Wild Side of the City


I've been in Switzerland for around 22 years, always in or around the Basel area, and I've lived in Basel for the past 10 years, give or take a few months. After this amount of time in one place you get the feeling that you know a city well. After a recent walk, I'm not sure that I know it at all!


I went for lunch at the Merian Gärten and decided afterwards to walk back into the city along the St.Albanteich down to the Rhein, and then completing the trip with a short stop at the Botanical Gardens to see if the Owls were around, they weren't.


The first creature that I came across apart from birds in the trees and chickens and rabbits in the Merian farm, was a Nutria. It was happily sitting on a slipway along the St.Albanteich. Originally a South American animal which if I remember correctly was introduced into Europe by the fur trade. I've also seen them in Petit Camargue. I've heard that a Beaver has also been spotted in this area too, but as a nocturnal creature, I didn't expect to see it. I may have to go back at night to see if I'm lucky!


In the same area, perched so still on top of an apartment building, that I thought that it may have been a plastic garden ornament, was a Grey Heron.

On entering Schwarzpark, a Red Squirrel ran through the shadows of the trees. The image quality isn't great with these two shots. I was a little slow to react, it was quite a distance away and in the darkness of the shadows. Not too bad though.


There is a large Deer enclosure in Schwarzpark. They were all at the back of the enclosure, but a small group headed towards me and hung around for a while. I found it quite difficult to get an image of them. I was trying to get a shot without fence posts or didn't look too much like a zoo.



And the final stop was at the Botanical Gardens. I love to watch the Damselflies here. I could sit by that pond for hours just watching their behaviour. They appear to have several perches which they fly to. This can make it a lot easier to get a good shot, as they are very fast in the air. I'm still trying to get that shot though.


This next shot is the closest I got, but it was more luck than anything else, I was focusing on the Damselfly in the bottom right corner, and it flew through the shot close to the point of focus.

This also happened with the next two images, but the Damselflies are a little bit further away from the focus point.


There was also a lot of egg-laying going on too, but the sun was in the wrong position and was causing a reflection on the water that was disturbing the view. I was able to get a couple of shots, although nothing spectacular.


I've left the Owls out of this post, if I hadn't been overly posting about them recently, they'd be in here too. What I got from this and other recent experiences is that sometimes you just have to look a little bit closer to see what right in front of you. I'll be looking for more in future.