On a fine day for road racing this week’s blog starts with a big well done to all my friends who put one foot in front of the other in really quick succession on the French Riviera, North Wales coast and the A65 between Leeds city centre and Kirkstall Abbey. There has been no racing for me this week as I prepare to tackle the Cheshire 10k next Saturday which promises a flat fast course and some stunning local wildlife.
Instead of racing I have just returned from a delightful Sunday run with a GBOL (great bunch of lads) which has been the icing on my 85 mile long sponge cake of a week. During our run we discussed many cutting edge techniques to become better athletes such as not existing solely on egg and cheese and running more often. We plan to write a book on the topic which will no doubt sell many millions of copies.
Now, before we get onto this week’s animals I’m going to take this opportunity to use my platform as a global blogging megastar for some good. Bonfire night is fast approaching and for reasons I cannot comprehend the people of Britain are about to spend £490m on setting fire to some potassium nitrate. Hedgehogs see bonfires as perfect hiding places and the RSPA estimates that 45% of dogs will show signs of stress due to the noise. So please follow these simple steps to make bonfire night better for our furry friends:
- Check that bonfires are clear of animals
- Play some music in your house to ease the dog’s worry ( I recommend the third studio album by I am Kloot ‘Gods and Monsters’)
- Take the money that would have spent on frieworks and give it to your local donkey sanctuary instead
Anyway, the business end of things, here are the animals I’ve seen this week while I’ve been running:
Making use of the River Mersey’s breeze to hover above the bank, Britain’s smallest Raptor caused us to up the pace to avoid being swooped. The kestrel’s most important food source is the vole, but it will also eat other small mammals like woodmice and shrews, as well as birds, invertebrates, and lizards. When hunting, it hovers over fields scanning for its prey and when the weather is worse, it hunts from a perch. An intelligent bird, the kestrel has learnt to wait for farm vehicles to disturb prey in the field, before swooping down to collect its food. It has incredible sight and can see and catch a beetle from a remarkable 50 metres away.
Seen only as a blue flash along the river bank the illusive Eurasion Kingfisher hunts with unrivalled speed and precision. Masters of air and water they are capable of compensating for the refraction of water and reflection when hunting prey underwater, and are able to judge depth accurately. Kingfishers also have nictitating membranes that cover the eyes to protect them when they hit the water.
Very Hairy Caterpillar
The buff tipped caterpillar is striking: large, hairy and yellow, like the honey monster with a black head and a ring of short black stripes on every segment. They often gather together in large numbers, eating the leaves of lime, birch, hazel and willow trees; they sometimes defoliate whole branches, but rarely cause serious damage.
That’s all for this week team. Next week we travel to Cheshire and Wrexham for a DOTD double header to open the season. There’s a tasty clash between defending champion Dingo and emerging talent Mollie the Sprollie in the offing and I’m sure many more contenders will come to the fore.
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