Saturday 20 June 2020

Lockdown Day 89 - more photos from cycle ride yesterday

As mentioned in yesterday's blog on my way back from seeing the Red-Footed Falcon (which apparently is still there today!) I cycled along some winding country lanes and stopped every so often to look at the wildlife and flowers. We are very lucky where we are in that within a couple of minutes of cycling or walking we can be out in the countryside even though we live in a terraced house on the edge of a small industrial town. We can take many cycle rides and walks into what I call the "deep countryside" well away from villages and towns and can find quiet lanes and plenty of wildlife.

Red-Legged Partridges (Alectoris rufa) is a gamebird which was first introduced to the UK in the 18th Century, and has become naturalised, in fact often more frequently seen than the native Grey Partridge (Perdix Perdix) (photos of the latter in my blog here ) . Usually when I have encountered them, they are very skittish and will run or fly off low as soon as they see people but the one pictured above had decided to sit on top of a barn and wasn't bothered with my presence. Somewhere in the cornfield I could hear at least one other making quite a peculiar, almost electronic sounding, calling.

Having left the partridge, I cycled a bit further and came across a goldfinch eating seeds from what looked like some kind of plant of the brassica family that had flowered and gone to seed. Often I will see goldfinches feeding on the seeds of teasels and thistles and they are a very social species with flocks of a dozen or more frequently visiting my parents' bird feeders.

Over the fields are skylarks and I also saw yellowhammers, chaffinches, a couple of meadow pipits, swallows and swifts.

There's been a lot of talk online recently about leaving verges uncut to allow wild flowers to flourish, and of course then all the associated insect life and so on up the food chain. Certainly around us, most of the verges are left uncut or just cut to a small extent near the actual road and coming up from Ulleskelf there were dozens of Red Campion (Silene dioica) plants flowering by the side of the road.

There was also lots of Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) along the same lane (in fact I have discovered some at the end of our street too!) but I had to wait until today to take a photo of one in a much safer place to pull over whilst cycling. 

Also today - although I couldn't safely stop and take a photo, we saw the edge of an oil seed rape field covered in red poppies, again by leaving a small area for nature it will respond and produce beauty and a much more environmentally beneficial landscape.  

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