We do, of course, still have the garden birds which will be around over winter, woodpeckers, tree sparrows, redstart, goldfinch, tits, magpie and doves. Also owls of unknown species which make you jump out of your skin when they screech from the apricot tree just outside the window.
We had a trip down to the river yesterday to see what changes were happening. In previous posts I have mentioned that the tracks used by weekenders, anglers and shepherds are lined with banks of builder's rubbish (much attributed to immigrants coming in and wanting home improvements on their basic, cheap houses) piles of garden and household waste and manure from when animal pens are cleared out in spring. Well, these mounds of rubbish have been flattened and some of it pushed into the pools which have been created by not only the rubbish but from small pits being dug out for sand and gravel. Nasty though it is to see the rubbish and scarred land, these pits are a haven for wildlife. There are frogs by the thousand, terrapins and all sorts of insect life. There will be other amphibians we never see, reptiles too. So it is no wonder that the birdlife is so rich. There are mammals too, many of the endangered suslik and hares, which we rarely see and no doubt plenty of other animals which prey on these when there is no-one about.
|The river has been rather full and fast moving all year due to the unusual rain|
|This sign says no tipping. It was lying on the ground. No doubt someone will be along to dump some rubbish on top of it!|
|I can see you!|
And of course the river must be full of fish. There are always anglers about, coarse fishing is big here. The amount of different species of heron, and many of them, kingfishers is large numbers, cormorants, large and small egrets and grebe. The occasional duck and swan. When you sit and think about it it's mind boggling.
|Cormorants drying off after a fishing trip|
Then there are insect and grub eaters, the summer visitors, bee-eaters, sand martins, and waders like sandpipers, hoopoe, fly catchers, shrike and other unknowns. Seed eaters in flocks of mixed finches, corn buntings. The clearers such as magpies and hooded crows. Jays and woodpeckers of different species. Birds of prey which we are hopeless at identifying and photographing. All these and more in just a few acres of wasteland. Incredible.
|A family of magpies, there are many here|
|A busy little crested lark|
|Spotted fly catcher|
|A lonely duck|
|Such salubrious surroundings|
|The dot is a black stork just taken off...honest|
One of the biggest problems with going so early is the sun. With it being so low it is difficult taking photos with a point-and-shoot. So many birds seem to fly into the sun...not fair!
|The sun taking it's time getting up|
|That man again, just can't keep him out!|
|Early morning hay collection|
And on the way there we saw buzzards, a family of nearly grown pheasant, a young roller and a dead fox and dead hedgehog. Well, you can't win 'em all!
|Roller, presumably a youngster as it was not very blue|
Back home and the task of emptying the dry store cupboard waited. We had a mouse in there. I knew because I could smell it as I opened the door but the more I sniffed the more I doubted. It came to a head when I pulled out a packet of linguine and there were a couple of small holes each end. So cooked that for the chooks and in went a trap. Minutes later we had no mouse, just a few packets of dry food with tiny holes. Most stuff is in plastic boxes, coffee tins or jars luckily. There seems to be no more as the trap has stayed silent since.
The lady wanting a small cockerel turned up for him. She brought with her some straw for the geese and we traded butternuts and cockerel and after lots of chats we have a new friend and one less bird.
And talking of chats, we had a very chatty time at the car boot sale this week, meeting a couple of new facebook faces, and plenty of other acquaintances. It's exhausting! But very nice. But also there was someone there who asked Dave if he would be interested in showing his work at a shared exhibition next year. There is still a lot to discuss but sounds interesting. Also Dave delivered his latest commission, a painted sign for Morgan's Plants, with English on one side if the A-frame and Bulgarian on the other. Graham Beckett and Dave Morgan, who run the nursey, are chuffed with it which is great. It looks just right. There was a bit of hair tearing with the lettering, very difficult to do straight and curved letters, all the same size and in a straight line, but all is calm now.
|Graham (in green) Helen his right hand woman at the sales, Dave in orange and someone in blue inspecting the Bulgarian side of the sign|
|One seller turned up with a cart full of 'stuff'|
|This great little dog always visits everyone and would make a lovely friend for Bella. Unfortunately he has an owner!!!!!|
|There are lots of interesting goodies always for sale...I just wish they wouldn't park next to us...too tempting sometimes|
We have at last got the salad and also carrots and beets sown. According to the internet we are well in time so it will be interesting to see what happens. And if it does work we will be grateful for fresh veg as by then the only fresh stuff will be cabbage...and maybe sprouts.
Little Splash has grown again and Bella has started yelping when he gets rough, but she is still so patient. She has realised he doesn't understand the bowing is an invitation to play and has tried barking instead. But that is too much for Splash and he hides. Maybe I should try barking at him.............