I spotted this quite large freshwater mussel in the shallow waters at the edge of a lake in Norfolk. Beneath the gunk it looks like it's probably quite a rich mixture of yellow/green/brown and I suspect it's a member of the Unionidae family as they look very similar. I don't see them very often, though apparently they're very common, especially in canals, though I remember finding a very large shell (perhaps 15cm) at the edge of a lake as a boy.

Update: thanks to Matt/Matthew who comments that it could be a Painter's Mussel (Unio pictorum) and I think he's absolutely right. Apparently the Painter's Mussel is so called because it made a perfect receptable for artists' paint!

11. May 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Birds


UKNB has been on tour to Norfolk, so has come back with lots of good stuff to share with you all. First off, a picture of what I think this is a Hobby, but I'm not sure as it could just be a more common Kestrel. There's no obvious black bar across the end of the tail which confuses me a bit in either case. The head could conceivably be white with a black mask, which is why I'm going for Hobby. Having looked it up it seems that its manner of flying would have given it away, but I don't recall whether it was a "languid flight with occasional flutters" which would indicate Hobby. Could it even be something else entirely?

Are you a wizard at identifying falcons? Please enlighten me if so!

03. May 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Mammals

The wallaby pictured above is actually at Whipsnade Zoo, but you may be surprised to hear that they can be found living in the wild in the UK too in a few particular places. See the Feral Populations sections of the Wikipedia page on Wallabies for the details of the populations that have come and gone in a few choice spots.

Actually the Whipsnade wallabies are generally allowed to roam freely within the extensive parkland grounds of the zoo along with other animals like Muntjac deer and Mara, which I blogged on previously. It's easy to see how they could live quite happily in the wild in the UK, being bouncier deer in many respects.