It had been my intention, on returning from my summer break from blogging, to bring you a whole series of blogs, featuring the diverse wildlife of Scotland, Hungary, Austria and Germany. However, the best laid plans and all that. As we all know, the weather has become ever more unpredictable, and to cut a long story short, Scotland was too wet for wildlife and central Europe was too dry.
The first picture above shows the Falls of Dochart at the western end of Loch Tay where Ishbel, Mattie and I spent four days studying clouds... from the inside. It was only on our return journey, when we visited the lower reaches of the Tay in a vain attempt to find some Bearded Tits, that we spotted a few Fallow Deer. Other than that, a couple of Buzzards, pretending to be Golden Eagles, and a lone Kestrel were all that we could find.
A week or so later, my mother, my sister and I, took a cruise up the river Danube. Here, I was hoping to bring you something along the lines of My Family and Other Animals, but unfortunately, the other animals were conspicuous by their absence. Apart from a handful of wasps, three butterflies and a dragonfly, the only other insect I saw was this Green Shieldbug, who hitched a lift with us somewhere near the Hungary/Austria border.
Of birds, mammals and amphibians there was scant sign, even though I walked the river banks at various stops. This may, in part, have been due to the long dry summer in central Europe. So dry, in fact, that the cruise had to be abandoned at Passau as the river level had dropped so much that the Danube had become unnavigable above that point.
This got me thinking. We are being bombarded with information about climate change and the state of the planet. So much so, that it's hard to take it all in. What I wanted was a short, readable, book that would put everything into context. So I've decided to write one. It will be called British Mammals: Then and Now.
I have a number of antiquarian natural history books that tell me the state of British mammals in days gone by, which I will contrast and compare with current information to try to establish what has happened, why it has happened, and what will happen in the future if we either intervene or let things continue as they are. Give me a few weeks to get the initial research done, and then I'll be back with some updates and a few fascinating tidbits about the 100+ mammals that we have in the UK. (No, I didn't realise we had that many either).
All the best for now.
PS When I've finished with some of my antiquarian sources, I''l probably put them up for sale, so keep an eye on Steve's Vintage Collectables (which is also a good place to look for Christmas presents. Vintage and antique items are a lot more environmentally friendly than modern, manufactured stuff).
Steve's Vintage Collectables. (click to visit)
Or why not join the 2.5k members of our Naturalists group?
All the best,