Symbiotic Relationship

Such brief sunshine as we were to enjoy today came quite early. That is when we set off for a forest drive.

Two lanes we traversed en route to Beaulieu are named Boldre and Rodlease.

The Gravel Pit Lake at Pilley, almost bone dry last summer, has returned to its normal full state, nurturing white flowers and geese.

Beside Beaulieu Lake we witnessed the annual symbiotic relationship between birds and beasts – in this case jackdaws and cattle. The jackdaw flying away in the first picture has been seen off by a rival for soft nesting material. In spring the animals need to shed their summer coats and the birds need to build nests. The cows remain nonchalant as the birds pluck away.

A short distance away a group of donkeys were being similarly shorn, but by the time Jackie had managed to park the car for my disembarkation, beaks had been filled and birds had flown.

I think a herd of white horned cattle at Dibden must be

More familiar black ones wandered at Bartley.

From there we made our way to Nomansland, where we lunched at The Lamb Inn. I enjoyed a massive mixed grill and two thirds of a pint of Doom Bar. Jackie’s choice was halloumi burger with sweet potato chips and salad. She drank a Diet Pepsi.

More foals were in evidence alongside Roger Penny Way. One mare led her offspring across the road to make an introduction to a potential playmate. The acquaintance appeared to be short-lived.

After our most substantial lunch, we needed no further sustenance this evening.


  1. Interesting jackdaw photos. When bison shed, not only birds but other prairie animals will make use of their fur for nesting material. I’ve read of bluejays giving grief to cats and dogs when they’re constructing nests, too. Creative little things!

  2. Adorable foals! As for the plucking birds…either the cows or donkeys have resigned themselves to the avian onslaught or perhaps it feels good to get rid of those clumps of hair. Wonderful series of pictures.

  3. I wasn’t aware of the luxury nests made out of cattle fur. The symbiotic balances of Nature is amazing to the core. Thumbs up for the photographic curry for the soul.

  4. OH! I love the bird and cow friendship! πŸ™‚ If only human-beans could help and support each other better.
    You know the donkeys, and the little foals, have my heart! <3
    Once again, your photos are joy-bringers! πŸ™‚
    HUGS to you and Jackie!!! πŸ™‚

  5. Wonderful photos Derrick, i loved the one of the cows, donkeys and white swans together – just perfect.

    My favourites though are of the foals and pony, i beamed a big smile when i saw the first foal photo as he races behind his Mum, so full of the joy of life and seemingly without care. Ahh to be like that again.

    I did notice though that he was most definitely a boy pony and it would seem that his dark haired companion was a girl pony and he quite fancied her? πŸ˜‰

    Your blog may have to be ‘R’ rated at this rate?

    Hope you’ve got room for breakfast this morning! πŸ˜‰

  6. Splendid photos. I like how you got the shot of the bird gathering the hair. The first photo of the cows, donkeys, and swans look like they posed for you–like a painting. And the little foal and the donkeys are adorable. That must have been some meal, your “massive mixed grill,” though I’d prefer Jackie’s. πŸ™‚

  7. I have pictures of a Tufted Titmouse plucking fur off a sleeping Racoon in Central Park. Seems to be a popular method of getting soft nesting material.

  8. We notice it here too. The birds perching on both cows and sheep.
    At this time of year we don’t bother transferring brushed dog hair to the bin, we let it blow and the birds swoop upon it.
    Your photos paint the perfect Idyll

  9. Wonderful photos as ever, Derrick. I am so pleased to see the pictures of jackdaws plucking fur from the cattle – I’ve never that before!

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