Friday, 7 June 2013

Wildlife here, there and everywhere!

 Hello and welcome to my latest blog, I trust you all have been keeping well this issue sees the return of the series "senses" while I talk about my recent wildlife experiences including seeing an old favourite bird species of mine, the Goldfinch. As always your feedback is much appreciated and I hope you enjoy this edition
A wide range of wildlife
It's always nice to see a bird species you've not seen for a while so my delight on a visit to my Uncles home to see a pair of beautiful Goldfinches Carduelis carduelis feeding on the selection of seeds left out for them on a feeding station just outside the window was obvious. The bright sunshine really showed off the colours this beautiful member of the finch family is famous for as they fed nervously in the warmth of the late morning sun, constantly on the lookout for predators looking to find their own breakfast. Eventually maybe because they had had their fill or maybe nerves got the better of them they flew off, leaving me thrilled to of seen a species after such a long time without being lucky enough to witness one.
Our own back garden provides home for a wide range of avian species, including another of my personal favourites the Jay Garrulus glandarius. Recently however, we have a new particularly confident visitor more than happy to take advantage of any free offerings he can find, a male Pheasant Phasianus colchicus now frequently makes an appearance in the garden joining an assembly of other ground feeding birds picking of seeds, and any invertebrates unfortunate enough to find themselves exposed at exactly the wrong time. I on one occasion managed to snap a picture of him on his retreat back to the neighbouring field (see below) although you will have to excuse the poor quality as the image was taken on my iPod!
We knew our garden acted as a food source for mammal species including Foxes, Bats and small rodents however my younger brother was startled one night by the arrival of a most unexpected guest. The snuffling sounds of the mammals feeding behaviour betrayed its presence and my brother was shocked to be able to pick out in the darkness just a few feet away from him a Badger, seemingly oblivious to him being there. We assume that alongside feeding on any left overs the daytime visitors refused, the large numbers of slugs which also appear in large numbers at night, were another of away on this occasion and so missed this memorable experience.
I may have my issues with trains on occasions such as liberal time keeping, however as I have said before as far as viewing wildlife is concerned they do have their advantages. Recently I have been treated to some stunning views of majestic Buzzards Buteo buteo gliding effortless across fields while Rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus and Pheasants are a common but always welcome sight. This week I was lucky enough to see on two successive occasions a magnificent Red Fox Vulpes vulpes seemingly starting its evening hunting activity nose frantically sniffing the long grass perhaps on the trail of an unfortunate rodent or maybe even a predominantly ground dwelling bird like one of the Pheasants I had just witnessed. Either way these fleeting but wonderful views into the world of nature are what never fail to put a smile on my face.

Image taken by author (iPod)
5 species with amazing vision.

Tarsiers Tarsiidae
This nocturnal primate has the largest eyes relative to body size out of all mammals. Each eye weighs more than its brain and has outstanding night vision with some suggestions they may be able to see in ultraviolet light. Their eyes are unable to turn in their sockets, to make up for this disadvantage their flexible necks are able to turn 180 degrees to help them search for both predators and prey.

Leaf Tailed Gecko Uroplatus phantasticusThe pupils of this fascinating reptile are vertical and have a series of "pinholes" which widen at night allowing as much light in as possible. Having far more light sensitive cells than humans allows the Gecko to pinpoint objects and even colours at night. This species and other nocturnal gecko species can see 350 times better in dim light than humans can.


Four Eyed Fish Anablepidae.
The name of this species of fish is deceptive, only in fact possessing two eyes rather than the four the name suggests. These eyes are divided by a band of tissue however resulting in each half of an eye having a pupil of its own. This allows the fish to look both above and below the water simultaneously looking for potential prey and predators alike.

Ogre Faced Spider DinopidaeThis arachnid has six eyes but due to the fact the middle pair are so large some may mistakenly think they only have two. This adaption helps for a nocturnal existence alongside a very light sensitive layer of cells covering them, making for an extremely efficient and ruthless predator.

Stalk Eyed Fly DiopsidaeThese amazing creatures justify their name as a result of the long projections from the sides of their head which have eyes and antennae on the end. In almost all cases male flies will have longer stalks than females and it has been proven the longer the stalk the greater chance of mating success. Males also possess the incredible ability to enlarge their eyeballs by ingesting air through their mouth and subsequently pumped through the ducts in its head through to the eyestalks.

Trails and Tails Travel

Looking for a truly wild and wonderful adventure? want to see some natures most amazing natural creations ? Trails and Tails Travel offers a wide range of once in a lifetime opportunity to visit some of the most amazing locations on the planet run by Nicole and Matthew, you can loo at their website by following this link you can also connect with them on Facebook!/TrailsAndTailsTravel?fref=ts.


You can follow me on Twitter @ReallyWildWykes where I will be posting regular sources of wildlife news, images and of course my blog updates direct to my Twitter account :)

That's all for this week once again I hope you enjoyed untill next time all the best,