When you venture out into the countryside it is important to understand what is around you and how things in nature work. The food chain is vital in preserving species whether it comes from vegetation or from killing and eating other animal species. If you live near a town or city you are unlikely to see many large animals other than maybe horses, cattle and maybe a few sheep. But once in the countryside you can see all kinds of evidence of the activity that’s been going on.
The pleasant sound of birdsong is always the first thing you will hear all around, but even if you got your camera it is very difficult to get any good photo shots, as birds don’t like posing and never stand still for very long, to enable you to click the shutter. To get really good shots you first really need to find a good spot, where there is lots of birdsong, put down some bird seed ,stay very still and wait till some birds fly down to have a good feed on the food you’ve left nearby. Alternatively you could splash the cash and buy yourself a portable hide.
Do this and what you might see will probably differ from location to location but what you will see will be a delight to be hold. What you might see near rivers for instance could be Kingfishers Cormorants, Great Crested Grebes or even Moorhens. This is because waterways are full of small fish, tadpoles and water based insects which these birds feed on. Near Woodlands, you may see Woodpeckers, Treecreepers, Finches and Jays as they like feeding on bark insects and grubs which are around in abundance.
Other birds will be around however, although some are less likely to be seen during the day, Owls and the Nightjar for instance, as these tend to feed at night, when we humans are all tucked up in bed. Most commonly we will though get a glimpse of popular garden birds such as Blackbirds, Sparrows, Robins, Pigeons, Doves, Thrushes and the many varieties of the Tit family. Near rivers you may see various species of Ducks, Geese as well as Swans.
Away from birds there are other animals around, most you’re more lightly to hear rather than see as they take cover in the foliage of bushes and the refuge of ditches and riverbanks. These can vary from Mice, Voles, Shrews and man’s least favourite the Rat. Despite all the various stories and tales all of these are chiefly vegetarian.
Insects too are in abundance especially in the shady areas and also among the nettles around the rivers and lakes. These insects are mainly: Gnats, Midges, Various types of Fly, Wasps, Bees, Beetles, Grubs and Bugs. Also in attendance are many animals the resemble insects: Centipedes, Millipedes, Woodlice, Harvestmen and other forms of Spiders.
The favourite insect among children tends to be the Butterfly as they are seen in the summer in the countryside and in the garden and tend to range in size and colour too. Butterflies tend to get favouritism over the Moth as they come out at night and tend to be seen as a pest in bedrooms and around lights. You can always see evidence of other small animals in the countryside whether it be, a Foxes den and Badger set, but because these animals are mainly nocturnal they only come out of night. Other lesser spotted animals are Bats and Hedgehogs.
Other more noticed among small animals is the squirrel. Squirrels come in three types: tree squirrels, ground squirrels and flying squirrels. In temperate climates, squirrels often store or bury seeds and nuts for the winter. This makes them important seed dispersers, since not all of them survive to return to their cache.
Lastly for now anyway is the Rabbit.
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha. There are eight different genera in the family classified as rabbits, including the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), cottontail rabbits (genus Sylvilagus; 13 species), and the Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi, an endangered species on Amami Ōshima, Japan). There are many other species of rabbit, and these, along with pikas and hares, make up the order Lagomorpha. Rabbit habitats include meadows, woods, forests, grasslands and wetlands. Rabbits live in groups, and the best known species, the European rabbit, lives in underground burrows, or rabbit holes. A group of burrows is called a warren.
Sometime soon hopefully, I’ll be able to talk about the vegetation in the countryside and the flowers and how this affects the Eco structure of the landscape in the UK.