I was just saying to the dog, not seen many super models recently!

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