Day 26 of 30 Days Wild and we were driving about quite a bit today, which can restrict the opportunities for nature spotting. But, if you choose the right spots, there’s wildlife to be found all over the place. We stopped at two motorway service stations – deliberately picking ones we knew had some kind of water feature and slightly more environmental credentials. The result was a couple of very pleasant interludes to break up the monotony of driving.
First stop just had a small pond, but it still attracted quite a few birds – mainly ducks. Baby ducks are always irresistible photo wise, so here’s one heading straight towards us – probably thought we had food – it does look as if it’s drooling at the prospect!
There were also a few of these striking Black Headed Gulls. They were clearly totally used to the crowds of humans around them and let us get quite close up.
The second stop had more of a lake and grasslands surrounding it. Full marks to them as they’d left a large area un-mowed and it was full of butterflies. We saw these three species – Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small Heath, plus lots of damselflies and bees.
Swallows were flying about over the water and we caught this one having a bit of a rest. There was a nest a few yards away with another one sitting in – perhaps incubating eggs?
We saw him again later from a distance, stretching his wings. I’d forgotten what beautiful birds they are.
Our final species was a new one that required a quick google to identify as a Tufted Duck, although with hindsight he was a duck with a tuft, so perhaps we could have worked that out for ourselves!
So not bad at all for wildlife in the short time it took us to stretch our legs. Just shows that with a bit of effort these motorway services don’t have to be sterile environments. Shame more of them don’t make that effort.
And finally the latest weed in my 30 Lazy Garden Weeds – the Prickly Sow Thistle. I can see why it’s called Prickly and I can see that it looks like a Thistle, but I’ve no idea where the Sow bit comes in? They can grow really big – we have a massive one under our apple tree that is about as tall as me (admittedly that is only about 5 foot tall). Their prickles may not endear them to some people, but under our apple tree it is not a problem and they brighten up what would otherwise be quite a dull shady spot in the garden. So they’ve redeemed themselves in my book.