Monday 22nd June:
I was planning to volunteer on another school trip today but I haven’t been feeling that great this weekend so I stayed at home. Walter the pigeon chick died at some point during the night. I have been expecting it in a way but I thought if he was going to go he would have already. He seemed to be perking up. He certainly had an appetite and even had little feathers starting to show through. I really don’t know what happened. Yesterday I introduced mashed peas into his diet and I wonder if it was too soon, or I didn’t give him enough moisture with his food or if he got a little infection of some sort. It’s all very sad.
I had a hospital appointment today and Marcus came with me. It was a really quick visit; we were in and out within half an hour. I’m on the evening rota this week so I had over 2 hours until I needed to be at work. Marcus wanted to collect some elderflowers so I decided to take him to a nearby nature reserve that I used to go to with the Conservation Society at uni. The weather has been really strange today, changing from wonderful hot sunshine to rain and even (according to Marcus) hail! But we were lucky and the sun stayed out for us while we took a slow walk around the lake. We saw a pair of coots with their young, a long tailed tit and some big black carp. There were a lot of what looked like badger snuffle holes, but I suppose they could have been from people digging for worms to fish with. I buried Walter under a log by the lake and covered the box in leaf litter and sticks. I think it was a nice resting place for him; it was so peaceful and we only saw one other person there! I felt like Marcus and I were in our own little paradise.
We carried on walking through the reserve and came out in a huge meadow. It had a couple of old goalposts on it but we were still the only ones around. The meadow was lined with big elderflower trees so Marcus filled up our bag while I wandered round looking at bees and flowers. I found some strange mushrooms coming up – I can’t wait for our weekend funghi course in October, hopefully I’ll be able to identify a few after that!
I pointed out a little aphid ‘farm’ to Marcus and told him what I’d heard on Springwatch: how ants collect the sweet honeydew excreted by the aphids and that if they grow wings, the ants bite them off to keep so they can’t get away.
I also spotted this lovely little Clouded Border, Lomaspilis marginata, kindly identified for me by one of the AFONers on Facebook.
Although I was disappointed that I didn’t feel well enough to go out on the school trip today, it was really nice to spend an afternoon with Marcus and being outside, finding this beautiful meadow and spotting species that I’ve not noticed got me quite excited and I felt a lot better this evening.
It’s such a shame about poor little Walter though. You can never predict how these things will go.
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