Heath Safari

Hello! I have managed to get some internet sorted in the flat earlier than expected, through paying fixed rates per day with BT WiFi. So I thought I should probably do a post about the quick walk I went on today. I moved to London on Thursday and live quite near Hampstead Heath. It’s a massive area of woodland and grassy fields in North West London and is known for the abundance of wildlife. However, it’s so big that I barely saw any of it today – I technically wasn’t even on the actual Heath itself! But I did wander through some of the parkland surrounding it.

The animal count was pretty low, because I didn’t know what I was looking for and I didn’t spend long there. But I did see my first rats in London!

They were Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), sat about a metre apart. I had to zoom in quite a lot, hence the poor quality images. I’m speculating that they could be adult and juvenile, simply because the one on the path was a lot smaller, only about 6 inches long, and they both ran off together when I got nearer. I didn’t think they were particularly horrible to look at, they were as cute or appealing as any other rodent really. But I guess I would probably see it differently if I found them foraging in my rubbish!

It was a good day for mammals, with a lot grey squirrels also running around. I think squirrels are one of the funniest animals to watch, because they are so twitchy. I think this is exaggerated by their bushy tails, which move massively with every twitch. One of the squirrels was completely ridiculous. It tried to hide by running around to the other side of the tree from me. When I walked around the tree, it didn’t run up the tree to get away, but scurried back around to the other side. I did this several times, with the squirrel just running in circles around the tree before eventually realising that it needed to go up to get away. Looking back, this perhaps says more about my intelligence than the squirrel!

There were a lot of butterflies but I didn’t manage to get close enough to identify any of them. The sun was particularly bright coming through the trees as well, so if I tried to zoom in on one it just ended up being too bright for a photo. I’m pretty sure that some of them were Speckled Wood Butterfly though.

There are a lot of ponds in the area and I could hear some moorhens so went lookin for them. I found this adult with two juveniles in one of the ponds: 

The adult is the middle one, with the more developed plumage and red beak, which you can just about see the yellow tip on.

And that’s the end of that! I’ve still got lots of tasks and jobs to do (mundane things like buying a hand-towel and sorting out utilities) so I will do a proper exploration of the Heath when I have more time. There are supposed to be deer there and Kingfishers around the pond, so I will hopefully see these and be able to write a more substantial and interesting blog. Until then, have a good weekend!

About TomPh1991

Interested in wildlife and photography: https://amateurwildlife.wordpress.com/
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