Three Things Thursday; Beasts of England

I happily managed to spend a whole six weeks in my native land to begin the year, so to follow on from last month’s Things, here are three…

…birds and beasts you will spot on your travels in the UK.

Thing 1 ~ Fowl beasts

“Ohhh, cute ducks. Let’s feed them some bread.”

Two minutes later…

“Oh look, swans! Throw the bread that way!”

One minute later…

“The geese are coming, too. Wow, what a lot of ducks.”

Thirty seconds later…

“It’s got a glint in its eye… it definitely wants more bread. Give it the bread, give it more bread, GIVE IT THE WHOLE LOAF, NOW, aaaaaAAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!”

Birds, geese, ducks, swans. Yeah, OK, you can see these in many countries and they’re nothing special. However, I noticed on this trip home to the UK how integral they seem to be to pretty much all English tourist destinations. Walk in a park – ducks and geese. Visit a castle – swans and geese. Visit a stately home – swans, geese, ducks, moorhens. Run by a canal – geese. Angry Canada geese. And on a visit to London you can see very tame herons and Egyptian geese in Regent’s park, or peacocks in Holland park among an array of other birds and ducks.

I had a ball watching people feed the ducks. In particular watching the Canada geese, which migrate here for the winter and cause havoc with the smaller species. See the angry goose chasing the mallard below for an example. It later got hold of another duck by the wing feathers and dragged it around a tree. They were being fed by a young woman who became increasingly nervous as the gaggle grew in size and a very slow, stately, but nonetheless menacing swan made its way towards her. She scattered her last handful of bread and we all backed slowly away.

Thing 2 ~ the Wee Beasties

Chester squirrel

Chester squirrel

Another common inhabitant of parks, grounds, and back yards, is the grey squirrel. Not native to the UK, these have chased the native red squirrel population to only a couple of protected sanctuaries in the north of England and in Scotland. Despite their interloper status, I can’t help but love these cute little critters!

The warmer winter this year seems to have led to many more of them out of hibernation and stashing their nuts throughout December and January. We saw some which kept their distance in Chester, and some very tame squirrels in Colchester around the castle park and grounds which came right up to us in the hope of some food.

Thing 3 ~ the Big Beasts

No National Trust or English Heritage site seems to be complete without some kind of animal on the grounds. Visiting Dean castle in Kilmarnock we saw pigs and fallow deer. Dunham Massey in Cheshire also had a herd of deer, as well as the obligatory ducks, geese and swans in the mill pond. We also enjoyed a lovely winter walk in the Peak District just outside of Sheffield surrounded by shaggy sheep in their longest winter wool.

The finest Big Beasts of the trip, though, have to be the incredible collection of dinosaurs at the Natural History museum in London, long one of my favourite museums in the world. It’s been a long time since I last visited it, and the huge crowds on a Saturday morning meant picture taking was difficult, but I had to snap the enormous diplodocus which greets visitors in the main entrance hall.

What are your favourite beasts? What’s your favourite place to visit to see them?

London dino

London dino

Advertisements

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Angie
    Feb 16, 2016 @ 00:43:56

    We still have plenty of red squirrels up where I live, but other areas of the province (mostly cities) have gray squirrels. They’ve really taken over. The beasts over there seem far less predatory than the beasts in my neck of the woods. I love winter because the bears are hibernating and wolves don’t attack people all that often. We do have Cougars and those really scare me. Oh and moose can be scary too. Heck, everything is kind of scary up here.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Feathered friends

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 151 other followers

%d bloggers like this: