It’s not quite the right time of year for birds en masse to gather on a wire. That was last September, when birds of various kinds gathered on the telegraph wires near our house to plan their trip, perhaps to Africa, in complete defiance of current travel restrictions Here they are, in my featured photo.
And here are a few more. They’re not emigrating. I showed the stonechat quite recently, but I like him, so here he is again, looking splendid in his best spring-time feathers.
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The cormorant reminds me of a poem I learnt as a child, and which I will still recite at the least provocation:
Click on any image to see it in it entirety, full size, and without its being obliterated by captions.
P.S. My mystery bird has now been identified by the wonderful Vogelsnipser, whose blog should be on the list of anyone who enjoys birds. His pictures are fantastic. Here’s what he says: ‘The bird on your photo is a stonechat (saxicola torquatus). males in early-year splendor dress.’
Lockdown again. Forensic exploration of our own neighbourhood again, as we set off for daily exercise. Yet one way or another, I’ve posted dozens of shots of the area I call home, and I can’t expect others to delight in it as I do. The other day though I noticed, as I hadn’t since the car-free spring lockdown when birds were vying for territory and nesting, distant birdsong.
It made me think about the creatures who share our daily round. Not the elusive ones – the stoats, weasels, foxes, deer who decline to stick around as you get your camera out. The types like Basil and Brenda, as our neighbours call the over-sexed pigeons who stomp across their roof, noisily indulging their passion at 6.00 a.m.
The horse who moved in with the Jacob sheep in the next field at the beginning of lockdown when her stables closed for business. She’s still here. The hens next door, who sometimes deliver eggs for our breakfast.
The large flocks of sheep who are part of every farmer’s daily round in these parts – no cattle for us..
The heron who nicks fish from our landlord’s pond.
The mallards on the village pond, and the crows on the rooftops. The squirrels dashing across our path and up the nearest tree. The pheasants who are even more abundant this year, as lockdown’s put a stop to the shooting parties they were specifically bred for. Rabbits too. So many rabbits. Why haven’t I got any photos of them?
The featured photos shows our much-frequented path through Sleningford Hall at Easter time, with all the new lambs.
Walking in Studley Royal the other day, my interest was kindled by an odd yelping call coming from one of the trees along my path. It wasn’t from any bird I recognised. That’s because it turned out not to be a bird, but a grey squirrel. An alarmed and agitated grey squirrel. This one.
I don’t know what the problem was – nothing that I could see. But he was at it as I arrived. I watched him for more than five minutes, and he was still at it as I went on my way. This is what he sounded like.
Out here in the sticks, little lodgers are part of life: usually field mice. They usually fall for the old trick of heading for the peanut butter and apple wedged into the humane trap, and that’s it. They are indeed trapped, and next morning we’ll take them a long way down the road and invite them to make a new home elsewhere. I guess it’s not really all that kind or humane at all, but a traditional trap with certain death at the end seems even less appealing.