An otter's skull!
As we were walking around the Applecross peninsula looking for otters, we wondered what happened to their remains after they died. We decided that a good proportion would be taken by the sea while others may just lay in holts that then become unused. Certainly it would be highly unlikely that humans ever came across the bones of an otter.
Of course, the very next day we found this otter skull about ten yards beyond a beach, no doubt washed up on a high tide. It had certainly been weathered and had lost the lower jaw, but most of its teeth were still present.
Warblers were out in force at Leighton Moss with numerous sightings of reed warblers and black caps. We also heard a few grasshopper warblers that were well hidden in the reeds. The photos are of a reed warbler (top)and a black cap.
I was particularly pleased to get the photos of the reed warbler in the reeds, as it's very difficult to get the camera to focus where you want it too when there are so many reeds that the camera wants to focus on instead.
Went up to Leighton Moss on Tuesday and decided to camp nearby so we could get up early on Weds and see what was about at 6am.
Had a fantastic couple of days watching Marsh Harriers (about 3 pairs) dancing, seeing off attacks from buzzards, gathering nesting materials etc. Also Great Crested Grebes doing their beautiful courtship displays, deer, black caps, bearded tits, reed warblers, the mad antics of the black headed gulls and ultra exciting for us at 6.25am on Wednesday morning- an otter!! Our first English otter and our first in fresh waters. It was right on the other side of the lake so the photos are the worst we've ever taken and simply act as a proof to the viewing but we got better look through the bins. A grey lag goose drew my attention to the otter by flying in circles around where it swam. Though there was a Canada goose and a moorhen quietly sitting at the reed edge not freaking out at all. It looked to me as though the otter was having a last play before bed - not too intent on hunting -so perhaps the birds could sense this. Many greylags have young at the moment so perhaps this accounts for the more panicked reaction of the goose.
Anyway we'll stick some pictures up in batches over the coming days. To start with here are some Marsh Harriers snaps.
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).
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.
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.