Close encounters of a natural kind

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

There was something funny going on at the weekend, almost as if the Indian summer sunshine had brought out all the wildlife to create a bumper weekend of completely fluky sightings. This baby grass snake was found amongst the brassicas on our allotment. About six inches long and absolutely fascinating.
Of course, we headed out for a good walk to soak up the sunshine and stretch our legs. The contrast of bold blue skies and autumn landscape was beautiful. Those neat red rosehips look fabulous.

 Monday morning surprised me with a sighting of the muntjac deer (and baby - not in shot) whilst I was out in the garden. I snapped away with my phone and this is the best picture I got in the early morning light.
You can see how teeny the snake is. 
Below, the shot that wasn't. Unbelievably, both C and I saw an otter in the river, only 15 feet away. It was just gliding off a sort of island, we saw it, picked up cameras and it looked round, detecting our presence and immediately dived under. Thus I have a blurry picture of water, no otter. 
I still can't believe we were lucky enough to have caught such a solid, close up sighting of an otter. On a real high!

It didn't end there. We had to pass by a hornet's nest in a hole in a tree. You might be able to see an orangier patch in the middle tree below. Funnily enough, I had NO INTENTION of lingering anywhere near it to risk getting in trouble, so you will have to take my word for it. The hum was fabulous as we passed. No stings for us, but a nasty little boy behind did get stung, which after seeing him larking around with a huge precarious bough minutes beforehand and not being reprimanded by his father I have to say I rather felt nature had restored karma.

Oh, what are these called? I'm sure I stumbled upon them in one of my books but I'll have to look it up again sometime.

Abov, some fungi nestled away.
Below, Bittersweet berries. They look pretty but are poisonous.

The last encounter to tell you of was three beautiful buzzards flying low over our allotment while we worked. They were majestic but sadly no camera. They usually soar high up or antagonise the crows but never come close to us.
Such a brilliant weekend full of wildlife.
Have you had an unexpected close encounter?

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