The wonderful urban wildlife
I’ve been travelling around on long searches all across the British Isles looking for the wonderful wildlife that is home to these shores, otters, deer, kingfishers, badgers and foxes to name but a few. I’ve been to the Scottish islands and down to the beautiful north Devon coastline and many stunning landscapes in between. The distance covered would be quite something and seeing these creatures wild and free in their natural habitat is a wonderful sight.
I live in the historic city of Edinburgh which is about as green as cities get, it’s full of parks and wildlife corridors leading through the city and connecting areas so wildlife can roam almost freely. In the last few days alone I’ve watched an otter just down from the city centre, just fishing and playing and just as wonderful as the west coast population but without the pain of sitting on a train and ferry for hours. What a joy to watch her in nothing more than an oversized pond with many ducks and swans around, she feeds and rolls just in the reeds in front me and gets the attention of a swan who’s not impressed as he’s got a nest nearby to protect so hisses and smacks the water with his wings to ware off the otter.
Dog walkers are also walking by in their masses as well as the morning joggers. It’s not a quiet and rugged coastline but they’re at home here and are thriving in our cities water ways as is the stunning bird that’s peeping out of an old willow. It’s the kingfisher and he’s also busy making the most of the plentiful fish supply and open access of habitat within the city walls.
On my way to this park that is brilliantly managed I bumped into a bumbling badger making his way back to his sett before it got too light, another amazing edition to the wildlife of the urban jungle. Next up is the cunning wild fox who’s hanging about in our cities shadows until it’s dark enough to come out and then the city belongs to them. He sits in the undergrowth of bramble on a slope next to a bus stop on a busy intersection but goes almost unnoticed. He’s not completely hiding but we are so busy rushing to our places of work we become oblivious to his presence. These beautiful creatures are calling the city their home and raising families in plain sight, green spaces and water ways especially not they have been cleaned up with great effect over many years, and have attracted many species back some of which were endangered around our countryside.
Having wildlife in the urban environment is a must and if people see some they can love it and if they love it they will fight hard to protect and conserve it. Not everyone can head off to far flung places of wilderness but the city provides so much that you don’t have to leave to find some immense beautiful wild creatures. Years ago I went to places far and remote to find many species and I still go to those places but I also spend a lot of time watching urban wildlife and it’s just as wonderful and still hard work. But watching a vixen feed her young cubs or a Kingfisher dive for fish and then perch up in a willow is an amazing thing and there’s so much to see. I am writing a book about my journey to track and watch Otters and quite a lot is based in towns and cities. Wildlife isn’t somewhere we go to, it’s all around us.
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