Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Lapwings and the Shrew

Put myself in the pain zone today, he says using macho gymspeak, by flogging myself on a 17km over two hours through the Owl Land, through a Hawton suddenly seeming short of colour, and then to Farndon before coming home along the river.

The sun gradually retreated further into the cloud the further I ran, and a wet weather front began to line up ominously along the far horizon. The council has begun the annual verge murder along the cycle path, but it could be worse, they have only chopped back the initial metre or so. I just wish they'd wait till October.

Two main attractions of note today. One was in the Owl Land, where recently I haven't seen a whole lot of interest. Well today, I flushed a large flock of perhaps 150-200 lapwings up from the long grass barely ten metres away, black and white flashing wings prominent.

I've barely seen a lapwing since spring, so it was welcome to come across them again. These birds are presumably heading South in fits and starts.

The next thing was when I was on the power station reach of the river path, having yet again failed to take an in focus picture of a common blue damselfly. Wretched things perhaps live permanently out of focus, I think. Like ghosts.

Anyway, I was running along, when I noticed a brown scuttling form at my feet. It decided to play the "Freeze, and I'm invisible game" when it realised there was a humanoid giant in its path, thus giving me plenty of time to inspect it.

It was a tiny little shrew, the first I've seen alive, and it was shuddering, tiny heart pounding all the beats to a minute. I took a couple of photographs quickly then left it to it, to hide amongst the ragwort and himalayan balsam.

A fine couple of prizes for the day, I think!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.08.15

Hoverfly on Polish neighbour's lily

Marmalade hoverfly

Almost a good macro shot

Holly blue at library

Ragged small white

Damn that shadow!


Off into the south

Buddleia bee

Common blue damselfly, as good as I could get

Power station

Little shrew!

Close up

Swiss roll in the fields time

Fly grazed under the bypass

Unobliging peacock

Lovely boat on the river


  1. So many Lapwings must have been a wonderful sight :) Nice to see a shrew alive too - sadly, most of the ones I see have died.

  2. Interesting shrew, have you considered Pygmy Shrew, apparently tail length important in shrew id, and yours looks like the long tail of the pygmy. but I'm no expert. nice to see a live one.

  3. Thanks for your comments! Merlin, I have no idea about shrew id either, but this one was rather smaller than the dead one I found in the reserve some weeks ago. I shall look into it!

  4. I must look at shrews more carefully! I've seen many alive and dead...most often in the mouth of my cat, or having escaped running round my house. I catch them in my slipper and pop them outside.
    I do like your observations. Noticed too from older posts that you are getting used to a new always takes a while.

    1. Thank you very much for dropping in and saying hello!

  5. I have enjoyed this lovely series of photos. I have never seen a shrew except in pictures.

  6. Wonderful photograph of that little shrew.
    Lapwings on the move? Sign of Autumn I would say.

  7. Indeed Ms Weaver, today I've watched a flock of house martins heading South through town. Sad really. Although Attenborough reserve in Nottingham still has sand martin chicks to fledge.

    Thanks for your complements folks! As always!