Thursday, 6 March 2014

That missed sighting

Hello and welcome to my latest blog. As I mentioned in my previous piece, I have recently started volunteering at my local nature reserve and with the weather significantly improving, the flooding which had thwarted much of my efforts on an earlier visit had largely disappeared. It was such a joy to be serenaded by an assortment of bird songs while I worked, however despite my best efforts to locate the culprits, the long reed beds concealed them perfectly. Rabbits scampered over the grassland a mixture of playful and exuberance and nervous energy constantly alert to the slight rustle in a nearby bush or an unfamiliar scent which may betray the presence of a predator. And while watching all of this I still kept a faint hope that I may just catch a glimpse of one of the resident otters perhaps lurking on the river bank. It was not to be. However there's always next time for that ambition to be realised.
That missed sighting
"Can't you see it"!? "No. Where ?!" "It's just disappeared can't believe you didn't see it". We've all had conversations similar to that haven't we ? When you chose to look away at precisely the moment something you would desperately not want to miss suddenly presents itself and then just as quickly disappears. This happened again only the other night having been picked up from the train station after a long day at university. I was distracted, thoughts of whether the data analysis for my dissertation required a chi square test or not were still bouncing around my increasingly scrambled mind, the pressures of the final year are taking its toll. So when I glanced out the passenger window my attention was not fully on the potential  for wildlife sightings. Then my brother spoke "Did you see that? Defiantly an owl, the size, the way it flew I'm sure that was a tawny owl". No was the answer to his question I hadn't. Distracted, the owl had flown right across the road  into the woodland and out of sight. That was pretty galling. I've seen barn owls before and heard plenty of tawny owls in the woodlands near our home but have never seen one, concentration levels must be improved !
British birds part 2- Brilliant Buzzards.
What a makes a walk in the countryside so special for you? The crisp crunch of fallen autumn leaves underfoot while wrapped up against the bracing elements? or maybe it's the arrival of spring where the foxgloves and bluebells are starting to make an appearance flourishing after winter has lost its vice like grip. Personally no outing is complete without hearing the trademark mewing call of most abundant raptor in the United Kingdom, the Buzzard. Effortlessly soaring the skies above Britain, this stunning bird now listed as green status on the conservation list with between 57,000-79,000 pairs breeding in the United Kingdom, has made a remarkable recovery from the dark days of persecution. Like so many other birds of prey, the buzzard was also severely affected by the use of pesticides in the 1950's and 60's with populations only recovering once their use had been banned, and now the species has breeding populations in every county in the United Kingdom. This beautiful bird has been the victim of its own success however leading to the licensing of nests to be destroyed in 2013. Personally this was a decision that made my blood boil. The sight of a buzzard on perched on a lamppost, captured in all its glory by the sun’s rays, surveying its territory, or perhaps looking for it’s next meal will always be one worthy of many an admiring gaze for a bird that can populate so widely and show such adaptability and resolve in the face of such adversity over the decades deserves nothing less than the utmost admiration and respect.
Extinct species:   Five facts on the Woolly Mammoth
1) The tusks of the woolly mammoth were absolutely enormous, measuring up to fifteen feet in length on the largest males. It is thought the predominate reason for their size was to act as a sexual characteristic the larger and curvier the tusk the more appealing they were to females.
2) Their ears in contrast were small, meaning that the surface area of skin exposed to the elements was as minimal as possible.
3) The woolly mammoth was one of thirteen species of mammoth to belong to the genus Mammuthus primigenius.
4 ) A sparse population of woolly mammoths clung onto existence on Wrangel Island off the Siberian cost before finally disappearing around 1700 BC and with their demise meant the complete extinction of woolly mammoth.
5) Debate has sprung up surrounding the woolly mammoth since it has appeared it could be possible to clone them via the harvesting of DNA and then incubating the fetus in a living pachyderm.
Information sourced from the work off Bob Strauss.
Did anyone see this ? pretty amazing that is for sure.
That's all from me for now thanks for reading
George :)
Twitter @ReallyWildWykes

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