Corvid Imprinting

We understand that some young birds peck their mothers to prompt feeding. It was on 27th June 2018 that Jackie discovered this the hard way when Russell Crow became imprinted on her.

Bravely tolerating the onslaught in the interests of photographic art my wife bore it as long as she could. Thereafter, as he swooped on her every time she left the house, and even followed her into the kitchen, she became afraid and eventually chased him away. It was several years before he left his solitary perch on a neighbour’s roof, apparently the only member of his species without a mate.

Does anyone have a view on our interpretation of this episode?

Rudolph

Martin spent the whole day working in the garden. Jackie and I left him to it later this afternoon, but I will need to photograph his results tomorrow, because soon after we came home from an afternoon’s drive heavy rain hammered down.

Before lunch Shelly visited for a coffee and catch up after Covid in both families. All is well now.

My camera today found plenty of subjects along Beachern Wood.

A solitary pony cropped the verges beside the car park where

a horse being led from its box attracted visitors’ attention.

Various ponies dotted the landscape as we approached

the waking woodland, walked by people of all ages.

Alpacas basked on a hill opposite the trees;

cyclists and riders ambled down the road;

ungainly gaited crows trotted around the banks of

the rippling Ober Water, which reflected the surrounding trees,

one of which still bore Christmas decorations.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s omelette-topped savoury rice served with three preparations of prawns, namely tempura, hot and spicy and salt and pepper with which the Culinary Queen and I drank Valle de Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc 2021, while Flo didn’t.

Decaying Forestation

On this third afternoon of continuous blue sky and bright sunshine the waxing

moon looked down early over Christchurch Road as we left home on a forest drive, and over Rhinefield Ornamental Drive as we made for home.

Wilverley Plain’s gorse-laden landscape and ponies already bore the touch of the approaching sunset.

A group of Shetland ponies wandered to and fro across the road approaching Brockenhurst. The grey crossing the waterlogged area stepped around the pool in search of a suitable section.

Whenever the sunlight pierced the tall forestation it burnished branches, bracken, and ponies.

As the afternoon drew on Jackie pictured a crow atop a tree; tall trees; and Derrick on Rhinefield Drive.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s paprika pork meal with the same accompanying beverages.

Changing By The Second

Wild wind howled and piercing precipitation rattled the roof throughout the night and well into the morning.

Jackie photographed and I e-mailed this image of crooked hand from our 200 year old long case clock to Martin Fairhurst of Dials in Lymington who will repair it. Even with the bend the clock keeps perfect time and chimes seven minutes late according to the point of the digit, as if there were no crook in it.

After lunch I made a start on a month’s ironing. When the sun sneaked out I unplugged the iron and we sped after it. Since it had made the effort we would have been rude not to.

The field alongside South Sway Lane, once home to pony Gimlet and her foal,

was now occupied by a nomadic Mallard family.

A drain was overflowing, suggesting that the lane itself will be flooded soon. Last year it became impassable.

The rain had definitely not conceded the skies. Rainbows followed us around

The fast-flowing, rippling and bubbling Balmer Lawn stretch of Highland Water had overflowed its banks. Within seconds of my striding out to photograph it the clouds rolled in, rain hammered down, and my woollen jacket soon took on the scent of damp sheep.

On the signal of the click of my camera a reflective crow was instantly on the wing.

Just around the corner the sun emerged once more, cast long shadows, and burnished trees against a dark slate sky.

Lulled into a false sense of security I walked across a muddy field to photograph ponies sheltering among the trees. They knew that I would soon be walking through torrential bead curtains.

Houses and trees were silhouetted against the clouds’ bonfire smoke. The skies were changing by the second.

I heard gleeful laughter emanating from a parked people carrier whose occupants were impressed by the ponies. As I raised my camera in polite request

the mother of the boys cheerfully wound her window down and, with a smile, said “put your tongue back in”. This was, of course, the signal to stick it out further. Although rain still rolled down the vehicle it had stopped falling from the skies.

As I drafted this post the heavy rain clattered throughout against my window.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, green peas, cornichons, and pickled onions with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Coonawarra.

After His Bath

Today’s brisk north east wind carried a much cooler breeze than the sunshine promised. Fooled by this deception we took a circuitous route taking in

Keyhaven Harbour at low tide on our way home.

