This morning we visited Ferndene Farm Shop to buy three large bags of compost and a couple of trays of pansies, after which we took a drive into the forest, where

my quiet communing with an inquisitive pony opposite the entrance to Ibsley Drove was disturbed by the clear voices of a couple of approaching cyclists, and

the sudden explosion of raucous cawing by nesting rooks taking to the skies.

I then proceeded to bend my back more than I thought possible in order to photograph the

constant toing and froing of the prospective new parents as I imagined the males kept the incubating females supplied with provender, and occasionally did sentry duty. It may be that there were hungry infants in the nests, but, even by craning my neck, I couldn’t tell.

Looking down across the landscape at Ogdens North beneath leaden skies

we espied a pair of be-rugged field horses sharing their paddock with a herd of deer, including a rare white one.

This evening we reprised yesterday’s roast pork dinner with more of the same beverages.


  1. Oh my, the triple pile of nests fascinated me! And the “inquisitive pony” made me laugh out loud. Ordinarily I wouldn’t laugh at such a beautiful animal, but I read a post from Gottfried this afternoon and he said, “It is bad to suppress laughter. It goes back down and spreads to your hips.” Heaven knows I don’t need broader hips so I let that pony tickle my funny bone! <3 Your photos are wonderful, as always, {{{Derrick}}} – Have a wonderful rest of your day. I am going to fix hamburger and rice stuffed yellow bell peppers for dinner and share a bottle of Pinot Grigio with Bob. Cheers!

  2. Gorgeous photos today! πŸ™‚ Buying pansies!!! YAY!!! Love those sweet faces! πŸ™‚
    Crows can be so dramatic! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜› They are interesting to watch and listen to. Your photos of them… the trees, the nests…are so cool! Love finding them among the web of bare branches! The last photo of the lone crow close up is stunning and atmospheric!
    Love the pretty ponies and dear deer getting along and sharing so beautifully! A reminder to Human-Beans! πŸ™‚
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  3. I’m with GP too – if only people could get on so well (and with no need for ‘social distancing’!)
    The faces of those beautifully marked ponies are just lovely – but I also agree with Does it even matter – pansies have such charming, cheeky faces; look forward to seeing them in your beautiful garden soon – overlooked, of course, by Jackie’s wise owls…
    We had an equally noisy new parent here today – Honey was the first of our Soay girls to lamb, and has two beautiful, Bamby-legged lambs! The joys of Spring πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks very much, Liz. I had originally thought the birds were rooks – Tootlepedal raised the question and after research I have reverted to rooks in a rookery.

    1. They must be rooks which is what I originally thought, but two locals said they were crows. I think you are right, so I’m going to edit the post. Thanks very much, Tootlepedal

  4. love the hillside photo of ponies and yes, the lone white one was in the middle. always great pictures for us, Derrick. thank you.

  5. That is a handsome sorrel pony, and a very nice portrait of him or her. The prospective bird parents made a nice set, and that is quite a herd of deer in with the ponies!

      1. As I learned it growing up, sorrel is the coloring, a chestnut body with flaxen mane and tail. Chestnut can come in a range of hues from lighter to deep red. I see color definitions for sorrel out there that vary a bit, but seem all exclude the color black from coat, mane and tails.

  6. Toing and froing is going to be a rich addition to my limited vocabulary in spite of fierce protests from my iPad even as I type that phrase. Nesting crows have a keen investigator of their industry. The nesting members have become one with the grand latticework of the trees. I’ve heard scheming cuckoos secretly topple over the crow eggs and restock the nests with theirs, I am not sure if that is true. Ungulates are spread over the grassland like confetti.

    1. You have an enviable “limited vocabulary” πŸ™‚ – WP doesn’t like “toing and froing” so `I checked it in my iMac dictionary, then fought it out, as we have both done again. As I understand it, our cuckoos lay their eggs alongside those of a smaller bird e.g. hedge sparrow and, when hatched turf out the hosts. Thanks very much.

  7. Many of our rookeries are thought to be hundreds of years old. I remember that one had been identified as having been watched and listened to by Charles Dickens.
    You’re right about cuckoos by the way. The adults do nothing at all except for the female identifying the nest. Certain cuckoos predate one bird species, other cuckoos a different one.

  8. I am envious of all your wildlife. Here in arable farming Lincolnshire there is little. The best time is earl mornings when deer leave the shelter of the copse and wander around the field opposite our house. Too far away for me to get a photograph unfortunately.

  9. i also loved seeing the deer and the horses sharing the paddock.
    Putting different animals together in the same field is a good plan – sheep, ponies and cows etc each have a different set of parasites, Such as different species of worms. Although farm animals are usually wormed regularly, they help each other by hoovering up the eggs of the of the worm that doesn’t affect them. Sounds revolting doesn’t it??

  10. PS. Meant to say there’s some nest building going on here. I’ve just been watching a Magpie carry a very long twig and fly into a nearby tree, The twig must have been at least half a metre in length!

  11. Hello Derrick
    Every time I see a photo of a pony roaming free in your region … I would like to be able to cross the screen to find myself there too
    I see that the gardening work begins at your place with the purchase of potting soil, flowers …
    In my land, we passed the tiller. I will have to ask the people of the commune to bring me a truck of soil to enrich that of my land which is poor.
    Are you coming to help? (smile)
    Have a good weekend to both of you

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