Saturday, 31 May 2008

The Bicycling Naturalist

After last night's posting about the antics of the garden birds in my parents North East garden, the next posting was meant to be about seabirds. That's not a seabird I can hear you say. It's a bicycle. Correct it's my 20 year old Dawes Fox, and a trusty steed it's been these many a year. Designed like me for comfort, not speed.

After mist the morning was glorious and so a bike ride around the lanes of Wick St Lawrence. Which became 10 miles in 2 hours, I'm not exactly pushing myself!! I don't do enough exercise anyway, so bicycling around lanes is an excellent way of seeing wildlife while covering a bit of ground and getting fitter. It always fascinates me that while cycling wildlife by and large will ignore the traveler, but stop and they're off. Thomas Hardy had a great poem about this, Wagtail and Baby. Reading the old Edwardian naturalists they travelled miles and miles on bicycles, and I have to say it does give one a different view of the countryside, and of course if something interesting is seen, one can stop immediately and have a proper look.

Such as these emergent Small Eggar Eriogaster lanestris caterpillars I spied on some Blackthorn. The day produced other interest, Buzzard mobbed by Rooks, Swallows and House Martins collecting mud from fields, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Reed Warbler all in song and a bank vole across the road were amongst the highlights. Sadly no Spotted Flycatchers at a known spot.

But the day really is about the atmosphere of cycling around lanes, peaceful, non-polluting, and a great way to see countryside in all it's glory. If you can, I'd recommend getting out of the car and giving it a go. It's amazing what you'll see. I therefore leave you with a "point of view" memento of the morning as I cycled back to the village of Wick St Lawrence with the birds singing and the shadows over the lane.

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