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.

 

Waiting Their Turn

We have now watched half the episodes of The Crown Series 2. My general impression is unchanged.

Much of the morning today was spent getting us back on line. The details are boring.

On another dull day the birds made full use of the feeders.

Sparrows tend to dominate in the front garden,

although they do occasionally allow the tits a look in.

The heavier wood pigeons and sparrows who cannot find room above find easy peckings from what has been tossed aside by the messy feeders.

Eventually Ron was able to take a turn on his own special feeder usually commandeered by voracious sparrows;

while the long tailed tits left a little for Nugget.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata with sautéed peppers, onions, and mushrooms with which she drank Diet Coke and I drank more of the Valréas.

This Is A White Rose Christmas

Winchester Cathedral blooms today.

The crowded seed feeder sways from side to side in the gloom as aggressive

sparrows squabble over occupied perches.

Regular readers will be aware that I have been on two secret trips with Elizabeth. This afternoon she collected me and took me back to her house to help me transport Jackie’s wrapped Christmas present that she has been keeping for me..

Resting in a garden refuse bag for ease of lifting, it now nestles beside the Christmas tree.

It is now 7.10 p,m. Five minutes ago Becky and Ian from Southbourne and Mat, Tess, and Poppy from twice as far away in Upper Dicker arrived at the same time. Five minutes before that Jackie had gone to Hordle Chinese Take Away for dinner for us all. When she arrives we will eat it with various beverages.

Happy Christmas everyone.

One For GP

As was the case this morning, the seed feeder in the front garden is usually overcrowded by sparrows,

with the inevitable pecking consequence.

Great and blue tits share more harmonious meals.

This afternoon we drove into the forest and got no further than Holmsley Passage before we witnessed

a string of ponies crossing the moorland in our direction.

They were headed for pastures new,

and a visit to their swollen waterhole,

now freely flowing.

The Assistant Photographer produced an image she has entitled “two white manes”

while I leant on the bridge to photograph a grey drinking.

Others leaving the stream cast long shadows in the glow of the lowering sun.

Our blogging friend GP Cox really likes the ponies. So, here you are GP – a post for you.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s chic cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; tender cabbage, and tasty gravy with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Barbera d’Asti 2016.

 

 

Survivors December 2019

Today was the third bright, sunny, and cold one in a row. Given that overnight temperatures are in the low minuses, I wandered around the garden to photograph some of the albeit somewhat poorly looking surviving flora.

Two that seem to bloom continuously are the yellow bidens

and the white solanums from last year.

A few primulas,

penstemons,

pelargoniums,

and pansies linger.

The yellow antirrhinums refuse to die.

Mrs Popple

and Delta’s Sarah are two of the still flowering fuchsias.

Fatsia,

vibernum bodnantense Dawn,

and clematis Cirrhosa Freckles we may expect to enjoy at this time of year;

but not the hebes.

Carpets,

Paul’s Scarlet,

Just Joey,

 

Winchester Cathedral,

and Festive Jewel carry the baton for team roses.

Hoards of Hunnish sparrows occupy the hawthorn, swooping on

sad little Muggle’s

feeder for which he has to wait his moment,

while more of Attila’s marauders concentrate on the front garden robin’s seeds.

We didn’t see Nugget today.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Chateau Pinenc Minervois 2017.

 

 

‘In Jackie’s Garden’

Early this morning

sparrows so dominated the seed feeder that

one of their own needed to wait its turn while perched in the winter flowering cherry.

A long tailed tit joined

blue tits tucking into the suet balls.

Soon after 11 we left Aaron to his work in the garden and drove to The First Gallery in Bitterne where Margery and Paul were hosting their 45th Christmas Show.

Margery herself exhibited a number of paintings including this Barn Bird II, its dynamic composition perhaps suggestive of Piet Mondrian.

Here is Billiard Players by one of her favourites, Eric Meadus;

and Cockerel by Joanna Williams.

Crafts of various natures share space with the paintings.

Ingenious automata,

welded ironwork, like the impressively elegant ‘The Violinist’,

and inviting handmade knitwear are specific examples.

Here Jackie takes delight in discovering

the watercolour ‘In Jackie’s Garden’ by John Jones who has produced a fine composition from various elements depicted during his sessions in our garden. Naturally we bought it – at a generous discount.

This evening we dined on medium rare fillet steaks; duchess potatoes; sautéed chestnut mushrooms and red peppers; and al dente green beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Merlot.

Somewhat Disconcerting

Excessive rain interspersed with splendid sunlight spells was the order of the day.

In the early gloom gluttonous sparrows from across the road commandeered the seed feeder.

A later downpour dropped puddles on our paths.

Bright sunshine left sparkling garden views

sporting long shadows.

After lunch we took a drive into the forest via Lyndurst Road,

still displaying autumnal burnished gold,

and mushroom omelettes on the verges.

Blending well with their environment a pair of Oxford Sandy and Black pigs snorted, snuffled, and slurped their sodden way

about the soggy terrain on which floated leaves fallen from reflected trees above.

I have to say that having my knees butted by snotty snouts smearing mucus on contact was somewhat disconcerting.

Pools like this one are spreading across the forest.

A wide one flanks the entrance to Honey Lane, Burley. Even in dry weather our Modus would not survive a trip slaloming the potholes in the lane itself.

A solitary rook stood sentinel at its usual post along the Burley Road.

Constantly changing light produced dramatic skies and landscapes.

A rainbow outside Burley suggested that arboreal gold does lie at its end.

A fast flowing stream bubbled across the ford on Holmsley Passage.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s hot and spicy paprika pork, boiled potatoes and carrots, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cabernet Franc.