Saturday, May 15, 2010

Badgers in the Night, Red Kites in the Sky

My son returned form his night out under canvas, tired out, with stories of badgers. It seems that he had little sleep, and had been out walking round with his mates and had seen one running around.It was great to hear that he had a good time and had got the excitement to be out in the countryside that is lacking in some children now.
I have only seen a badger up close once and was in awe when I did. I brought to mind my youth,out walking a weasel running across the path pausing briefly to look at me before disappearing so close I could have touched it. Going out and looking for Slow worms, Lizards and Grass snakes.
Pond dipping for Newts,Tadpoles and the strange things that live at the bottom of natural water, Like the native white claw crayfish a protected animal now. Hours spent fishing, watching the wildlife.Water voles that as a child I would see around me all the time are now rare. The kingfisher that I have seen a rods length away on more than one occasion ,seldom seen now.
Most children Have only one chance to see these animals dead on the side of the road.We seem to be too protective, and these aspects of the world take second place to computer games,shopping and television now. The chance to be out in the countryside on my own with nature,of all the things I cant do, I really miss that the most.
My daughter went out and got her supplies for her camping trip today and came back with first aid kit,dehydrated food and long life milk I hope that her trip goes well.I remember doing the same when I went to camp with the scouts.
One thing I did worry about when my son was away was getting called for a transplant.
Most of the time I have developed a need to shut out the fact that a call could come any time or i wouldn't be able to get on with life. Last night I had problems doing that as I imagined my son coming back to the fact that the lung transplant had gone ahead,how would he feel if it wasn't successful and he didn't say goodbye.I think this is a reaction to what happened to me when my father died as his death was sudden and unexpected.
On the subject of wildlife I have few contacts with it now but one thing I am still awed by are the red kites that fly over our house I have devoted a lot of time to getting photos of them so I thought I would include one of my better pictures 
Red Kite
I remember as a young teenager in the Forest of Dean walking into a clearing and seeing deer grazzing that was one of my most inspiring encounters. We are lucky where we are to occasionally see deer near the road and I have a video of one we saw while I was in the car with my son about two miles from our house last year I will post that for interest rather than quality of film making 

Oxfordshire Deer.
There are other deer in Oxford in the wild,such as Muntjac deer that I have seen on a few occasions.
Also in captivity a most notably in Magdalen College deer park called The Grove they are maintained for the fellows meals and were accessible to the public until recent years but I believe you can still get guided tours. Or if you have Quicktime plug in  there is a virtual tour of the college Here

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