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Monday, February 23, 2015

Unexpected visitors

Here are a number of sightings I have noted over the last few weeks which have been more unusual and whilst not unheard of, may be of interest.

Whilst walking back from Chard via the lanes earlier in the month I glanced into a field and saw 40+ Lapwing, along with a few Black-headed gulls. The weather was cold and bright but had been frosty in the morning and the field was being warmed by the sun so the birds were taking advantage of the conditions and were feeding hungrily on any worms etc that they could prise out of the ground. Every now and again a gull would harry one of the Lapwings and the flock would take to the air, flapping with their distinctively rounded wings, before settling again and continuing to feed. A lovely sight and not one we get very often round here, though once they would have been a regular visitor to farmland. I have seen small flocks of Lapwing passing through overhead occasionally but they are more often found on marshy areas such as on the Somerset Levels where some of the highest UK concentrations are to be found in the winter months.

On another cold but bright morning I saw two foxes out in the open in a field near Combe Wood Lane, copulating . They were some distance off but clearly "locked together" and remained so for a considerable time, seemingly oblivious to anything else about.  

Fox in the garden
Last week there was another fox in the open, this time in our garden sunning itself under the bird feeders. Grabbing the camera my husband got time to take one picture as it walked away and we quickly warned our neighbour to watch out for it as they keep chickens. It seemed to have an injured leg as it limped and may not have been able to catch much even if it tried.

Black swan  at Chew Valley Lake
Last weekend we had a trip to Chew Valley Lake, a reservoir near Shepton Mallet which is well known for visiting winter wildfowl and various rarities. Unfortunately the weather was atrocious, making waves on the water seem like you were at the coast. We had hoped to see a Great northern diver which had arrived a few days before, somewhat off course from its normal coastal environment! The weather was against us though and we had to content ourselves with a view of this somewhat unexpected Black Swan!

Finally, as I sat down to type up this blog post, I was somewhat surprised to glance out of the window and see that it was snowing heavily, though thankfully it didn't settle, such weather was an unexpected visitor that was definitely not welcome!

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