Wednesday, 31 July 2013

FOX AND THE SKYLARK

I'm an angry bugger at the moment, the joy of having two weeks off from work soon vapourised. My local council seemed to see it fit recently to "loan" £12 million pounds to the poor excuse of a local football club...now before Cobblers fan start to foam at the mouth (start, huh, most already do anyway) let me explain why it's a poor excuse for a club,i) back in the day when George Best was playing the "cobblers" went from 4th Division to 1st Division (to all SKY sports viewers, it was a league before Thatcher and Murdoch sterilised the English game) in consecutive seasons then promptly went from 1st to 4th division in consecutive seasons...quality! ii) I went to one of their home games once, and a cobblers player handled the ball, to be met with calls of "HANDBALL!" from his own supporters, the ref had to give a freekick...quality! iii)About four year ago they were nominated as the fourth best team in the county!!! One team that beat them was in the conference and the other was going out of business, not sure who the third place team were...probably my local pub's team!
So our alleged cash strapped council lent the club the money, to build a hotel (similar to that of my club Chelsea) and increase the stadiums capacity to 10,000.  Now considering last season the cobblers went to the play-offs they still didn't break an average attendance of 2,500. The real reason why it was to be extended to 10,000 was because poor old Coventry City FC was looking for a new home and was going to ground share with the cobblers. This now looks in jeopardy, which is good for the long suffering Coventry supporters, so the proposed move may not happen, I wonder how that £12 million is going to be paid back? I also wonder if it is right for the council to use public money to help out a private company such as a football team? Their is no point in having a "hotel" at a football club, look at my team Chelsea, good transport links nearby, theatres, tourist attractions etc and yet is rarely fully occupied, lets look at what the Cobblers hotel has to offer, trains station, yes but about two miles away, views, sort of, if you look south you get Stortons Pit (surely under threat from development, but nothing from Northants Wildlife trust so hopefully not!!!), view north,cinema and assorted fast food chains, view to the west-an industrial estate and a scrap yard, to the west housing estate,petrol station oh and a hotel which is cheap as chips....not really a good business plan is it? What else could the  council have used that £12 million for, would it surprise anyone to learn that not only is Northamptonshire dominated by the tory MP's but the tories are in charge of the council too?
SO BACK TO NATURE.....
Through lowered windows of the car and shooting through the gaps of a metal gate I got this fox, judging from it's size I'm guessing it's a youngster. The "ironic" bit for me is that the fox was in a field next to this house, the house was a stable yard that was until recently owned by a man that liked to chase foxes on horses, he recently sold up due to financial issues (poetic justice!?) and moved out...you got to love nature, regardless what we humans do it just seems to bounce back....

My main mission was to go and get some images of Skylarks, I knew this one pair had already had one juvenile so I thought I would try some "adult" Skylark shots. I had permission not only to enter the field but was told I could follow the tractors track's through the field. I was a bit dubious about doing this as Skylarks nests are really, really, really hard to locate and I didn't want to risk standing on any eggs. There is in the field a massive seat aside (much bigger/wider then what is recommended), the middle section of the setaside, roughly half way down the length of the field, is barren of any wildlfowers etc due to the topography of the field and the shade from a row of trees and the height of the hedgerows. This in turn allowed me to walk up to the edge of the crops where I opted to stop, didn't fancy trampling on any nests.
I didn't actually get many images, in fast fading light I watched a healthy population of Swallows skimming the tops of the crop catching insects, a Kestrel hovering on the far side, but the best was the Skylark. They definitely have a second brood, I watched one 'lark descend with a mouthful of insects, just as it landed another 'lark ascended flew about 160 metres from the nest with a foetal sack in it's mouth and got rid of it, this lark then ascended and came back down, again with a mouthful of insects, the 'lark which was on the ground then took it's turn to grab some insects, this process during an hour of observation happened 26 times, up and down, up and down, though I only witnessed the larks disposing foetal sack three times in that hour, fascinating to watch...well for me anyway.
As usual I had the wrong lens for the job...poor excuse, I was too far away but grabbed a record image of the lark with foetal sack in it's mouth, squint hard and you'll see a white blob in it's bill...
I call this a "record" shot as I know with a teleconverter I can get a better image and will try again I have two weeks to find something to do lol..

10 comments:

  1. Super images Doug!

    Skylarks are a real joy to watch and listen to. I always get distracted by them if they're around. A delight on a sunny day!

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    1. Skylarks distract me too, what really astounds me every time is the height at which they'll fly too, I've had many a strained neck :)

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  2. A real handsome fox Doug.
    As for Skylarks, they're a bird I love to watch too. Always take me back to when I was about 12, and lay in a field watching them climb the sky, singing as they go.

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    1. Totally agrre with the perfect way to waste some time larks do it all the time to me, thanks Keith.

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  3. An excellent rant. This sounds as if there should be an investigation into fraudulent use of rate payers money.

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    1. Our local paper went from daily to weekly so by the time it was published not many letters of complaint were received plus they(paper) didn't make much fuss, their sports reporters wouldn't have much work I guess. I wrote to my MP and he reckons it's a "sensible business decision" but as I pointed out above if Coventry stay put (and they should, for their fans) there will be a short fall of revenue not so "sensible business" in my opinion.
      Thanks Adrian

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  4. Not a football man myself Douglas but I'd bet my bottom dollar that more than one person will be able to have a mega holiday, and more, on the back of all those dealings!!

    Cracking images of the young fox and what better way is there to while away a sunny afternoon than watching and listening to the Skylarks as they 'sing' their way up into the sky?

    I hope you have a good (and calm!) two weeks off from work(holiday?) with lots of good nature watching...[;o)

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    1. Being a Chelsea supporter some might say I'm not a football to, but you're right about a mega holiday, with the strecth of the River Nene (from footie ground all the way down to the old Avon factory) being "redeveloped" and loads of compulsory purchase orders being put in place for land, well frankly someones' taking a backhander.

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  5. I do not see why you have to get a closer image of the Skylark Doug, I think the one you managed is superb. The image itself tells a story and the longer the image is viewed more of the story unfolds. I think we all need to take a lesson from this as all too often we get so obsessed by close ups and fine feather detail. As you have proven it is not necessarily needed if there are other interesting factors......well done mate!

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