Thursday, 31 March 2011

"Hey, where did you go?"

Wild With Pants is currently off to Wester Ross, Scotland in search of otters. We'll be back in a couple of weeks. (Hopefully with an otter photo or two)

Friday, 25 March 2011

There Hare, Here Deer

This is a continuation of the previous post

As I was standing taking photos of the hares, stood stock still, I noticed some figures in the nearby woods - roe deer! After some milling around in the woods, I was amazed to see them jump a fence and come towards me! The female finally twigged that I was there (as you can see from the first photo), and then ran across the field with the male in leisurely pursuit. (I don't think he'd seen me, so was less of a mood to race).

Thursday, 24 March 2011

"Well, it's March - what do you expect from us?"

I took a walk up onto Longridge Fell, and hares were everywhere - running around and enjoying the sun. At first, I thought they were just doing their usual trick of legging it out of sight at the first sense of human, but these kept running back to where they started. It was obviously that they were just enjoying the March sun.

I ended up filling a memory card with photos. These are of one mad minute where three hares raced around and then took a break.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Waiting for a kingfisher made me batty

Where do we get these ridiculous titles... well let me explain.

Today I needed some Nature Therapy to cure me of some, what is beginning to feel like, terminal stress. I headed off to the river, part of the Kingfisher walk we did last Autumn and plonked myself down on the river bank in the glorious sunshine and made ready to wait for a kingfisher. I saw some lovely grey wagtails, black headed guls, oyster catchers, dippers, pied wagtails, huge leaping salmon, goosanders, mallards- not a kingy in sight or sound.

Then I noticed something flying strangely near the woods and over the river. It was quite a way away so I couldn't id it through lens even - though quickly suspected something batty by the movement and the occasional quick twists and turns.

Lo and behold it was a large bat flying on its own around the woodland edge and over the river and back. Occasionally it flew low as though checking me out as I sat trying to photograph it. It was very clearly a reddish goldie brown in the sunshine and much bigger than the little pipis we get flying out of our roof at dusk in summer.

Anyway I sort of fell in love with it.. got some nice shots but missed a cracker where it swooped down to drink some water. :-(

Anyway my guess is a Noctule (one of the larger UK bats, known to be out earlier in the evening than other species, though this was about 1.30pm today - an in March so clearly out of hibernation and enjoying some warm sunshine!)

Okay now I'm setting myself up for a slap by our(so far) one and only commenter... my Sis Jess who is working on her PhD in Aberdeen (Yoh Bobs!)and is a bit of a clever dick (know-it-all!!!) What say you lady? Noctule? Female? Aged 14 months? In 2nd trimester of her first litter? Seriously -please comment anyone and let us know your differences of opinion on the species.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

All's fair in love and war

Leighton Moss on Friday was stunning. Warm, sunny and full of signs of spring including the "all's fair in love and war" which comes as birds and mammals get around to pairing up for some baby making.
Black Headed guls were making an absolute racket preparing to defend their territory which will evetually mean protecting eggs and then young from the circling marsh harriers, otters and other predators.
We saw a black backed gul gobbling up and enormous eel.
Lapwings with their electronic signal sounding noise soaring around with each other doing crazy aerial acrobatics (which are very hard to capture on camera)
Also the proud and graceful great crested grebes displaying to each other with a balletic dance involving swift head movements and fluffing up of beautiful crest. Witnessed them in anger though when a rival male shot across the lake and a violent scrap occured. It was quite a way away but managed to get the gist of it in pictures.
Went up to see if we could get any more shots of Swoop (our barn owl) but she was nowhere to be seen.

The first lizard of Spring!

I was very surprised and pleased to see this little eye peering up at me - a common lizard on the side of Longridge Fell! It's obviously just come out of hibernation as normally it would have been off like a shot before I'd got anywhere near it.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Watching a Barn Owl Strike

We had the great fortune to see a barn owl strike this early evening, and managed to capture it on camera. (Well, one of us did - Jo has spent the past 2 hours spluttering language that would cause a barn owl to glow pink as she'd put her lens on the wrong setting). Not the greatest photographs ever, but at least it's possible to see what's going on.

I'm not so sure what it's caught - a mole?

Not a happy bunny...

This unfortunate rabbit was found just at the entrance to a small evergreen forest. It was quite fresh, and there was still a fair amount of meat left on the skeleton. As you an see, the head had been removed and the fur/skin had been torn back from the carcass. Various organs were scattered about. Click on the image for a much larger version of the photo.

Any ideas about what may have had rabbit pie? Our current guess is that it's a stoat.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Spring emerges from out of the grey gloom

After a couple of gloomy, grey weeks where every effort to venture outside seemed to be met with camera-ruining drizzle, the sun finally shone and I was able to get out and feel the emergence of Spring, though Jo was unfortunately chained to her desk.

We're aware of where our local hares spend their day, so I managed to get pretty close to them before they hopped into the next field and out of sight. Usually the first sign of a hare is its rapidly disappearing backside!

Also spotted were three buzzards, a cormorant, some randy geese, the odd lapwing, and a few curlews. The colourful red fungus in the final photos is scarlet elf cup (Sarcoscypha coccinea) which is making an appearance in quite a few woods at the moment.