Thursday, November 10, 2011

In which we do Nature Watch

It's not just an inner city* street you know. This is a wild life habitat. We are on safari.
Hmm. Believe that and you will believe anything.

We are half an hour early for a funeral and lucky enough to find the only parking place in Withington. Having little else to do we scrutinise our surroundings. In fact I suspect that the residents of this multi-occupied semi probably think we are undercover cops on a stake-out. I can't think which cop duo we might be. (The Glam Ass is a bit too beardy for Cagney and Lacey and I can't imagine Holmes and Watson in a Mancunian side street...)

Sleuth-wise we are a bit obvious - the Glam Ass is quite animated and there's me with the car window down pointing my phone in lieu of a camera and squeaking 'Ooooh look! There it is - how cute!'

If you click on the picture and zoom in onto the second bin from the left you will hone in on a cute pixellated rat. It was having a great time, rambling through the bin bags, furtling about, ducking down when passers by passed and coming up for air every now and then. Hello ratty! See how its little whiskers bristle!

Just a bit to the right is a blue bin and this had a load of old chips to offer. Magpies soared in and swung out, grabbing a beakful of chips as they went. What a feast for these busy handsome opportunists.

So. Our mini-survey indicates that a few square metres of a built up area has arguably as much wildlife as acres of Welsh mountain side. Reassuring? I think so.

Having said that all the cattle which graze in a fairly free range manner in the fields around us have today been taken to their winter quarters. Except some seem to have been left behind and they are making one helluva noise on the other side of the wall to me right now. It sounds pretty wild out there.

* The residents of Withington would probably argue that it isn't 'inner city', maybe more of a suburb.


Pam said...

I loved your story but my Mac wouldn't cooperate on the zoom in. A few years ago we went to Washington DC and I have never seem so many rats in my life -scurrying about at night as brazen as you like!

Cro Magnon said...

I can no longer zoom-in either. Mr Blogger has recently deprived me of the pleasure.

This reminds me of the London Underground, where the wall mounted rubbish bins are filled with mice.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Now that councils are putting the provision of services out to tender to the cheapest provider, you'll probably find that the rat and magpies were actually employees of Withington's Refuse Department .

Annie said...

Blogger no longer lets us zoom in but I guess we can all imagine 'Mr Ratty'. I wonder how many would have given a slightly wider gap between them and the bin when walking past if only they knew he was there. :-)
A x

elizabethm said...

We used to live in Withington before we lived in Heaton Moor. Last time I was there we went to look at our old house. I was torn between continuing to like the look of it (Victorian semi) and feeling impossibily crowded in upon. I think I might have become addicted to space.

Cait O'Connor said...

I couldn't zoom in, probably just as well, I hate rats.

Frances said...

Mountaineer, I do like your comparison of city/country, but cannot say that I'm a fan of rats in any environment.

(Seen too many, hoping I have got my quota of views.)

Pondside said...

City rats are, I'm sure, much more interesting than country rats. We have rats in the hen house but they don't bother the hens at all. They're much too well-fed on chicken feed.

Fennie said...

I think there is a television programme to be made in which a family of adults and children become rats for a week and have to forage for food (it could all be done inside a big film lot perhaps) and find shelter while being attacked by dogs and hunters and birds, alternatively hunted, shot, poisoned etc.

I am not saying that we should leave rats alone, but simply to express my admiration for how they manage to survive everything that we and nature throw at them.