Tag Archives: urban nature

Return of the jay?

Tuesday 31st May 2022, 1.55pm (day 3,932)

Jay, 31/5/22

Jays are very handsome birds and it’s a shame we don’t see more of them. I could say that this specimen is the second jay to appear on the blog, but it may be the same one as depicted just under four years ago — as this photo was taken only around 100 yards from that one; both in close proximity to the Ellen Wilkinson building on campus (a.k.a. ‘the office’). I can’t spot any obvious differences in plumage, and I have a feeling that corvids like this can happily live for a decade or more, so I think I will declare this to be only the third bird — after two herons (Humph and Maris Crane) — that might have appeared on here more than once.

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Fox, central London

Monday 16th May 2022, 9.55am (day 3,917)

London fox, 16/5/22

This is the second fox to appear on this blog. The first was depicted on the hills above Kentmere in the Lake District (on 4/3/2020) which one might think was an appopriate location to see one. However, I believe there are now more urban foxes in the UK than rural ones, and this one was seen less than five minutes’ walk from King’s Cross station, at roughly 10am on a Monday morning in central London.

It’s injured though. Whatever is up with its front left leg, it wasn’t putting any weight on it. Nothing I could do about it, sadly. I hope it is OK.

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Owl fail

Wednesday 10th March 2021, 1.40pm (day 3,485)

Owl fail, 10/3/21

This is not the first time that I have photographed evidence that the fake owls that stand on some of the buildings in Hebden Bridge fail to deter the pigeons in any way. But it is the first time I have caught one with a pigeon actually sat on its head. The humiliation is complete.

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The hunter and the prey

Friday 5th March 2021, 7.55am (day 3,480)

Hawk with prey, 5/3/21

Walking down to the station in the morning I noticed a commotion by the side of the road, heard desperate cawing. I thought at first it was a bird with a broken wing, flapping around, maybe having been hit by a car. Then I saw what it actually was. It will be forever regretted that the focus ended up on the wall and not the hawk; I only got the one shot off before it picked up the starling (I think) in its talons and flew off to enjoy its breakfast. But other than that slight lack of focus I can’t complain too much about this one. Surely there is a detectable look of pride on its face. I am also reminded of this picture: which William Blake/Thomas Harris fans will recognise.

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Hey good lookin’

Thursday 10th December 2020, 9.20am (day 3,395)

Swan, 10/12/20

Surely swans know how good looking they are? This is the Charlize Theron of the bird world. Look at the twinkle in its eye as it poses for the camera.

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The coot improvises

Saturday 5th September 2020, 11.35am (day 3,299)

Improvising coot, 5/9/20

The Leeds and Liverpool canal takes a very roundabout route to link its titular cities. Here it is going through Burnley, a stretch which is a nice bit of greenery in the middle of that what is, otherwise, a workaday town.  But it also feels very neglected, becoming swamped in places by algae (a sign that there are too many nitrates in the water) and litter (a sign that some people shouldn’t be let out of doors). This coot takes advantage of examples of both.

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Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven

Monday 24th August 2020, 6.10pm (day 3,287)

Spontaneous city, 24/8/20

The slightly overblown title of this post is not mine. As explained on a notice board beneath this tree, ‘Spontaneous City has been designed for the Tree of Heaven in Duncan Terrace Gardens [in London]… The design of the bird boxes is inspired by the architecture of the Georgian houses and 1960s flats that surround Duncan Terrace.’  So there you have it.  I didn’t see any birds using this bijou residency, but maybe they can’t afford the rent on an Islington property.

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Mancunian squirrel

Thursday 21st November 2019, 12.20pm (day 3,010)

Manchester squirrel, 21/11/19

This squirrel and I were both out for a lunch break on campus today. He (or she) was busy gathering materials for the winter — I was trying to avoid work as much as possible. (But only for that 20 minutes.)

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Crossing Acomb Street

Monday 30th September 2019, 11.20am (day 2,958)

Acomb Street, 30/9/19

I go one way, the bird goes its way, the cat goes that. None of us necessarily find out about what the “NO” is so keen to dissuade us.

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Bath time

Monday 20th May 2019, 2.45pm (day 2,825)

Bathing pigeons, 20/5/19

“You know, Pamela, there’s nothing like a nice cool bath to smooth out the ruffles after a hard day’s scavenging.”

“Ooooo, I know, duck. Let me just….. ahhh, that’s better.”

“Love the eye-shadow too. Grey’s your colour.”

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