Bullies Of The Feeders

This morning I was distracted from my reading by activity on the bird feeders.

Goldfinches, as usual, spilled more seed than they consumed;

they had to wait their turn on the sunflower seeds

as did dunnocks on the suet balls, where, until recently, with sparrows, they had ruled the roost.

Now the starlings, with their fluid speckled iridescence,

are the dominant bullies of the feeders.

On this chilly, dull, afternoon, Jackie worked at clearing the Oval Bed which contains this plant interred last year that has lost its label to the winds;

and placing pansies in the iron urn. This container was full of vine weevils which she had to extract before adding fresh compost and pansies. The additional flora she would normally have included at this time are unavailable because they are dying in closed garden centres on account of coronavirus regulations. Many of these outlets will not survive.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s rustic chicken and vegetable soup followed by her delicious

amber dried fruit lattice pie and custard.

 

 

Keeping Their Distance

In recent days goldfinches have joined the ranks of birds swooping on the feeders.

We think we may be harbouring an extra long tailed variety.

Mum’s care home is now in total lockdown. Several of us telephoned her in turn.

I believe that is now widespread. Jackie photographed this conversation through a  window at Barton on Sea. The son had left flowers at the door.

The cliff top grassed area was as crowded as any other spring Sunday afternoon, except that all the groups appeared to be keeping their distance from others.

Mudeford harbour was even more crowded, yet people picnicked

and played;

walked dogs;

and occupied benches in company

or in solitude.

Gulls simply winged it overhead or

over the shore at low tide,

while a pack of motor cyclists came along for the ride.

Turning inland,

on Braggers Lane

a jogger maintained his solitude.

Across the landscape in a roughly central position stands All Saints Church, Thorney Hill.

Pools still line Forest Road near Holmsley,

where ponies ponder,

graze,

and reflect.

Early this evening Jackie nipped out to photograph Elusive Eric the pheasant, who evaded her, so she settled for

primroses,

cyclamen,

the Cryptomeria Bed,

the Dragon Bed,

 daffodils and wood anemones.

This evening we dined on succulent duck breasts roasted with new potatoes; with crunchy cauliflower, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the El Zumbado Garnacha Syrah, this time 2018 vintage.

 

In The Hedgerow

Just a few yards down Downton Lane was enough of an amble for me this morning. Close inspection of the hedgerow revealed various insects soaking up the soporific sunshine.Hoverfly 1FlyInsectHoverfly 2 Hoverfly 3 See if you can spot them. The first two are easy. If in difficulty click on the imagos’ images. (WordPress didn’t like the first piece of this alliteration. It persisted in changing it to the second. An alternative plural of imago is imagines. The site would have been happy with that). Apart from the ordinary fly, I think the others are all hoverflies masquerading as something more harmful. Holly leaves and seeds in a web Holly blossom The hollies are sprouting new leaves and blossom. Spiders keep out of sight of probing lenses. One has only trapped dandelion seeds in its web. Wild strawberry

Struggling through the ground ivy are what I take to be wild strawberries.

Rose garden stage 1

At home Aaron has begun to lay the projected rose garden paths.

A pair of goldfinches has taken to joining us for dinner. Note the male’s bright red poll. We enjoyed Jackie’s beef stew; boiled potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots; and roasted peppers, onions, and garlic, followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream.Goldfinches

The birds preferred their niger seed. I drank Madiran Reserve de Tuguets 2012. Jackie drank water from the fridge. Our visitors possibly drank later.