Tag Archives: squirrels

Zoology Student

20 Nov

In case you are thinking I am still in the Sahara, I had better start by saying I am not, and I haven’t even been kidnapped by nomads – I suppose I wasn’t their type. Also, I didn’t steal that camel in the end. There have been numerous animal-related adventures since I last blogged, but I have not had an opportunity to write about them, because – to my great delight – I have embarked on a zoology degree. This is what has been taking up all of my time since I returned to Scotland.

Here’s a photographic catch-up of our Moroccan sojourn.

After Morocco, I went by myself to the Greek island of Corfu, to visit my father and stepmother. They live in a hill village surrounded by ancient olive groves, and their internet connection is not ideal for blogging.

It was lovely to see my family this summer, but it was also lovely to get home and be greeted by all the furries at our wee cottage. They had been well looked after, but even so, the rabbit and cats came crowding round me with enthusiasm and affection when they saw me. The guinea pigs greeted me by clamouring noisily for food.

I am enjoying university immensely. It’s like being eighteen again, only with less angst and less inclination to party all night. I am fond of this graffito outside my faculty building:

"i LiKe MiCe"

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Juvenile Swans

22 Apr

The campus where I study is a landscape of lawns and woodland full of rabbits and squirrels, interspersed with lochans aswim with all manner of waterfowl.

The wildlife can be seen from most buildings on the campus. I love to study at a library window, where I can watch them all scooting and scurrying about their business.

Scooting coots

With spring sprouting everywhere, I have been keeping an eye out for ducklings and cygnets. So far there has been no sign of them, so I was surprised when, all of a sudden, swans with brown patches were to be seen wandering the campus. The brown patches are a sign that they are still youngsters and have not finished growing their adult plumage.

Did I miss the scads of baby waterbirdlets, were they incubated and raised somewhere else – or are these last year’s juveniles?

Spring! And Can You Identify these Birds?

10 Feb

The sun was not just bright today: there was actual warmth in it too.  Buds were appearing on trees that had not yet shaken off all of their Autumn leaves, and the birds were in a state of high excitement. Tits, treecreepers, finches, robins, blackbirds, rooks – all were chirping their heads off and flitting from tree to tree as though preparations for a royal wedding were under way.

In the distance in one of the fields, a glossy flock of starlings was rooting among the grasses for delicacies. Among them was a flock of other birds. These are the ones I’m not sure of. A little smaller than doves, they preferred running to flying: they would stand up very tall and then run like the wind for several yards to a new browsing-patch. I half-expected to hear them going “meep-meep!” like the cartoon Roadrunner.

I set my lens to full zoom and tried to use the hedge as a makeshift tripod, but it kept swaying. This was the clearest picture I got (click it for the full-sized version). Are they some kind of thrush?

I thought about climbing into the field to get a closer look, but there was an extensive flood between me and them, and I wasn’t wearing wellies. As I assessed the expanse of water, I noticed this robin enjoying himself: he hopped in and out of the shallows for a good ten minutes.

I was surprised to also spot a very young squirrel. Already! These squirrels don’t hang about. I suppose it could have been a midget squirrel, but it seemed rather callow. This is how it hid from me:

UPDATE: I now have it on good authority that the mystery birds are fieldfares.