Some moored boats sat on dry land;

others, with buoys bobbed

on the rippling shallow surfaces while winds whistled through their bristling masts.

A lone oyster catcher picked its way among the drying weed,

 

like this black headed gull

quite unfazed by a black crow’s attempts at menace.

Several of the walkers who stepped out along the open freezer that was the sea wall commented on the tingling temperature.

There was not much activity at the end of Saltgrass Lane with its bridge to Hurst Spit over which

gulls swooped no doubt wondering why two gentlemen kept their prescribed distance.

One of the black headed birds rested on a rock contemplating

a cluster of yellow wild flowers on the opposite bank.

It is always risky for me to disembark with a camera while Jackie stops along a narrow winding lane like the one named

Agarton, because if any other vehicle comes along she will have to drive off and wait for me at the next available spot. Today we were lucky. Until we ventured into Lymore Valley.

There a most unpleasant stench beset our nostrils.

Rounding a bend we came nose to tail with a waste disposal tanker draining a domestic septic tank.

There was no way round it and Jackie was forced to back up until she found a place to turn. Difficult to do when you are holding your hooter.

Later this afternoon Jackie embarked upon a necessary watering session in the garden, where Nugget was having difficulty taking a bath in the somewhat reduced water feature. She refilled it and turned to her tray of potted plants. Her familiar followed her and indicated that he would rather swish around in that while keeping her company.

Looking rather tatty after his bath,

he was determined to hide. “Where’s Nugget?” (77) and

eventually emerged a little drier

to gather provender

for his offspring.

In addition to these pictures of her resident robin Jackie photographed the rose Paul’s Scarlet now scaling the wisteria arbour.

Fortunately The Culinary Queen prepares plenty of her delicious pasta arrabbiata for us to enjoy a repeat sitting today and other days. She drank Hoegaarden with her helping and I drank more of the El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah with mine.

“Where’s Jackie?”

Jackie spent much of the day tending to her hanging baskets and other containers, while I wandered about dead-heading and picking up debris for the compost bin.

I did, of course, have my camera handy. We have two new poppy varieties on display.

One is Californian;

the other I cannot name because it is a self-seeded volunteer which didn’t introduce itself.

For the first time this year geum Mrs Bradshaw has found a happy place in Margery’s Bed.

Another new bloom is clematis Warsaw Nike.

The Dr Ruppel I have been picturing recently scales the right hand side of the nearest arch spanning the brick path;

another is announcing its presence against the weeping birch trunk.

Jackie worked in the shade beyond these rhododendrons.

Here are some views of the Rose Garden.

In this one, “Where’s Jackie?”

After lunch Jackie worked

beneath a copper beech canopy

casting cool shadows.

Russel Crow, patrolling the roof of the house, panted like a dog to combat the heat.

Nugget did periodically investigate pickings from the pots, eventually taking off in search of fresh meat.

From this perch on the west side of the garden his food came in the form of flying insects at which he darted far too fast for my trigger finger – and for the wings of his prey.

The last two of these images show, on our right of Nugget’s plumage a little black mark which definitely identifies him.

This evening, on the patio before dinner, we noticed a nest of baby spiders, mostly clustered together.

Later, we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; tender runner and green beans with cabbage; and firm Brussels sprouts. with which I drank The Second Fleet Limestone Coast Shiraz 2018.

Cawing For His Mum

I delayed my walk around the garden until later this afternoon, hoping to take advantage of the light.

Almost as soon as I had photographed this budding heuchera

and this camellia bloom toning into graceful age,

the skies closed the curtains, silhouetting the Weeping birch branches.

I continued photographing a range of daffodils;

another somewhat droopy camellia retaining its youthful bloom;

one of our varieties of euphorbia;

 

a species tulip, Lilac Wonder;

a steadily developing Japanese maple;

and one of our sundry clusters of forget-me-nots.

The West Bed border contains primroses, primulas, hellebores, snakes head fritillaries, and lamium.

I even just about managed to catch a wren.

Russell the lone crow imprinted on Jackie made 

quite a row cawing for his Mum.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome Hunter’s chicken; roast potatoes, parsnips, and mushrooms; crisp carrots and cauliflower; tender cabbage and green beans; followed, with custard, by what, given its dried fruit base, the Culinary Queen calls her amber crumble, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the El Zumbido.

