When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Wagtail adapts to modern life
“LITTLE Trotty wagtail” is a poem written by John Clare (1793-1864), the peasant naturalist-poet who bemoaned the loss of our countryside.
He would, however, have been surprised at how well the pied wagtail has adapted to life in towns. Being a water-based bird, it has coped better with the weather of 2012 than many other species.
The pied wagtail earns both of its names.
It is black and white in colour and does wag its very long tail as it moves about the stones around rivers and buildings.
This works perfectly to help the bird keep its balance and resembles a tightrope walker.
It is just over seven inches long (18cms) and more than 500,000 pairs now breed in Britain.
The nest is sited in holes in walls and in old — and sometimes not so old — buildings. The nest of grass is lined with hair, or feathers. Two or three broods are raised in each season and accounts for the fact that it is so common.
In winter, pied wagtails roost in large numbers, choosing the roots of buildings which are kept warm by the warmth of the buildings with their central heating.
FAMILY FOX VISITS EVERY NIGHT
THIS week I was invited to visit a friend in the Lake District who had been adopted by a fox.
Two years ago the young fox was lying in the snow and he gave it a tin of dog food. The vixen has been coming back every night for its free handout.
If it sees my friend with a tin, it does not run away, but if anyone else is in the area it runs away, but peeps out from behind a bush until the coast is clear.
It does not even seem to worry about the camera, providing her friend held it along with the tin.
I asked if the fox had a preference for which tin, but it did not seem to matter.
The fox enjoyed tins of sardines, and also munched away on apples. For those who hate foxes, all I would say is that most foxes do not kill if they are well fed. One thing I can see is that I did enjoy watching the fox at its favourite cafe.
SPIDER PIONEERED THE AQUALUNG!
MANY people who enjoy water sports give praise to the inventor of the aqualung.
Once again, however, nature got their first. The water spider builds an air pocket of silk under water.
It then makes visits to the surface and collects air which it traps within its body. This air is transferred to the air pocket, which inflates like a balloon. The spider then moves about, but returns to its air bubble to obtain the essential oxygen.
It also rests within this aqualung. The most dangerous part of the spider’s life is when it is at the surface, and so it carries air to its bubble during the night.
Spiders are hunters, and the water spider feeds on small insect larvae.
It bites them and injects a poison which converts the body of its prey into a “soup”, which the spider then drinks.
While spiders are normally land based, the water spider shows just how versatile nature is!
Comments are closed on this article.