Sunday, 6 September 2015

Natural finds

Hello all,
This post looks at the interesting and unusual finds that you can uncover on a wildlife walk, trip, or even just when you're out and about. As you will find out in this post, most of these finds were just "out and about" so it just shows that you've got to keep your eyes peeled at all times.

To the left, you can see a primary or secondary wing feather of a Great Spotted Woodpecker. This was found in June, at my school in Somerset, whilst taking part in cricket house matches! An added bonus to taking a few wickets! You can see that the feather end has been cut, as if by a knife, which would point the finger at mammal predation. However, the exact predator is unknown, partially because the rural location doesn't say "Cat" (so it could be a fox or badger) and it is very difficult to distinguish the differences.

Here, you can see what I believe to be half of a House Martin egg. I found this whilst taking a walk around the block in suburban North Somerset. Because the egg has been pushed outwards, and it was in half, it suggests it was hatched, rather than predated. A predated egg will have been pushed in, and it is unlikely that the predator has opened it up more than just a hole in the side.


Next up, is what I think is a juvenile cuckoo body feather. This was found in Durham, whilst visiting siblings at university. At first, it was a bit of a mystery, but after a quiz in "Waterlife" magazine, to identify a close up of a mystery bird (in this case a juvenile cuckoo), it became clear, and is one of my best finds to date.
I have never had good view of a cuckoo, so this was an extra bonus.

 Another feather is the next item I  found: a Tawny owl feather to be precise. This was another school find, this time at sports day! As well as our house winning, there was this beautiful feather, one which I had been hoping to find for a long time. There has been other evidence of Tawny owls at my school, but I'm yet to find a pellet. Tawny owl pellets contain fewer large pieces of bone than Barn owl pellets, due to the way they feed.

This is quite possibly my most prized natural find-a Starling skull! This was found in my garden, and I have been almost afraid to clean it, due to its fragile nature. It is a real gift to find a complete skull of a bird, because usually they are missing their beak.
Although Starlings are common birds, this was still a brilliant find, and a great insight into the anatomy of birds.
 These final two are two of my beachcombing finds. Not pictured here from my beachcombing finds is a painted topshell, Whelk egg case, a limpet shell covered in Northern Acorn barnacles and various cuttlefish bones.
The first picture shows a carapace (an empty crab shell) found at Hurst Castle beach.

 This final item shows a MASSIVE shell. I really don't know what it is, but as you can tell from my hand, it is a fairly hefty find. After an extensive google search, I'm still now sure what it is, but there is every possibility it was part of someone's mussel based lunch.

Overall, a fairly good selection of finds, and this is without purposefully looking for anything!
Please share your finds, and good luck nature hunting!