Thursday, 26 November 2009

Fantastic Fungi

The mystery pony has gone. Apparently a dog walker recognised him and informed the owner who came and collected him. We still don't know how he got there though...perhaps he had very cleverly worked out how to climb stiles..ha,ha.

I am enjoying my daily trips to the ponies such a lot. I had begun to get a bit lazy and not go for walks much but now I am walking up and down hills every day and I am feeling much fitter and more energetic and never want to go home.

It is already interesting to compare the two areas of SSSI land. The area nearest to us is very open and exposed, whereas, the area with the ponies is quite sheltered and surrounded by trees so as a consequence it is a good place for fungi. Over the last few days I must have seen at least ten different types of fungi. I don't know much about fungi so I haven't a clue what they are. When I have time I will try to identifying them but at the moment I am just pleased to have started my photographic record of the land.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Mystery Pony

Yesterdays visit to the SSSI land to check on the ponies needed to be quick as we were due at a family celebration for my mother's 86th birthday. You can therefore imagine how we felt when, on walking through the woods towards the ponies enclosure, we came across some fresh pony sized droppings. Images of a lovely lunch were rapidly replaced with images of having to traipse up and down the valley, through mud and brambles, looking for our charges.

When we got to the enclosure both ponies were there (phew!) but so was another pony. Very odd as the area is really only accessible by stiles or kissing gates and I don't know of any ponies that have managed to negotiate either of these.

Shortly after our arrival a grazing officer form the Old Surrey Downs Project arrived. She had already been told about the extra pony and had been making enquiries with a local horse owner who unfortunately didn't recognise it. She then tried the police who said they could only act if the pony was on the road and then she tried the RSPCA who had no one that could come out as all their officer were in Cumbria helping with animals affected by the flood.

In the end we had no option but to leave him where he was... he was safe, had water and plenty of grass to eat so couldn't come to any harm but the mystery remains...who does this pony belong to and how did he get there?

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Weather, Walks and Guinea Pig

The weather can't make up its mind just lately, one day wind and rain, the next warm and sunny (well nearly sunny). Last Saturday it was blowing a gale and the rain moved in sheets down the valley but Sunday was a lovely warm day so we went for a walk in the fields adjoining us which I hadn't had a chance to do for a few of weeks. I was really surprised to still see quite a few wild flowers, a Peacock Butterfly enjoying the sun and some leaves left on the trees.

My regular stomping ground is now a bit further down the valley, on the SSSI land being managed by The Old Surrey Downs Project. This is because my husband and I are now officially stock checkers for the two Dartmoor ponies they have grazing the land. Their job being to control the growth of various grasses so that the Orchids (and other flowers ) will have a better chance of coming up next year. It is very nice to have a reason to go for a walk, as now we don't have dogs anymore, we often lack motivation to go out especially in the winter.

To update on my guinea pig issue, Gemma had an operation today to remove a very large, knobbly stone from her bladder. She is back home again now and doing quite well. The total cost was £436 !!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Peril for Parakeets

I was saddened to read in my local paper that Natural England has put the Ring-Necked Parakeet on their hit-list. From Jan 2010 they can be killed, have their nests disturbed and the eggs destroyed by owners and occupiers of land, as long as they can prove justification and it is done humanely. It's a bit confusing though as the birds also seem to be protected by the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act...????

I personally really like Ring-Necked Parakeets even though they are not native to our country. They feed happily alongside the smaller birds on my feeder and unlike other birds don't touch any of our growing veg. or fruit and lets face it a lot of Britain's wildlife didn't originate in this country. However Natural England have outlawed them because they have had complaints from farmers saying they are ruining fruit crops and that they also act aggressively towards native species such as starlings, nuthatches and woodpeckers that have similar types of roosts.

Apparently they have long been regarded as a pest in their native India so, knowing that, what a shame that the 'powers that be' allowed them to get a hold in this country as there are now so many in the South of England, that by allowing their destruction, it is inevitably going to mean that some of these beautiful, intelligent birds will be subjected to abuse and suffering.

In addition, the Canada Goose, Egyptian Goose and Monk Parakeet have also been added to the list of undesirables:-(

Monday, 9 November 2009

Exciting Visitors to S.S.S.I. Land

On Sunday I went for a walk across the S.S.S.I. chalk downland that is on the other side of the road to the S.S.S.I. land that we back on to. It is being very well manged by the Old Surrey Hills Group who have been sympathetically clearing it of scrub (unlike the area nearer to us). Their initial idea was that they would then put goats on it to keep the scrub down and I put my name forward as a volunteer to look after them. However, on consideration they decided a couple of Dartmoor ponies would be more suited and sure enough there they were busily munching away. I am thrilled as I LOVE horses and ponies and of course have put my name forward as carer for them too... so fingers crossed:-))

Following my previous post I have decided that as well as writing predominantly about wildlife, I will also include more things about my life in general so expect to see more about horses, my pets and my garden. I hope this doesn't put anyone off.

First off is news of one of my Guinea Pigs, Gemma. She has been peeing blood for a few days and today the vet has decided she must go in for further investigations. She is a very nervous Guinea so it will be very traumatic for her. I take her in at 8.45am tomorrow...I soooo hope she will be ok and won't need an operation:-(

Tomorrow is also the day I go horse riding. The horse I ride is being a bit of a problem at the moment in that she can be going really well and seems to be enjoying herself but then suddenly stops and won't move for anything or anybody. The owners have spent loads on veterinary tests, dentist checks and a new saddle, but the problem still persists. I find it very worrying as I hate the thought that she might be in pain. Last week the vet took a urinary sample so it will be interesting to see if that shows up anything. I sometimes think I would be happier just looking after the horses and not actually riding them.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Blogging Block

I really admire all the wildlife bloggers that manage to make regular posts that are interesting. I have hit a bit of a wall in my very short time as a wildlife blogger as so much that I love about wildlife is just repetitive. For example, I still and always will, get a tremendous buzz when my friendly Robin visits the garden but, however much I enjoy his visits, I can't keep writing about them as basically he does the same thing every time he comes so to put that in a blog post would be plainly boring.

When I think about it, it is only very occasionally that something unusual happens. if I am going to give this blogging business another go I think I will have to include a few more posts that aren't strictly to do with wildlife. I will have a good think and hopefully start posting regularly again soon. Meanwhile here is a picture of my Friendly Robin looking very cross because I decided to take his picture instead of giving him his grubby treats:-))