NatureWatch update

It was a good weekend for terrace-sitting nature lovers.

Most exciting was the sighting again of our ‘pet’ kuna (pine martens). These chaps live in the woods close to us and we often hear them but have only seen them once before when they were having a lovers tiff and chased each other within 5m of our terrace. One of them appeared again on Saturday evening running left to right about 10m away from the terrace. As they only appear in the evening/night I don’t have any pictures. I’m not even completely sure if they are pine martens. They look to be about 80-90cm long including the tail, medium brown in colour and about the same diameter of body as a large cat. The most distinctive feature is the way they run with that typical musteline loping gait. The fur looks to be medium long, longer than an otter for sure. I’m wondering if their chosen habitat close to water, we have a few lakes/large ponds next to us and the river not far away, means these might be Mink (norka) and not Martens after all? Next time I see them I’m going to concentrate on looking at size of ears, bushiness of tail and cream bib around neck/chest.

The second biggest wow factor was this chap:

I thought it might be a Kite (kania) but people who know far more than I do tell me this is a Buzzard (myszołów). He visited on Saturday and Sunday between nine and ten in the morning. I didn’t notice him the first time until he flew off, his huge size and wingspan compared to the other birds being impossible to miss. I’d say body at least 50cm and wingspan at least 100cm. Zosia was convinced it was a sęp (vulture), but I wasn’t too sure about that! The next day he came again and sat quietly on the bench overlooking the small lake watching for prey. The light wasn’t great, he was quite a way off and I was still waking up so the photos are not as good as I would like. Perhaps next time.

It was interesting to see the reaction of the Jays (sójki).

The Jays have been raping and pillaging the small oak tree for at least a week now. Apparently Jays love acorns (żołądź);

Gathering acorns is a task this pair of Jays (The male and female usually pair for life) take very seriously and they seem to be at it non-stop all day every day. These birds are known for hoarding food, most especially acorns. They take them from the tree and hide them, either underground or in crevices in other trees. Research has shown that Jays can store and, more importantly, retrieve several thousand acorns. The squirrels are going to be mightily pissed off when they arrive to find an empty oak tree!

Here’s a Jay in the tree with the evidence in its mouth – caught red-handed.

Jay 2

And here’s one messing around under the tree gathering all the ones he/she dropped earlier

Jay

On the subject of trees, I’ve identified the following four amongst those nearest to us – Common name – Latin name (Polish name):

  • Sycamore – Acer pseudoplatanus (Jawor)
  • Oak – Quercus robur (Dąb)
  • Common Lime – Tilia x europaea (Lipa)
  • Black Poplar – Populus nigra (Sokora)

The Black Poplar is very interesting as it is a “listed” tree, protected by law. It is also a memorial to the death of two young children who were killed just at the end of WWII by the detonation of an unexploded bomb. I’ll get some pictures of the plaques attached to the tree and of the tree itself.

On the ‘superbug’ front, I found one of our local long-legged, black, ground beetles hanging around in the lounge.

Beetle

These chaps are very unstable and therefore spend most of their time on their back waving their legs in the air wondering what happened. A bit like Spurs fans this season! I therefore christened this one “Pavlyuchenko”. No idea what species it is. There are so many beetles in the world and many of them are so similar that I gave up trying to categorise it. I thought i had it nailed but then noticed that the one I thought it was, was always shown with very obvious stripes down the larger ‘lid’ at the back. The ones we have do not have the stripes but more of a ‘hammered’ finish. Very grateful to anyone who can identify it though. Must be about 6cm long.

I’d also be grateful for any advice on where to buy bird feeders in Warsaw. Winter is coming and I’d like to hang a couple of feeders out on the trees just to see what reaction they get. These things are easy to find in the UK but I can’t say I’ve ever seen any here.

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10 thoughts on “NatureWatch update

  1. Nice photo of the Buzzard. Once captured a Sparrowhawk in my garden devouring a pigeon. It made quite a mess on the lawn!

    But I have to say I don’t miss having large creepy crawlies in the lounge. This one’s an impressive fellow though! You should buy a fish tank and create an ‘Insectary’ for Zosia. I’m sure Marta would love that.

  2. If I had to, I’d say the ugly thing is some Carabus. But not before I’d unleash a few spiders to make it properly immobile for further study.

  3. Darth, you might be onto something there. They certainly look very close to what we have, for example Carabus (Cathaicus) brandti brandti. The only problem is the size. They seem to be smaller beetles than ours but I’ll keep looking, perhaps there is a Carabus gigantica!

    Thanks

  4. On second thought: I would have to unleash mastiffs, not spiders. — Are you sure the buggermucker is 10 cm long? It would make him bigger than average mice, you know.

  5. I’ll measure the next one I meet and I’ll also measure the diameter of that jug he was in but for certain it is 8 centimetres long. These things eat mice for breakfast!

  6. Darth, good job I’m not in the beetle measuring business! That jug it is in is 8cm diameter, so the bug is about 6cm long.

    Does the Wisła flow from Chernobyl to Warsaw I wonder?

  7. Pingback: Back to nature | 20 east

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