 

 

 

Their Hay Day

Today was dull and dry.

This morning Jackie photographed a great tit in the garden.

After lunch she drove us to Helen and Bill’s home in Fordingbridge. My sister-in-law was returning two grandchildren to their parents; we stayed chatting with Bill for a while and drank his coffee. We left birthday presents for Helen, then took a leisurely route home through the forest.

Three deer had wandered into a garden on Frogham Hill.

Jackie braved the shuddering potholes at Abbots Well in order to enjoy the landscape

which despite the sun’s feeble attempts to penetrate the cloud canopy remained rather murky.

A crow conversing with a bay pony

delayed its descent down the sloping woodland.

Another pony following the first passed one of the many

worrying signs that seem to proliferate in this area. Just after I photographed this example a young man having difficulty instructing his bouncing dog to sit effectually settled it enough for him to remove its lead and set it bounding off, quite close to this

grazing pony.

 

On Cadnam Lane a farmer squelched across the boggy green to leave a heap of hay for the waiting assortment of ponies. He wore wellies. I didn’t, so my walking shoes collected a coating of claggy clay as

I approached

the diners.

Mutual grooming was undertaken by some of the Shetlands carrying caked mud.

On our way home a couple of deer sped across Roger Penny Way in the glare of a car’s headlights.

This evening we dined at The Wheel Inn. We both enjoyed tempera prawn starters; my main meal was a succulent steak speared with a stick of prawns; crisp chips; and fresh salad. Jackie’s choice was equally good mushroom stroganoff and salad. She drank Becks and I drank Ringwood’s Best.

A Quarrel Of Sparrows

Stealth bombers dominate our front garden feeders.

Silently they crowd the seed provider, with a

considerable amount of spillage

cleared up by robin Ron for whom this particular container was provided,

and larger birds like blackbirds

and woodpigeons.

The voracious field sparrows dart onto any vacant perch. They engage in fearsome face-offs. Spreading or violently flapping their wings and viciously pecking they dive-bomb their rivals to take their places at the trough.

It is hardly surprising that a collective noun for sparrows is a quarrel.

This afternoon Jackie went into the garden in search of Nugget, who she photographed as he cocked his head awry.

“Where’s Nugget?” (60)

She thinks the solitary crow on our rooftop is Russell, who latched onto her in its infancy in June 2018.

She also photographed

an iris,

the Weeping Birch,

a vinca,

an owl on the stumpery,

an osteospermum,

campanula,

heuchera leaves,

and emerging snowdrops.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef and mushroom pie; creamy potato and swede mash; firm carrots and Brussels sprouts; tender cabbage; and thick, tasty, gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Garnacha Syrah.

 

Have I Found A Redshank?

We enjoyed another very hot temperature with clear, pale blue, skies today.

In the garden bees laboured on rudbeckia;

Small White butterflies were ubiquitous;

sun produced X-ray images of such as hollyhocks and pelargoniums;

and cart wheels spoke to the low bark of the eucalyptus.

I wandered around for a while. As usual, titles may be found in the galleries.

Nugget flew at the closed utility room window while expressing his dissatisfaction with Jackie because she spent her time watering plants instead of digging up his breakfast. Bouncing onto the paving below he appeared to have recovered

enough to continue on his own chirpy way.

This afternoon we visited Shelly and Ron with birthday presents, just after Helen and Bill had arrived. We spent pleasant hour together, assisted with the crossword and accepted that we couldn’t put the world to rights.

Giles collected me early this evening for a birding session at the Milford on Sea hide.

As we left by the kitchen door, Nugget, perched on the patio rocker waved us on our way.

Such a hazy mist hung over Sturt Pond that visibility was somewhat shrouded. The Isle of Wight was quite invisible;

walkers on the spit and the bridge were given a nebulous quality.

A crow surveyed the scene from a wooden wire fence post.

We were joined in the hide by 8 year old Will Ryan and his parents.

I managed to identify the spread wings of a cormorant, but

I was at a loss to be sure about the redshank to which this engaging young man did his best to guide me. I may have one or two in this collection. Ornithologists among my readership may be kind enough to let me know. Bigification can be obtained from the gallery.

This evening Jackie and I dined on spicy pepperoni pizza and plentiful fresh salad.