An unreliable memoir

Posts tagged “animals



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Nikon D5200 Tamron 150-600mm f6.3 600mm 1/125 ISO 800

May safely graze


Nikon D5200 Tamron 150-600mm f6.3 600mm 1/250 ISO 450

New EU Ovine Grazing Regulations


New EU regulations coming into force this month require all sheep to be trained to graze kneeling down to avoid neck damage when bending to reach pasture. This brings the UK into line with practice in the rest of Europe.*

Nikon D5200 Tamron 150-600mm f5.6 260mm 1/250 ISO 400

* This is not true

Under Pressure

Common Lizard
Common Lizard, Lacerta vivipara. Nikon D5200 Tokina 100mm f8 1/90 ISO 200

Aw, a cute little lizard. Everybody loves a lizard.
Apart from grass snakes, VC55 (Leicestershire and Rutland) has few reptile hotspots. Intensive agriculture just doesn’t suit them, and a large human population is even worse. This shot was taken at the best known reptile site, where three species occur. But let’s take a closer look (i.e. back off a bit).

Common Lizard

This is a pregnant female. She has a regenerated tail meaning she has probably been handled in the past. I took this shot on an organized walk with a senior member of the Wildlife Trust, and it was taken from a public footpath which gets high numbers of walkers, including dog walkers, many of who do not keep their dogs on leads as requested to in the nature reserve – i.e. constant disturbance – not good for pregnant ladies just hoping for some peace to bask in the sun. The reserve also gets a lots of unwelcome attention from reptile “enthusiasts”, fossil hunters and simple morons (problems with livestock being let out, litter, etc). I’m really quite fearful about the future of this site which is really one of the (few) jewels of VC55. I hope Mrs Lizard is allowed to have her babies in peace. I hope future generations get to say, Aw, cute lizard.

The Monarch of the Glen

Red deer

OK, so Landseer got there first with his ultimate biscuit tin image of Scotland but I’m still quite pleased with this shot.

Nikon D5200 Tamron 150-600mm f8  600mm 1/750 ISO 200

Bonus shot: Mr Monarch with Mrs Monarch and Monarch Jnr:

Red deer family

What a difference a day makes

After yesterday’s decidedly dodgy weather I managed to get in a short walk today to make the most of a sunny interval. Siesta squirrels were doing the same:
Squirrel siesta

Soaking up the sun:
Squirrel siesta

The blue tits have spurned our mealworms (unlike the great tits which are going mad for them), and seem to prefer free range:
The Acrobat

But the blackbirds are always happy to mop up the spills under the feeders (during the rare magpie-free moments):

Slug Wars

Irish Yellow Slug

Nikon D5200 Tamron 70-300mm f32 130mm +68mm 1/60 ISO 1000

I had this down as a Yellow Slug – Limacus flavus, but David Nicholls of NatureSpot helped me identify it as Limacus maculatus. Both species are quite variable but the Yellow Slug is more lemon yellow and has a clear pale line along the keel, from the tail to at least half way along the body. This species has been expanding its range across Britain and seemingly replacing Limacus flavus along the way. It may be under-recorded due to confusion with Limacus flavus but it is expanding its range. These changes are one reason why citizen science nature recording sites such as NatureSpot (for Leicestershire and Rutland only) and iRecord (all the UK) are so important.

Eggs, likely from the same specimen:

Slug eggs

Lamprologus ocellatus

Lamprologus ocellatus
This charming inch long fish from Lake Tanganyika lays its eggs in old snail shells. My first underwater (semi) macro.

Nikon D5200 Tamron 70-300mm 140mm +68mm ƒ22 135mm 1/125 ISO 100


That’s not a dragonfly!

Highland cowWe went out looking for dragonflies at the weekend, but it was too windy, only saw one – everything else was hunkered down. Had to give up after a couple of hours, so we zipped over to Beacon Hill and took photos of … cows. The Longhorns are my favourite, but this Highland cow was probably the best shot. Although she looks fairly chilled, I think she was actually pretty uncomfortable – too hot and being bothered by flies. Shortly after this shot was taken, she flaked out altogether. I know how she felt.

Update: I’m sure there are weirder groups on Flickr than the one I’ve just been invited to join … but I don’t care to know about them.