On a sun-bright, but still chilly, breezy, morning we took a drive to the east of the forest.
Jackie parked the Modus on the verge of Sowley Lane and decanted me and my camera.
Ponies shared the broad verge pasturage with basking cattle, one of whom looked askance at me when I photographed her feet. The close-up of the sorrel pony demonstrates why they all sport wrinkled noses to enable them to nibble the short grass.
A cock pheasant canoodled with a spotlit hen beside a gated path leading to Sowley Lake until they and others disappeared with harsh squawks.
A wide-wing-spanned buzzard, taking care to keep naked branches between itself and my probing lens, glided smoothly overhead, until an eerie silence rent the air.
Meanwhile, Jackie photographed another pheasant hiding in the shrubbery on the opposite side of the road.
Similarly, the Assistant Photographer focussed on a camouflaged chaffinch I captured in plain sight.
A dead tree stretched over the animals on the verge; a brightly clad cyclist blended well with the myriads of brightly-hued daffodils lining the lanes,
which were rife with other groups of pedallers practicing defensive cycling. The first of these trios was happy to collect a convoy behind a delivery van on Lodge Lane; the second swept round a bend on South Baddersley Road carrying out a debate about where they were.
Pheasants usually scuttle off into the hedgerows when we arrive. This one, its feathers all puffed up remained motionless enough for me to become concerned enough to disembark for investigation. It was ambulant enough to walk slowly across the road. Another trick of these birds is to dash from the undergrowth in an apparent suicide attempt on vehicles’ wheels. We wondered whether this had been a survivor from such a game of chicken.
Having, through a five-barred gate, spotted another pheasant approaching a couple of horses on the far side of a field on Lodge Lane, I poked my camera over the gate in order to picture the impending encounter. In ample time, as the equines picked up speed, the bird veered off to avoid their thudding hooves.
Leather-lipped donkeys munched prickly gorse at East End, where, a few days ago, I had photographed a thatcher at work.
We now see he had crowned his roof with a fox chasing a hare which would never be caught.
As we passed Lymington harbour yachts we noticed a man descending rigging.
This evening for dinner we enjoyed our second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away fare, which keeps well for two days, and the same accompanying beverages.