Thursday, April 5

Holiday wildlife

We went to Scotland hoping to see some wildlife. We are not patient enough to sit for hours just waiting for animals to decide to pop along for a short visit and don't particularly relish travelling miles searching out particular animals. We can sit in a bird hide for a little while if there is something to watch but just can't sit for hours watching a lake where the only birds visible are pinpricks in the distance. We quite like to spot things as we are out and about! I suppose in this sense we are lazy wildlife watchers not really having staying power.

This is maybe one reason that we didn't manage to see everything we had hoped to see and photograph.

Most of our encounters happened in the garden of the cottage that we rented. On an evening we watched bats circling but I'm afraid to capture a photo of any was just impossible. 

Our second encounter was also a bit too quick to take a photo of and was a hare that decided to run across the lawn and up the embankment before heading up the drive.

Birds were constantly flittering and twittering in the trees with many of the same species as we get in our garden paying a visit. 

After our journey to Scotland we ended up with quite a bit of dry bread so I decided to soak it in water and see what came along. We got a bit more than we had bargained for as we soon acquired a pair of resident pheasants. According to the RSPB these birds must have been on the edge of their range even though we saw plenty in fields and along roadsides as we travelled along.
The male pheasant became very vocal once the food supply ran out - fortunately we had enough bread to keep them happy for the week..
His wife was less demanding and would happily browse in the undergrowth after tucking in to bread pudding.
They weren't very tolerant of any other birds that chose to join them but the many chaffinches took their chances.

The song thrush and pied wagtail preferred to just watch all the activity from a safe distance. I also heard, but didn't, see grouse usually in the late afternoon to early evening.
There were plenty of common gulls on the many lochs. I wonder why many people still call them seagulls.
In the woods we kept catching fleeting glimpses of roe deer mainly the flash of a disappearing white rump until that is one female accidentally ended up on our side of the fence.
She paced and trotted up and down looking for a way out and was very wary of the feisty male pheasant.
She kept looking at the closed gate that opened into the wooded area so Martyn went out and opened it for her. Eventually she braved the pheasant on sentry duty and escaped through to join her friend - or were they more than just friends? - on the other side of the fence.
The male's antlers are still in velvet.

And then I know what you are wondering - did we see it - well what do you think?


Just look really carefully at the photo below:
Can you see it? If not here is a closer view>
No-one else was about to see it but we had a great view of it from our holiday cottage!



21 comments:

  1. Great pics Sue! What in the world is the last photo??? Absolutely amazing!

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    1. That was my first thought. I was just so shocked when I saw the picture. That picture is just amazing! The pictures that I have seen looked different. I'm going to check out that site. That is one HUGE creature for sure!!

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    2. My original photo are here Robin. Take a look!

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  2. It must be true then if you've seen it with your own eyes, though I think this post should have been posted on 1st April. Would you believe that we saw a deer a couple of weeks ago on the roundabout on Selby Road near Sainsbury's? We couldn't believe our eyes when we first saw it, but apparently they've been spotted there a number of times by other people. My mum and dad used to get pheasants in their garden all the time, they're real characters and great to watch.

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    1. Whatever could you mean by us needing to post on 1 April Jo?

      We have friends who have seen a deer just outside Middleton too. The male pheasant we had was really a character but you should have seen him pick up his skirts and run when the dog barked at him!

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  3. The deer are beautiful. I'm not a very good waiter either, I tend to have to happen across animals if I am to see them. Send my regards to Nessie, or is that something from the set of Crocodile Dundee 15 - Attack of the Giant Gators?

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    1. Definitely Nessie Liz!

      As for the deer you wouldn't believe how many shots I fired off just to get a few half decent photos. I reckon the second deer photo would be good for a caption!

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  4. Fabulous photos, Sue, especially the close-up of the male pheasant. I've been trying to photograph a Chaffinch in my garden, but I have so far failed to get a decent shot. Even my longest lens doesn't really do the job - maybe I need a specialist long lens for wildlife pics! (How long till Christmas??)

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    1. Do you use rapid burst Mark as without that you haven't a chance even with a long lens? To be honest we considered a long lens but having read up about them and taking plus and minuses into account the lens on my camera is fine even at a long distance. It's an 24X optical zoom - it is the burst firing though that makes the difference. You end up with lots of shots to sift through but there is usually something worth keeping.

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  5. Some great pics. Sue...you certainly got some wonderful photos of the wildlife. I must remember to take my camera to work sometime...we have a hive of activity in the school yard after all the children have left....no deer though...and definitely not a Nessie...that last one is an awesome pic no matter what it is!!

    How you getting on with the new blogger layout??

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    1. I don't really like the new layout Tanya, I tried it a while ago and switched back - on the ole layout it was much easier to find everything you wanted to do. The new one seems to 'hide' things. As yet I haven't found any direct links to Picasa or to the Blogger Help group!

      BY the way the original Nessie photo is here

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    2. Lol..very good...yet my Nephew guessed what it was...probably helps that i have a pet gecko!!

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  6. Great pictures - my camera isn't good enough to get shots like that it's great to see garden favourites up close like that.

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    1. The pheasants are certainly out just now. They are such stupid birds - huge numbers killed on the roads. They peck up the grit from the roadsides for their crops, but don't have any traffic sense.
      Where I come from in the north east of Scotland we call inland gulls 'hill gulls'.
      Glad Nessie obliged for you...

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    2. There were one or two others that I wanted to see, Elaine like red squirrels which were not in evidence - shame that's twice I've been somewhere that should have them and not seen any!

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    3. We did see lots of pheasant road kill on the road travelling home Linda - it was a wonder there were any left!

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  7. Some really great photos! Especially like the close up of the pheasant. It can be really difficult to take photos of birds and animals (they just won't stand still at times!) :)

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    1. That's where using burst or rapid fire comes in Handy Kelli. Even then many of the deer shots were a blur. It kept being spooked by the pheasant!

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  8. Is that an extinct creature? Looks like a fun and relaxing trip.

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    1. It was relaxing Diana - the creature is probably not what it seems - try looking here.

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