Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wardown Park, Luton

Recently, a few people have suggested that I’d have a good chance of catching up with my first Brown Rat of the year at Wardown Park in Luton, so I decided to give it a go. I arrived soon after midday and, upon reaching the lake shore, straightaway saw a Brown Rat that scurried into the emergent vegetation.

Within 10 minutes it had gained enough confidence in my presence to come out and take various items of rabbit food that I threw in its general direction, sometimes coming within a metre or so of where I was standing.

I watched it coming and going for the next half-hour or so, after which it was joined by a second individual which you can just about see in this photo. It’s a shame that I only had a basic lens because I could have got some great shots with a telephoto lens!

It’s my 28th Bedfordshire mammal species of the year, coming hard on the heels of two other firsts' yesterday evening. I joined members of the Bedfordshire Bat Group in a regular survey of a local wood where we quickly found a Noctule roost in an oak tree. We caught one of the 36 individuals that emerged – a lively male. This was species no.26, but the real bonus was on the way home when, next to a wood close to the M1, we drove past a Roe Deer browsing on the verge: species no.27. With Roe Deer only just beginning to colonise Bedfordshire, I thought that this was going to be a really tough one to find. It just goes to show that you just don’t know what you’re going to encounter, and a real encouragement to get out there and do some encountering!

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