Saturday, 25 June 2016

Early summer specimens.

Its the day before I take my family into a muddy Glastonbury Festival and I'm running about collecting marquees and putting up signage for next weeks Ashcott Beerfest. However in between all this, and work, I picked up a dead wren in the lane by the Apiary and collected two bee swarms from a friend's garden. I have rehoused the bees in a hive over the road and a new one set up in my garden. Several bees seemed reluctant to enter the hive, once I'd managed to get them out of the skep, sitting in as sleepy group outside as night fell so I picked them up and put them into the top of the hive, clearly perhaps tired and hungry so gave them a little honey. The dead buzzard I found last weekend also needed dealing with so I skinned it and prepared the carcass for preservation, as I learn taxidermy. You have to be very careful not to tear the skin around the base of the tail and I shouldn't have left it a week, lesson learnt. (* Roadkill freezer already full and a lot to deal with in the coming weeks)

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Buzzard on the road.

Stopped to pick up a dead buzzard on the A39. Not the first time as they hang in family groups above the Polden ridge and collect roadkill from the tarmac, a feeding habit with predictable risks for a large, and not particularly agile, bird. This specimen seemed unharmed by the collision that ended it's life, so perfect in-fact that I began to wonder if it might not be stunned and spring back to life inside the car. The eyes covered by the pale lower eyelids, the body still warm and limp. Larger than perhaps expected and particularly so when the wings are out, beautfuly hinging as the feathered canopy opens, splayed and stiff and ready to take to the air. The body coverlet feathers astonishingly soft, the beak and claws so sharp and hard, the beautiful rosy brown barring on the feathers. I haven't got any more room in my roadkill freezer and with the examiner visiting work and the End of Year Show coming down there hasn't been any time to draw this week but I am underway preparing this buzzard for taxidermy now.