Rabbits are so much a part of the countryside that we take them for granted, but while the are now a vital part of the foodchain, they have only been here for less than a milennia . . . It is just over a century since Peter Rabbit ventured into Mr MacGregor’s garden. Until then […]
‘Mad as a March hare’ is a familiar expression, but one which means little to many young people. Few people fortunate enough to have seen a group of these surprisingly large creatures bouncing like boxing kangaroos across the frost-dusted grass will forget it however . . .
Barn owls are often described as ‘threatened’ or ‘declining’, but in reality they are far more common than most people imagine. Many are fooled into thinking they are absent because they are rarely seen. They assume that such comparatively large, white, bird that hunts in the half light of dawn and dusk would be highly visible if present.
After two or three disastrous breeding seasons, butterflies are fortunately beginning to appear in large numbers again. Thanks to their brightly coloured wings and nectar diet, these are one of the few popular insects families.
The coming weeks are the best time to see what must be our most colourful bird along our rivers and lakes. Even the most ignorant birdwatcher should have no difficultly recognising the small electric blue form streaking away low and fast across the water, for kingfishers are unmistakable with their bright metallic blue-green backs, orange breasts and red feet. At first glance the sexes appear identical, but when viewed close up, the female has a red lower mandible. In common with most birds, the young are drabber than their parents, only gaining the full iridescent plumage of their parents as they reach breeding age at a year old.
December 2009 – Partridge is available throughout the autumn and makes the perfect vehicle for a wild mushroom sauce…
Many innate fears are instinctive. Take for example, a child’s need of a nightlight. This is probably genetically programmed, plugged into a distant African past when leopards and lions lurked in the shadows to seize the unwary. Or there are entirely rational worries about heights – after all, one slip could mean death.
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