Monday, June 27, 2011

I returned home to be find a grinning Mrs D holding out a full poop-scoop bag for me. I took it with some suspicion, but it was lightness itself, seemingly a bag of air, and on inspection contained the corpse of a bat. Not just any bat, but a Brown Long-Eared Bat.

Its ears are indeed very long. I got wondering why it has big ears, because if its just for sonar, then why doesn't every bat have huge ears?

Well I read here that its because this species specialising in mugging passing moths, so it has to be very quiet, and hence needs large ears to capture its very weak signal. So there you have it!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

And Did Those Feet?

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

Of all the ancient myths and legends that surround these islands, none is more mysterious and compelling than the notion that Jesus came to England, and founded a church in Glastonbury. William Blake believed it, and wrote Jerusalem on the basis of that myth. The modern version has Joseph of Arimathea as the visitor, founding a church in Glastonbury.

These stories are just unsubstantiated myths, but there us one intriguing relic in Glastonbury; the Glastonbury Thorn. This thorn is reputed to have grown from staff planted in the ground. Cutting of the thorn have been taken by many people and flourish in odd places round the tow. It flowers twice a year, and is allegedly a middle-eastern variety of thorn!

We went to Glastonbury to celebrate D#1's 16th birthday. We climbed the Tor, which has fantastic views, and lit a birthday cake with 16 candles. Or tried to light a candle, but the howling gale defeated us. We then spent the afternoon lazing in the grounds of the Abbey.

Not very good for birds

When in Weymouth, my regular morning chore is to walk the dogs. I normally go up the west side of the Wey, and then cross into the Reserve and up the buddleia loop to the bandstand that the RSPB has kindly provided so the local youth have somewhere to gather, light fires, and drink cheap cider.

I have explained to Mrs D that this walk isn't very good for birds, I wouldn't do it if it was just for the birds, and so this doesn't use any of my few birding credits.

Mrs D decided to accompany Elvis, Priscilla and me today, I took just the binoculars, and promised I'd mention any decent birds. I managed not to draw here attention to the Red Kite that flopped across the reserve (an unmarked one, so not the wing-tagged bird that was seen earlier in the year), and the Sparrowhawk going over was easy to ignore, but I couldn't avoid the Cuckoo that sat 10 yards away in the low branches of a tree and cu-coo'ing. Quite the best views of this species I've ever had, and given the way the population is declining probably the best I'll ever have.

"So it is quite good for birds then!" said Mrs D. "Well I think we've just been lucky today" I replied, whilst the resident pair of Marsh Harriers executed a perfect food pass just behind her.

Rarity chasing in Cambridgeshire part 2.

Last post left you on the edge of your seats as your intrepid birders ticked off the first of three potential rarities and headed off in sea...