Showing posts with label wildlife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wildlife. Show all posts

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Day We Saw All The Wildlife

On the Whitsun holiday, we decided to revisit a local National Trust property, Hinton Ampner, to see the bluebells and the actual house, as last time, we missed half the gardens and the house wasn't properly open.

We drove merrily along and took the turn through the gates, pootled down a small piece of drive, took a left and oh my word! "Abort! Abort! Abort!" cried I, horror on my face! The carpark was obviously full as cars were lining the drive on both sides! Hinton Ampner isn't that big a house and cars were still pouring in behind us. It would have been awfully crowded. Andy turned around and we fled*, tempted to wind down the windows and warn other cars: "Turn back! Turn back before it's too late!"

But we didn't and on we drove.

And drove.
And drove.
Goodness I was fed up (and travel sick) by the time we stopped driving through the lanes and came to a halt at a pretty view where we opened up the picnic.



We sat there for a while watching the birds (I think I saw a lesser whitethroat, but a man asking directions scared it off before I could get a picture) and the St Marks flies which were swarming, when Andy spotted a, and I quote, HUGE BUZZARD on a dung heap through some binoculars. I got my camera out and looked through and it looked suspiciously like a rook. Turns out it was a rook. Classic example of having no frame of reference size wise.

Anyway, as I looked at the picture on my camera, I saw another bird, blurred at the edges in flight was also in the picture! As I saw this, at the exact same time, Andy had also spotted this exotic bird.  You can see it just off centre in the photo below.
You have to appreciate how far away we were and that I had used full zoom in every single one of these shots. I believe my camera has 80 x zoom.



Cue endless attempts at photographing the thing, as it swooped and beggared about catching insects.

Finally I got a picture. It was hazy as I was of course at maximum zoom on my camera and we saw the bird was very fancy pants, with a crest and everything! Wow! What exotic bird was this???? It looked suspiciously like a cockatiel. 
Yes, that is it right in the middle.



We were very excited and somehow despite being in the middle of nowhere I could use my phone to search for what it was. We moved the car closer and sat in front of a gate to the field and the bird, who was now two birds, honoured us by coming closer to have a bathe in a puddle.



Finally we got a good look and I managed to identify them. The RSPB website stated: This familiar farmland bird ... well it wasn't familiar to us! We don't often hang around farms. Anyway, they were lapwings, also known as peewits and they are beauties!


And then things just got better *cough* Two as before unseen birds and then Andy spotted something else. Birds with red on them, lined up on fence posts! Three of them! I got out of the car and took a picture. Wood pigeons, hehe! Five to be exact, all sat on fence posts. Not so exotic but I love it when birds line up neatly.



Then things really did get better. Andy, again with the binoculars, spotted something in a far field. "Hare!" he exclaimed. I couldn't look fast enough and sure enough, gallumping along, a hare! I was ridiculously excited. I got a bit emotional if I'm honest. We watched as it moved to the left and lo and behold there was another one!






Turns out in one of my pigeon pictures, there was a hare in the background! I didn't even see it, I was trying to focus my attentions on the exotic wood pigeons!

We watched the hares until they had gone and then I had to wait for what seemed an eternity for Andy to come back to the car, as he was again obsessively looking through the binoculars at the dogs on walks with their mums and dads. It started raining and still he didn't move! It took the skies opening before he came back to the car and we could head home.


* We have of course, since been back to Hinton Ampner

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Marwell Zoo!

Marwell photos, which may or may not have been from my birthday in December last year.
Behind? Me?

Marwell Zoo. Amur leopard.
It is considered one of the most endangered big cats in the world, with less than 70 individuals existing in the wild.



One of the Amur leopard cub twins. Absurdly cute.


Snow leopard. My favourite big cat was snoozing and like an angel raised its head when I approached.
Their range spans from Afghanistan to Kazakstan and Russia in the north to India and China in the east.



