A Mating Ritual

I accompanied Jackie on her Ferndene Farm shop trip this morning.

There was no queue for the food shopping, so Jackie did that first before joining

the line of  plant lovers, Masks were more in evidence today.

Jackie’s floral purchases were limited because there was only one empty plant tray and the trollies were all in use.

Afterwards we drove on to Tesco to fill up with petrol. There was no queue there either.

Ballards Lake lies alongside Fernhill Road on the outskirts of New Milton. Jackie parked first in Brook Avenue, then in Lake Grove Road while I wandered with my camera.

Residents of Brook Avenue enjoy

blooming bluebells  enhancing a splendid woodland view from the fronts of their houses.


One woman seemed to be returning home from a walk with her dog.

Perhaps she had availed herself of the dog poop bin alongside the dappled footpath leading to a bridge over

a shallow stream which

in parts is quite rock dry.

The shadow in this picture is that of another bridge, the crossing of which leads into the


woodland path along which I stood aside for a couple of dog walkers who thanked me for doing so.

The stream featured here is meant to flow under Fernhill Road to link with Ballards Lake.

In fact it is so dry that a scummy surface scarcely swirls after dribbling from drying rocks beneath

the lakeside bridge, one of which posts sports

a child’s sun hat.

I watched a young woman photographing a young child on the far bank.

Later her group seemed to have spotted something – perhaps the infant had gone wandering.

The lake’s surface bore a number of reflections.

On my circumperambulation (yes, I have coined this word) I spoke to several people at a safe distance. The couple above welcomed my attention because the gentleman enjoys the same enthusiasm.

The old gold bands seen curling round the limbs of these oak boughs above the dog walkers were gently rippling reflections from the wake of mallards and their


I think this was a friendly thrush that greeted me. I would be grateful for any birder letting me know otherwise. (I am reliably informed by John Knifton that this is a dunnock – thanks a lot, John)

The screeching black headed gulls that dominated the orchestra around the lake seemed not so friendly.

In fact the name of this avian species is quite misleading. Their heads are chocolate brown rather than black, and even then only during the summer when their white pates develop this pigmentation.

A considerable about of squawking came from their open beaks.

Some adopted the apparently subservient prone shuffle we had seen in our pigeon  day or so ago. Here was another mating ritual.

This evening we dined on a spicy pizza with fresh salad included very flavoursome Ferndene Farm Shop Isle of Wight tomatoes. Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc while I drank Dornfelder Rheinhessen dry red wine 2018.

Published by derrickjknight

I am an octogenarian enjoying rambling physically and photographing what I see, and rambling in my head as memories are triggered. I also ramble through a lifetime's photographs. In these later years much rambling is done in a car.

72 thoughts on “A Mating Ritual

  1. You are spoiled for choice of which fine part of nature to perambulate in today! And I am most impressed with the new word released into the world today ‘circumperabulation’ or maybe ‘circumperambulation’ ? I shall attempt to insert it into any random conversation had with the dog today 🙂

  2. I’m glad you and Jackie were able to get your errands done. What a lovely walk you had. I agree with Pauline, “circumperambulation” is a great word. Well coined!😀
    I particularly like the shadowy bridge trail photos, and also the mallard with the water trail.

  3. Nature goes on with life! And Human-Beans are trying to do so, too. You’ve captured this so beautifully! 🙂

    circumperambulation … Ha! GREAT word! 😀 My mother called words like that 10 dollar words…but these days they are worth at least 100 dollars in my estimationingness. 😉 HA!

    Mark Twain said, ““Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.”
    But I don’t agree with him on this! I love BIG made up words! 😀

    HUGS!!! 🙂

  4. We’ll be heading out for a food shop soon and pick up Norm’s dry-cleaners. Anything for a drive and get out for a bit.

    Interesting pigeons. I don’t think we have any like that this far south.

  5. Thank you Derrick, you’ve made my morning, I’m enjoying my breakfast, scrolling through your photos, and reading your informative captions…

  6. Our so-called laughing gulls behave much as these, I think. When it’s mating season, they begin — laughing and laughing until everyone within earshot is laughing, too. On the other hand, where there are a couple hundred whooping it up, it can be quite an event.

    I especially like the tangled and twisted trees. They look substantial and delicate, all at once.

  7. The gulls look like they belong in a comic book. I could see a story happening around them, just with those photos. Your woods are lovely and it looks like Jackie was able to pick up some of the flowers she wanted. As for pizza–Yum!

  8. So you could say even the gulls are wearing their CORVID masks. (I’m mixing my species metaphors there, I know). I don’t think I’ve eaten really, really, tasty tomatoes since I used to pick them for lunch straight off the vine all those decades ago when I was grape-picking on Crete. But those from Ferndene sound good.

  9. You appear to have wandered away to regions frequented by dog lovers. The arrangements to deal with dog droppings are adequate enough. Not that inaccurately named black-headed gulls give two hoots to what our four-legged friends do. Your portmanteau word speaks volumes about this day’s enterprise.

  10. Happy to read that your nurseries seem to be bustling with gardeners too, during this lockdown. It’s such a healing and life-embracing activity. Those old oaks stretching out over the paths are wonderful. I would love to know what they have witnessed in their lifetime. Lastly, you got some great, humorous photos of the black headed gulls at the end. Birds with personality, it looks like!

  11. I enjoyed the photos from your day, Derrick and Jackie! Looks like a beautiful sunny day there. We did get a good soaking rain at both ends of the day here today. The rain was much needed, and at least was not too cold today.

  12. Isle of Wight tomatoes! They sound good.

    Anyway, it was so refreshing to see a post about the outside world. It made me feel I too was away from the confines of my house.

    I’m glad that you could go out and do some ‘normal’ outdoor activities.

  13. It’s a dunnock, Derryck. (Or a hedge sparrow as it used to be called or a hedge accentor as we are supposed to call it nowadays). The ID is that it is small, brown and grey, with lots of streaks. The black-headed gulls are at their very best at this time of year, wonderfully dapper. You’ve captured them really well.

  14. Looks like you had a full day, Derrick. I love the picture of the lake with its reflections. It looks like a Monet 🙂 And those gulls are really striking – the gulls we get are pretty bland looking (but also loud!)

  15. What a lovely area to stroll the day away! All of our areas like this are closed and we see far more masks than I see here. We are certainly helping Nature more this Earth Day than we’ve ever done before!!

  16. Love the new word! I think I favour the inclusion in the Oxford Dictionary rather than the American Merriam Webster, unless of course you are cited as the English gentleman responsible! 🙂

    1. Knowing that the Oxford Dictionary publish new words the first time they appear in print, when I first used this some years ago I added a cheeky comment that they might be interested. I didn’t hear anything 🙂 Thanks very much, Sue.

      1. Oh that’s a shame. I suppose it all depends on the individual. Perhaps there might be fresh eyes and an open mind over at Oxford Dictionary today.

  17. Looks like a good day out. Apart from the masks it almost looks like a normal day – quite refreshing to see it’s possible to keep a social distance and have a decent trip out.

  18. It will be good when the garden centres are allowed to open! In the future I would think that most shops will be selling food in the hope of being allowed to stay open if and when another emergency occurs.
    I love the shot of those wonderfully bent mature trees alongside the woodland path.

  19. Love your neologism, Derrick, and, as always, enjoy your reflections and shadows photos.
    I take it, it’s not mandatory for you to wear masks in public places. Here in South Florida it is, and only essential businesses are open, so farm stores, sadly, are closed.

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