Beauty and the Beast, not in the sense of Disney, although the characters could be as clear cut. Not in the the sense of the appealing and maybe less appealing kinds of wildlife..
..but rather wildlife and us.
I had intended to record some of the dawn chorus this morning and a sleepless night seemed to be an indicator to get up earlier than usual, get the hedgehog hospital rounds done and hit the road. However a rather overcast and chilly first light saw the birds somewhat subdued and reticent to join in the morning chorus, even the old faithfulls were conspicuous in their silence. In fact the crows and wood pigeons seemed to be the only vocal birds as the sun rose obsquered behind the cloud.
First the the Beauty...
Later in the day however things looked up a little with a walk up to a semi scrub area with Oaks and Ash planted there in recent years dotted here and there. A walk through the tussocky grass, pleasantly spongy if ankle twisting in places yielded a good number of bees and a couple of tortoiseshell butterflies. Warm enough for them to be out on the tussocks but chilly enough for them to be receptive to close quarter inspection and the odd snap of the camera. A pleasant splash of colour in among the greens and straw colours of the scrub.
On the way back I couldn't resist stopping off at the pond to see how the frogs were doing. As expected after previous days trips to the area the pond was a heaving mass of frogs and surprisingly less twitchy frogs than on previous visits the frogs not really bothering to scramble under the surface as I approached. Just hundreds of eyes watching me.. just in case. The amount of frog spawn had also increased now noticeable covering most of the ponds surface. So all seems to be well and good in the pond.
So you may well ask, who or what is the beast?
The answer to that lies in the picture and I don't think it is the wildlife.
Litter is one of my real hates. It is unnecessary, pointless, disrespectful, injerous to wildlife and the environment (and us depending on what it is) and it is beyond my understanding.
It is bad enough seeing litter blowing around on grey urban streets in town and city centres where in some way it almost echoes the grey buildings, grey pavements and grey pigeons (you may be forgiven for getting the impression that I don't really like cities!).
In a green space be it an urban park, a country park or the 'countryside' however it is a jarring eyesore so out of context with its surroundings. Why people take the time to visit these places to enjoy being outdoors and presumably to enjoy the view then decide to leave their own detritus behind them is totally beyond me.
Often the pile of litter is no more than a few yards away from a litter bin. Often the litter comes with its own plastic carrier bag alongside it which presumably had been used to carry the items there.. so not a great step in imagination to consider putting the cans and wrappers back in the carrier bag and taking it away.
You can't just blame it on kids, or the groups that hang around at night with half size bottles of Vodka, multipack cans of larger or cider in worryingly blue plastic bottles. Watch and you will see families abandon the remains of a picnic, mothers drop the baby wipe behind the bench and sometimes the changed nappy too.
Of course the sting in the tail is that these same people if they arrived the next day to see all of this litter would exclaim how much of a mess the place was and why hadn't it been cleared up. The attitude of I will do what the heck I want as long as someone sorts it out afterwards as it is their job..isn't it!