Dorcas Gazelle fawns, absolutely, completely the most adorable creatures. Melanie wanders along, peers through glass to indoor area. Nothing. Sees three people gathered at end window. Approaches. Sees what they see. "Oh. My. Goodness!" squeals Melanie, spotting the fawns. The people turn as one and leave me to my helpless oohing and ahhing.
The dorcas gazelle stands about 21–25" at the shoulder, with a head and body length of 35–43".



Fossa's. So entertaining. Doesn't Madagascar have the best wildlife?
They can reach almost six feet in length.




Red panda atop pole. I had a chat with this beauty. "Do you know how beautiful you are?" I queried, as sleepy head peered down at me.
Also called the lesser panda, the red bear-cat, and the red cat-bear.



Red Ruffed Lemur! Want!
My favourite animals are bunnies, hares and lemurs.
This is one of the largest primates of Madagascar with a body length of 20" and a tail length of 23".



Rooks. Healthiest rooks I ever did see. Feathers as glossy as spilled ink.
I love all British birds, except maybe birds of prey, but my favourites are definitely magpies, crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws and blackbirds.
In captivity rooks learned that if they push a stone off a ledge into a tube, they will get food. The rooks then discovered they could find and bring a stone and carry it to the tube if no stone was there already. They also used sticks and wire, and figured out how to bend a wire into a hook to reach an item.




They actually hid the flamingos from me. How dare they! I wore my flamingo cardi and earrings especially. This is as close as I could get. They obviously knew I was coming, so ruined my birthday outing by enclosing them off.
The flamingo is my favourite non-native bird in case you didn't know!
When flying in a flock, the top speed of a flamingo can be as high as 35 miles per hour.




Humboldt Penguin.
The penguin is named after the cold water current it swims in, which is itself named after Alexander von Humboldt, an explorer.


Rhea
Greater rheas are known to be good swimmers.


Jackdaw
Jackdaws form strong pair bonds with their mates and are renowned for their devotion towards their partner. Even if they suffer from a few years of unsuccessful breeding, they still stay together, potentially due to the fact that they have invested so much time and energy into trying to raise young together.
Awww!



Give us a kiss! Giraffe.
Baby Giraffes can stand within half an hour and after only 10 hours can actually run alongside their family.


Yellow mongoose
Some mongoose species live in a cooperative society where each member of the pack has a specific job and subsequent duties. Some are hunters, some stay behind and "baby sit". In this system, older or infirmed members and youngsters are often nurtured by the entire pack.


Oriental small clawed otter
This is the smallest otter species in the world.


Robin!
Juvenile robins have a brown rather than red breast; they grow the red feathers after their first moult.


Capybara
The capybara is the largest rodent in the world.


Sun Conure
Also known as the sun parakeet.


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Folly Come Lately: From Meirionwen to Bunnies

A few pictures I have taken of late to give an idea of what's what around these parts ... they do say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go, that saves me the trouble!

There's been me and Meirionwen ..
Despite me not having much in the way of spatial awareness (invariably I will walk into door frames) and despite the fact I can't drive, Andy got me 'driving' her at the weekend. We were safely off road I hasten to add. It was hard! Speed scares me and her gear stick was really hard to maneuver. Let's not even go into the steering wheel which Andy assures me isn't actually that big, but it felt like a hula hoop to me.



Oh yes, we just had to get her an appropriate key ring! The Welsh dragon :)



And there have been Meirionwen's friends ..









Isn't this Kit from Knight Rider?


Inside the Buick.





And birds.
Dove.



Magpie


Starling



Action Starling




A squirrel




A biplane




Willow sculptures of badgers




An Andy



An Andy and a Belle (Bellefire Marie to give her her full name).
Belle has a poorly eye and had to have her tear duct flushed on Friday.




And my smoodgems, Bob.
While Belle had a poorly eye, Bob has had GI Stasis. Again. Belle had it recently too.