Reflecting Over The Best Part Of Half A Century

Towards the end of yesterday afternoon Giles collected me from home and drove me to the bird hide at Milford on Sea. It is his task to lock up the accessible public facility at 5 p.m. or dusk, whichever is earlier. We spent a happy hour in each other’s company as I benefitted from my friend’s avian knowledge.

Alongside the stilted structure bird feeders hang from trees. A couple of sleek, well-fed, rats crouched poised to scoop up spillage. Note the hind toes clinging to a fallen branch for purchase while tiny hands clutch the spoils.

In the distance, against the backdrop of holiday homes, a variety of gulls and swans skimmed over the stream reflecting the bordering reeds.

Groups of swans sought rest, relaxation, and sustenance on the soggy terrain.

A pair of mallards dozed among the tufts; nearby a Brent goose investigated dining options.

I had forgotten my specs, so relied upon Giles to spot and direct me to this godwit wading amongst the teal.

I have John Knifton to thank for my being able to identify the teal from the luminous green flashes on their sunlit plumage.

When it was time for us to depart, Giles scaled a wooden fence and went Wombling to gather rubbish blown into the bird sanctuary.

It is the best part of half a century since I last photographed my friend reflected upside down in his glass chessboard while we were playing a game in 1973.

Yesterday evening Jackie produced perfect roast chicken, potatoes, and parsnips; Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and rich red cabbage.

Much of today was spent on culling photographs and putting this post together.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak. We both enjoyed crisp battered haddock; chunky chips with intact peel; garden peas that, like lemmings, were dead set on diving off the plate and rolling off the table; and onion rings containing slices of onion rather than the usual mush. We shared a carafe of most potable Pino Grigio.

94 thoughts on “Reflecting Over The Best Part Of Half A Century

  1. What a pleasant way to spend an hour with an old friend, Derrick. You certainly got some good photos even without your specs. I love the description of both of your meals, especially the onion rings and stuffing. πŸ˜ƒ

  2. What a beautiful bird sanctuary. It could keep anybody interested for a couple of hours or more. I can remember when I first started birdwatching,how entranced I was by that green colour on the teal’s wing. One of Nature’s great colours.

  3. There’s nothing better than just watching waterfowl. Even napping mallards are watchable — it surely was a fine outing. Interesting that you speak of a ‘hide,’ while our term is ‘bird blind.’ Now that I’m thinking about it, our term seems curiously ambiguous.

  4. Loved the photos, Derrick, esp the reflective ones and specifically, the one with just the boots but all of your friend in the reflection. Of course, the rats were magnificent.

  5. Oh, yes, I love roasted chicken, but β€˜perfectly’ roasted would be even better now, wouldn’t it. The wine sounds excellent. I can’t drink much alcohol but broke down and enjoyed a bottle of Pinot Grigio this past week. A Barefoot wine from California. Yummy.

  6. The photos are lovely, Derrick. You did them without your glasses? It looks like a pleasant day spent with a friend who could point out the birds. And thanks for “Wombling,” such a wonderful word.
    I laughed at your lemming peas, and I guess it’s a good sign that you had wine with dinner.
    (I’m craving onion rings now.) πŸ™‚

  7. Are swans native to southern England? They certainly seem at home. My least favourite vegetable in the whole wide world is peas. The floor can have them! Though choking them down with a tolerable Pinot Grigio might help me cope.

  8. How wonderful to spend that precious time with your friend Giles! πŸ™‚ I love the shots of him…especially the reflection photos! And how lovely of him to gather the rubbish! I wish I could give him a hug of thanks! πŸ™‚
    I shall click on the Wombling link because I do not know what it is!
    I was so looking forward your seabird photos and they did NOT disappoint! Beautiful captures, Derrick, of the birds!
    HA! (I snorted πŸ˜€ ) on diving, rolling peas! And YAY for real onions in the onion rings! πŸ™‚
    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚

  9. Many things to see! Believe it or not, I was especially taken with your photos of the rat. Somehow, rather than looking creepy or menacing, the rat looked like any other creature foraging for a meal. A generous photo, Derrick.

  10. Good job you had Giles as a human form of specs or you’d have missed out on so much (or rather, we all would have). The chessboard picture of him is very Salvador Dali. Guinea pigs are my rodents of choice, but sleek rats make a good substitute.

  11. Looks brilliant, what a lovely place and great photographs.
    Colonel Hawker used to hunt in the Milford area in the mid 1800, if I had known you were going there I could have lent you my Punt Gun!!!

  12. When I read “godwit wading amongst the teal,” I thought teal was some sort of vegetation. I had to look it up to realize it was another kind of duck. They are lovely. We have the mallards and the swans, but both the goodwit and the teal are new to me. Bravo to Giles for picking up trash. As I was running along my road today I thought I might have to do a blog post on littering.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.