Ratty of the Mill
As many of you will know the Naturetrek offices are based just outside the village of Cheriton and on the edge of the River Itchen. We get a fantastic selection of wildlife around the gardens but over the past week or so we have had a star attraction.
This little chap, with his bright orange nashers, is sat only yards away from the front door of the office. Almost everyday last week we saw a Water Vole and we are sure there are two individuals. So we decided that we needed to get some footage and some images. We put out chunks of apple on the water's edge and within half an hour the apple would be gone, you would then hear the tell tale knawing sound of a rodent. Which leads me onto the bright orange teeth, like a lot of rodents this means that the teeth are in good condition as it is the natural colour of their tooth enamel.
We have also had large numbers of both Swallow and House Martins feeding in large flocks around the rooves of the office buildings. The on one afternoon they all started to settle on the roof of one of the converted cattle sheds, but they weren't resting on the ridge but on the slates themselves. It was amazing to watch them cling on to the steeply pitched roof, I managed to get the one shot of an individual before it went off to feed.
Over the weekend I visited Kew Gardens with my girlfriend's family, and I went in search of some of the local wildlife around the main lake. The very first animal I saw was a Coot, I quickly realised it was in fact a family of Coots and the chicks were particularly young. In fact they were the only wildlife I photographed during our time in the gardens.
It was a beautiful evening and the light was great, so I managed to get some really lovely shots of the young chicks with the very defensive parents. I love the way that the Coot youngsters are such a ball of fluff and that they hardly even resemble the form that they will inevitably take.
The only other wildlife that was plentiful around the gardens was the humble Feral Pigeon, I got a shot as a I liked the pose this individual was stood. Normally I walk right by them and don't even pay them the slightest bit of interest.