Tuesday, 4 March 2008

A bit of the Andes

Yesterday I finally got round to mowing the grass in the back garden, best not call it a lawn. The new state seems to suit many of the birds, so when I looked out first thing this morning there were about 20 Starlings and about the same number of Chaffinches feeding on the ground. Almost immediately they shot off into the bushes as a Sparrowhawk came through. The strange thing was it wasn't alone, it had a Starling chasing it as close to its tail as it could get. I have to say this didn't seem that clever to me, given that a Starling would make a decent meal for a Sparrowhawk.
A little laterI quickly gave up my walk along the cliff this morning as the North wind was too miserable.
I went inland and had a walk in Captains Wood. The first view was disappointing, someone had recently parked there, after a visit to the off licence and MacDonald's and had left the evidence strewn over the road and verge. The birds were the same as usual and I didn't pick up any new ones for the site. From below a Goldcrest looks as if the whole of its face is taken up by its eye!

Great Tits and Blue Tits were energetically announcing their territories and a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were chasing either other round in some sort of ritual. A least one Great Spot was drumming intermittently, but still no sign of my predicted Lesser Spot, looks like I was wrong, it's not the first or last time, but I'll still keep hoping. Near Coldred I watched a flock of about fifty Fieldfares as they flew over chacking loudly.

Down the road at Eyethorne I noticed a field of these rather strange animals. Alpacas seem to be gaining in popularity, I must be say I wasn't sure at first if they were Llamas. Llamas are larger and have banana shaped ears. There are four species of South American Camelids, Llamas, Alpacas, Guanacos and Vicunas. Llamas are the largest and are often used as pack animals in S America and for trekking in the UK. Alpacas have been domesticated for thousands of years. In fact, the Moche people of Northern Peru often used Alpaca images in their art. There are no wild alpacas. Alpacas' luxurious fibre makes wonderfully soft and warm garments and is particularly appreciated by hand-knitters. An annual shearing will produce between 1-6lb (0.8kg-2.8 kg) of very fine fibre.

They come in a variety of colours, and today they were quite frisky, one making a strange high pitched whine as it was chased about by what I assumed was an amorous pursuer.

Yesterday's mothing was a bit of a false dawn with just one Hebrew Character from two traps last night.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

the alpaca outbreak has reached Hadlow too!