I’m on parenting duty again this weekend, so no badger watching. But there’s always something wildlifey to be seen out there.
Take these tracks for instance. They appeared overnight in Scarlett’s sandpit (yes, I really have used my daughter’s plaything as an impromptu tracking box.
The scale is in centimetres, so the tracks are small. I’m thinking they’re from a mouse from the size and the trail pattern. These tracks have alternate footprints and an obvious tail-drag. The guidebooks are a little unclear on mouse tracks: some say that a tail-drag is present, others not, and the gait of a mouse can be either walking (alternate tracks) or jumping (parallel tracks). Since I can’t think of anything else that could have made them, I’m going for mouse anyway.
I’ve spent most of the day laying the paving on the new play area in the garden, but since it was a nice evening I took Scarlett out for a short stroll. It occurred to me that it’s been a little while since we’ve been for a walk, so I took the opportunity. It’s a longer business now, walking with her, but fun. She alternates walking and being carried, and she insists on stopping to pick up interesting sticks and stones (where did she inherit that habit from, I wonder…?)
We were accompanied on the walk by a Green Woodpecker that kept flitting ahead of us, from treetops to the ground and back again. I’ve seen these in the garden a few times, but oddly, I’ve never seen one in the wild, even though I hear their distinctive ‘yaffle’ call most times I visit the wood. This one was obliging enough to pose for a long-range photograph.
The highlight of our little walk came as we headed back home. A sparrowhawk flew past us along the lane, swooping below the level of the hedgerows on either side. Gripped in its talons was a sparrow-sized bird – it had obviously just caught it and was taking it to secure place to pluck and eat it. A splendid sight, and one that made me glad I’d got outside, even if it was just a brief walk.