LOOKS like we're confined to barracks to day cos of weather, so I seek solace in the garden birds. However it does give me a chance to reflect on the collections of wildlife ephemera that I have amassed. My small collection consists of fossils that I've found and the odd skull, shell and fir cone, but I do have a great collection of natural history related books which I love. One interesting fossil is a limestone ammonite about 4" across that I found lying on the spoil heap of a badger set, that had obviously been excavated by the animal itself - a pretty wonderful find I thought!
What I don't have in my collection are stuffed animals or pinned insects - I can hardly bare to see fish in a tank, so I'm not about to go out kill something and show it off in our house. However I must admit that I do rather envy the amazing collections that our forefathers amassed, even though they were impacting, and I expect, often damaging sensitive populations. Certainly the Victorians almost wiped out many rare plants, particularly ferns and alpines.
The reason why these sprung to mind was that when we went to see this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition there were some stuffed birds and animals from Bristol Zoo displayed, the best of which were a number of rather stunning butterfly and moth mounted collections. I captured these with my phone so images are poor unfortunately. I hope no-one does this anymore, but as these are SO old I think that I could just about cope with having these in our study...am I a bad person?
Gary - I hope that you saw your otter...!