That is the worst blog title ever. There are no planes. And while cars are used, they play no pivotal role. I haven’t even seen the film. I’m rather upset with myself now.
As per usual, it has been a disgusting amount of time since the last post, but this is a tradition for 90% of nature blogs and I’m a stickler for tradition. So this means I have to round up everything from the last 2 months. I’m not going to. I’ll write about one trip.
Well it was. We got to drive through Slough. I’m struggling to think of a more appropriate location for wildlife.
While down for a birthday party, James happened to notice a sign for a National Trust owned-estate called Cliveden. Apparently everybody had already heard of this place except for me. James thusly informed that it has the only mainland UK colony for the Cliveden snail, otherwise known as Papillifera bidens. Apparently somebody at the National Trust didn’t have enough gold ingots to weight down their laser powered jets skis, meaning they were asking for an uncomfortably large sum of money for entrance. “Pish” we said to them, and we began to plan our heist.
Gathered round a large table, lit dimly by gas lamp, we squinted at a map of the Cliveden estate. Would we make our way in with wire cutters or hop the perimeter hoping the guards wouldn’t spot us tumbling to the ground? Should we slip valium in to the guard dog’s food? Or entice security into a darkened corner using a feather boa and red lipstick before rendering them unconscious with an ether-soaked rag?
Instead we decided to park outside the estate and walk in through the exit. Which worked surprisingly well. This was only done after trying two different entrances, being permitted access to the car park then panicking and leaving again. We also found a muntjac skull while trying to find a public footpath that would let us over a fence.
If you wish to hire us to break into art galleries and museums please leave a comment below.
Once in we meandered through, waiting for a broad chested constable to tap us on the shoulders and escort us off the premises, possibly tugging on our ears before throwing us through a door which slams as we hit the ground. It didn’t take much time to find the Borghese balustrade which houses the desired molluscs. It took even less time to find the snails. You can see one below. In fact, I’ll spoil you all and put a picture of two there.
After photographing the little blighters, James gave a brief guided tour of the snails to some interested onlookers, which sort of paid back our trespassing. As we left I heard an elderly gentleman say “I’m going to take some of these home for my garden”. ANOTHER HEIST. Quite the influence we had over them.
We then partied heartedly.
Our journey back to the north was pit-stopped by a cavalcade of introduced species.
First port of call was Letchworth Garden City. They have their own brand of melanistic grey squirrel. We saw one. It was quite nice. Also muntjac, which are nifty things.
Next stop was a place called Beeston in Bedfordshire. This place has an introduced firebug living in a series of abandoned greenhouses, which I believe is a nature reserve of sorts. It didn’t take much looking on some mallow to get an assortment of ages. Also found were roesel’s bush cricket and dock bug (the latter being new for the pair of us).
We then took a long shot at my behest. Midwife toads. This was wildly unsuccessful. WILDLY.
Then we tried for some ruddy shelduck in Northamptonshire. We read about a reservoir which had a small flock. Turns out the reservoir was the size of the county, and the residents have become aquatic. We didn’t see a shelduck.
With the sun careening below the horizon we got to our final destination for the final beams of light. Worksop Priory has a colony of harvestmen. Bizarrely, no one knows what species. Even more bizarrely, they are found throughout mainland Europe and still, no one knows what species. The most I can find is that they are a member of Leiobunum and probably introduced from somewhere non-European. They are also massive, as demonstrated by one sat on this massive arm.