Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tuesday 26th.June 2011

Had one day off volunteering this week , so did a few more jobs around the house , boosting the 'brownie points' , then took the rubbish from yesterday's job to the dump , and combined a walk around South Norwood Country Park afterwards . With mostly cloudy and dull skies but humid , there was little to be seen birdwise . A fleeting glimpse of a juvenile Kestrel begging for food from an adult whilst on the wing was just about the best sighting . Around the lake was the same apart from a male Coot whispering sweet nothings in the ear of his partner . But things changed when a family arrived at the feeding platform across the other side from where I was standing , and proceeded to throw large amounts of bread into the water . Ducks and Geese and other waterfowl started heading for the feast , and I made my way too . By the time I arrived , many of the participants had had their fill and were moving back into cover , but there was still a large amount of bread both on the water and on the platform . The family soon moved off , and I stood quietly watching . The first Brown Rats appeared around the litter bin , and were very wary about coming out into the open , but hunger got the better of them and quick snatches and dashes became the tactic . In the quiet , some became braver , and started to swim out from the bank to get at the floating bread . I spotted a couple of smaller juvenile individuals scampering amongst the waterside vegetation , but not entering the water like the adults . But it got too inviting for one juvenile , who showed poise and determination , as it made it's way along a stick over the water , using another stick as support for it's tail . Eventually , the tail wasn't long enough to reach the other stick , so the tail got wet , but the youngster got it's prize , and made it back to dry land with it .
On the way back home , I stopped at the Common to check on the Broad-leaved Helleborines that I mentioned a few days ago . I reached the clearing that we made a couple of years ago and started counting . I a mater of 2/3 minutes , I had reached 50 , and that was without trying too hard , so it would seem that they are going from strength to strength . Almost the last plant counted produced interest in the shape of a Common Wasp collecting what I assume are pollen sacks . It was continually on the move between flowers and after watching it for several minutes , saw it fly off , with great difficulty . I thought it wasn't going to make it , but after a couple of crash landings , it gained height and was away .


Warren Baker said...

Good rat story Greenie, Rats are cool in my book :-)

Greg said...

Greenie, the wasp is a Median Wasp, Dolichovespula media, rather than a common wasp (something that arrived in the 80s and is now quite common in the south east). It will be drinking nectar - the pollinia are unintentional (on the part of the wasp, at least!)