Dogs and their owners

I decided today to go for a walk around the Country Park. This is something that I am wary of doing on a Sunday because of the vast number of dogs that seem to be literally unleashed upon the world. However, as today was a bit soggy I thought I would take a chance, and I was by and large proved right.

However, as is the case nine times out of ten the people walking the dogs decided that as they were not near a road they did not need to put their dogs on a lead. Why not, I really don’t understand? If they want their dogs to roam free, let them do it in their back garden.
I personally resent having someone’s pointy toothed, slobbering dog coming bounding up to me (and I, unlike many people, am not particularly afraid of dogs), but more than that, this is a country park, there is a lot of wildlife about, and uncontrolled dogs and wildlife do not mix.

On a similar theme, my other question is, why do so many dog owners drive somewhere to take their dogs for a walk. I tend to walk wherever I can, I like the exercise, I usually find it relaxing, and it is more environmentally friendly. However, nearly every day I see people getting out of their cars, letting the dog out of the back so it can have a run round and annoy me and the wildlife. What happened to taking the dog for a walk, when did people start taking their dog for a drive?

Reflections on a day at Brandon Marsh nature reserve

Brandon Marsh - Oct 2006Today I decided to have a day out at Brandon Marsh on the edge of Coventry. This is a reserve that I like to visit occassionally, just because it is a nice place to go (despite having to get in the car to get there). I was perhaps hopeful that I would see the osprey that seems to have been mentioned on the bird sitings page of the Brandon Marsh for the last few weeks. Needless to say that I did not see the elusive bird. However, what I sometimes like about birdwatching is looking at the more common birds up close and the behaviour that they exhibit. I could never be a twitcher, imagine rushing up and down the country to see something that could fly away at any moment – how much pollution would I cause doing that.

So, what did I see, mainly lots of ducks (including the grey and brown, but incredibly beautiful Gadwall), lots of lapwing and jays, and also (sorry Nick I know that you have always wanted to see one) at least six sitings of kingfishers.

But, thanks to a very nice man in one of the hides who owned a spotting scope, I also saw snipe for the first time ever. I will be eternally grateful to him, especially for his stories about how he seems to be the last person to see the birds in the sitings book, despite being there on the same day!! I am not the only one that this happens to then!! (Someone allegedly saw the Osprey about 5 minutes after I left the East Marsh hide.)

Is it usual to have butterflies in the middle of October?

I have been holiday from work for the past few days and so have spent some time looking around. One thing that I noticed, and I am not sure if is unusal for this time of year is the number of red admiral butterflies still around. I know that they are attracted to the ivy flowering in my neighbours garden (as mentioned on Autumnwatch – the attraction of butterflies to ivy flowers that is, not my neighbour’s garden), but it is the middle of October.

Is this something that is usual, or is it in part due to the very warm weather we are having at the moment?

Whatever the reason, these butterflies are definitely a welcome site on a sunny October morning. Perhaps we should all follow Bill Oddie’s lead and plant some more ivy!