Friday, May 30, 2008

Catching Up

Its been rather dreary this week and I have not taken many photos. The fungus on the tree is in a local carpark. It is know as Chicken in the woods and when young is edible,
This is the bridge at Kingshat where we walked on Tuesday. We had to wade to the bridge because heavy rain had caused the River Beaulieu to burst its banks. Unfortunately on our return crossing we had a rather nasty experience when a rather large Staffordshire bull terrier attacked Missy. Apart from a few scratches she was Ok but in recusin Missy , Karen got a small the dog continued to try and get at Missy. Missy was very shaken by the experience and when the owner of the dog realised that karen had been bitten she quickly fled the scene. Other than admitting that her dog was responsible for the attack and was going to be in "Big trouble she did very little to try and control her dog eventually aiming a few kicks at it. We did report it to the dog warden as had a smaller dog or a child been involved the outcome could have been much more serious.
Missy was very clingy for the rest of the day and snuggled up to Raffles for comfort.
Meanwhile on the ponds we saw the goslings, who have all grown although there are only 9 now. The second swan family has disappeared and we are hoping that it may have been relocated in an area without a resident family.
Missy was back to her happy self when we walked at Pigbush, also flooded from the recent rain.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Swan Wars?

After our walk on Thursday Morning we drove up to see the Swans. The family down at hatchetts Pond are doing well, but something seemed amiss at Hatchetts Moor. This is the Cob and he seemed to have abandoned his family. Their nesting site was at the far end of Hatchetts Pond out of site of the other family, but on Thursday the Pen and the cygnets were on the nest and dad was down in the little lily pond. We watched for about 30 mins and he just stayed put. In the afternoon i slipped back and he was still sitting on his own. Swans are usually very protective of their young and i was a little concerned. I phoned one of the Forest keepers and he said he would drop by and have a look. The problem is that Male swans will fight and he thought that the other male may have warned this one off, as they have had trouble in the past when more than one pair have chosen to nest on the same pond.
When I returned on Friday the family was reunited but they are now all down by the lily pond. This is a very small pond and I wonder how they will fare here.
The Seven Cygnets on Hatchetts pond are all doing well

Some of the cygnets

Mrs Swan at Hatchetts Moor with her three cygnets

Cygnets above and Daddy swan below

Friday, May 23, 2008

Abbotsbury Sub tropical gardens

After we had visited the swannery, we drove on a little way to see the Sub Tropical gardens . We had not expected them to be so big and we spent several hours wandering around. At one point we climbed the steep hill for views of the Jurassic coast, and in the distance we could make out the swans. It was very warm so it was good to get in the shade for a bit. The gardens were worth visiting and they do a very nice cream tea in the colonial tea house. The pheasnts seemed to know when they might find some crumbs and turned up to see what we had left.
The Golden Pheasants were wandering around the gardens
From the viewpoint we could see the swannery

Plenty of Lambs about

Arum Lily
Rhododendrum in the shade
Bee on Allium

Little bridge
Lily and below green veined white butterfly

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Abbotsbury Swannery

Abbotsbury Swannery conserves the only manged colony of nesting Mute swans in the world.Mute Swans are usually fiercely territorial by nature and it is therefore rare to see so many nesting swans in such close proximity to each other.but there are up to 150 pairs on a 2acre nesting site.There are often more than 600 adult swans on the site. In England the crown claims ownership of Mute swans with only three exceptions one of which is Abbotsbury. In1543 the Strangways family was given the right to claim ownership of all the nesting swans on the site and the family still own the swannery today,
Cygnets in a cosy bed.
New born cygnets and swans eggs
Riding a white swan.
feeding time for the non breeding swans


Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Weekend in The Forest

On Saturday I slipped up to Hatchetts Pond and found the second pair of swans now have three little cygnets.The Pen was still sitting on the nest on Thursday so these are fairly young!
Today we walked along Dockens Water, one of the small streams in the Forest. Along the banks the pretty little speedwell was in flower.
This broad Bodied chaser was prowling up and down
and these large red damselflies were getting rather friendly!
Back at the pond the goslings and ducklings are all doing well and the Irises are in flower

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Wild Cats

Some more photos from last weeks trip to the British Wildlife Centre. In the afternoon we went into the Wild cat enclosures.

Wild Cat - Felis silvestris

Britain's only wild member of the cat family bears a close resemblance to the domestic tabby, but it is more striped and has a bushier, blunt-ended tail marked with thick black rings. Now confined to the Scottish highlands, wild cats disappeared from southern England in the 16th century; the last one recorded in northern England was shot in 1849.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act gives strict legal protection to wild cats and their dens. They are easily confused with 'feral' cats, which are domestic cats living wild, of which there are about 900,000 in Britain today.

Unfortunately the two species also interbreed to give hybrids, which makes it extremely difficult to define the genetic purity of a wildcat.

The wild cat has suffered considerable decline in population and is now considered at serious risk of extinction in this country.

The cats may look like the domesticated cat, but no way would you pick one of these up and stroke it. They hissed if they felt you were too close and we were warned to always allow them an escape route

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Young Ones

It is still very warm in the Forest and today after walking the dogs early we took a ride through the forest stopping off at the ponds along the way. We Now have two families of Canada geese on Cadmans pond.Goslings are so cute. The little ducklings were everywhere , lost count of the number of families we had, they are several different ages now.
By the side of the road we came across some sweet looking calves.Calves are so pretty and yet they seem to lose it as theygrow up.
Down on Hatchetts pond the 7 little cycgnets are all doing well. There is a second pair of swans,at the far end of the pond but no sign of cygnets there yet.
There are plenty of foals now on the forest and again we have different ages. The earlier foals are about 6 weeks old now, but they will continue to appear until September.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Otters at the British Wildlife centre

After spending some time with the foxes we moved on to the otters.They have several pairs . We were warned that they do bite and not to touch them. In one of the photos you can just see my shoe which was nibbled by the female otter. It was very hot and the sun was reflecting off the water so we had to keep moving around to find the best positions to avoid the glare.

The otter is a large member of the weasel family (mustelids) with an amphibious lifestyle. In the wild they are elusive, secretive animals and live in undisturbed rivers, streams and estuaries. In the early 1960’s they were on the verge of extinction due to river pollution, habitat loss and hunting. Now with full legal protection, cleaner rivers and managed habitat it is returning to its former haunts, although its distribution will always be limited by the availability of fish The male otter is called a dog and the female a bitch. They have large lungs and can stay submerged under water for 4 minutes, often swimming 400 metres before resurfacing. They can reach speeds of 12 km/h under water and can outrun man on land.

The males occupy large ranges, which may include up to 20 km of river bank and daily travel long distances along regular routes by the margins of the river.