I'm currently waiting for game 7 of the Stanley Cup ice hockey championships to start, and as it's being held in Vancouver, it's pretty late for us in the UK. I looked out of the window, expecting to see one of the many rabbits that converge on the outside lawn at night, but found a hedgehog instead. Not exactly rare, but we're normally asleep or without cameras when they are about, so I dived downstairs and took a few photos. The hedgehog was very obliging, posing for a minute or two before scuttling off in search of slugs.
Incidentally, it appears to have a patch of grey spikes on one side - now what did Springwatch say about hedgehogs going grey?
Went to see whether we could spot our Barn Owl again but had no luck. Driving home we spotted a hare sitting close to the road in a field seemingly just begging to be photographed- unfortunately it sped off before we got out of the car. Whilst we stood watching him haring away I noticed another barn owl fly through a missing pane of glass into a barn. It was quite away away but managed a few shots and thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of it hunting and returning.
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.