Tag Archives: ducks

Spring is Coming

You don’t have to take my word for it – look at the birds.

The Black-headed Gulls are regaining their black heads.

The idiots are also out in force. This prime example spotted the perfect spot to stand and ruin my shot. Then he moved a few feet away before coming back for another go.

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Idiotus Domesticus

Robins were singing in the dogwood hedges (Cynical note to self – Robins are always good for attracting likes).

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Robin and dogwood

And the ducks are looking in fine fettle for breeding.

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Finely fettled ducks

And finally – it’s clear what is on this pigeon’s mind, even if the object of his desire isn’t interested.

 

After the Lord Mayor’s Show…

…comes the dust cart. That is one of the versions, anyway. There are others.

I’ve been having a good time recently, with a good selection of medallions for eBay and some interesting history to learn.

It all came to an end today when we found several hundred coin sets shoved at the back of a cupboard. They are the sort that come in card inserts inside plastic cases. Over the years the cases have been damaged and the coins they contain don’t seem very popular. The answer is to take the coins out and put the empty cards on eBay.

They sell well.

In fact they sell so well that one of the cards I put on today has sold already.

That is some recompense for the boredom of the day, and for the coughing and sneezing as I sorted the dusty cases.

I would add some photos but I seem to have left my camera plugged into the computer at work.

You’ll have to have a few photos from Clumber Park instead.

Walking in Clumber Park

Walking in Clumber Park

 

And finally – more ducks.

And Finally…

We ended up in Windermere, though the photos are taken in Bowness, on the side of the lake. There was plenty to see. This included raindrops, though there were also Jackdaws, pigeons and boats.

We once went on a boat trip in weather that was only marginally better than this. However, we are older and wiser and less able to put up with freezing rain these days, so we just walked round a bit, took photos and went in gift shops. We went into a shop called Pitlochry in Lakeland. It turned out to be the Edinburgh Wool Mill under a different name. If you want tweed, Scottish knitwear and shortbread biscuits, this is the shop for you.

It also includes all those essential ingredients of shopping in England – a shop assistant on the phone whining about working conditions, another swapping phone numbers with a passing friend and a third taking ages over a simple task. Serving customers? Don’t be silly.

There was quite a lot to see, even in a short walk. I resisted the temptation to post too many leaves. I couldn’t resist the shrink-wrapped boat though, or the sculptures. According to the local paper there are plans for sculpture trail between Bowness and Windermere, but sadly no clue to this load of scrap iron in the park.

They look a bit like leeks, I don’t know. What I do now know, after googling “sculpture bowness” is that Dame Barbara Hepworth had a son-in-law called Alan Bowness and that there is a lot of sculpture, including fibreglass Herdwicks, in the Lake District. I’m not sure if any of the sheep are still about to be seen – I will, however, have a look next time we go.

I tried to be artistic, but people aren’t very adventurous in their choice of umbrella. Some people really have no consideration for photographers.  They also kept moving and others got in the way, destroying a well-composed shot of the big green and white umbrella group. One of the culprits with a random head in the frame, was my own dear wife. Pah!

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The view from Bowness – mainly rain

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Boats on Windermere

Food in the Lake District

Conveniently close to the Travelodge at Skipton – next door in fact – is a branch of the Keelham Farm Shop.  It has a good selection (as you will see if you click the link) of fresh fruit and veg, bread, booze and pies. It also has an exchange scheme where you can take in home-grown produce and swap it for other things, a cafe, and a varied programme of events.

If you are up that way it’s worth a visit.

Later we visited Tebay services. You can buy a small pork pie at Tebay for just £2.20, if you can get to them as all the gangways seemed to be clogged up by members of staff who were doing frightfully important stuff. You can buy one at Keelham for £1.10, though their pies lack the plastic packaging. Next time I will buy my pies at Keelhams as they are (a) cheaper and (b) better for the planet.

You can buy hot pies for £3, so we had them for lunch. Julia had the Lamb and Mint and I had the Steak and Ale. They both had plenty of healthy vegetables in them, which lightened them up a bit as a pie full of meat can be a bit hard to digest.

I have mixed feelings about Tebay. They have a massive selection of items, including books and clothing plus the usual farm shop stuff, but with pots of jam over £5, for instance, I always feel this isn’t my natural habitat.

They also fall down on minor details – water on the floor in the Gents, a missing knob on the teapot lid and the muddy surroundings to the duck pond, which always look a mess. I just have the feeling that the quality stock, and the excellent dining areas, deserve attention to detail.

So – if you want a Farm Shop go to Keelham. If you want a gift shop go to Tebay. I can’t really comment on the pies because I haven’t eaten at Keelham.

A Misty Dream

Actually, there is no mist involved, but I think I used the days of wine and roses quote as a title before. I also used it in a comment I made on a blog last night, so I don’t want to overdo it.

Yesterday I visited the local duck pond for the first time in months. Even when I’ve been well, I’ve been tired or out of sorts and the trip has seemed too long. Last time I went the yellow flags were just starting to flower. Now they are finished. Being somewhat morose at present, I can’t help seeing it as a metaphor for my life.

A cup of tea soon dispelled that thought (no biscuits – I’m on a diet) as very few depressing thoughts survive tea and sunshine. Even a comparison to the pond couldn’t dampen my spirits – I’m happy being shallow.

Anyway, enough of the introspection, and on with the character assassination.

Earlier in the year I mentioned that a woman thought the white ducks were swans. I was, I think, a little critical. In fairness I shouldn’t really have a go at her for being as dim as a 40 watt light bulb, or say that there…

No, I still think there should be a permit system for breeding. Two kids per family and none at all unless you’re smart enough to distinguish a duck from a swan.

While I was reflecting by the side of the pond yesterday a group came to feed the ducks, led by a woman who, to be chivalrous, was older than me. This is old enough to know that geese don’t have cygnets!

The pictures show geese with their goslings, some young moorhens and coots and some ducks in eclipse plumage. Eclipse plumage is the dull, almost camouflaged, plumage that ducks grow when they moult after all the hassle of raising a family. I can sympathise.

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Mallards in eclipse plumage

Later there was a small child called Sam (name changed for Safeguarding purposes, and because I forgot it). His mission in life seemed to be to feed birds and use huge amounts of energy as he ran round saying hello to people. I would have been happier if he hadn’t introduced himself to dogs by holding out his arm in such an appetising manner, but even the Staffordshire Bull Terrier with leather harness and tattooed owner merely licked his hand and allowed itself to be stroked.

 

 

 

 

 

The Odd Couple and Strange Pigeons

We went to the park today to see the ducks. The first thing I saw was a Wood Pigeon in a tree and a charm of Goldfinches drinking from the stream which acts as an overflow for the pond. The pigeon looked a little rumpled and the Goldfinches were too quick for me, so there are no photographs of those two.

We were surrounded by feral pigeons at one point. I counted them twice, getting 57 in one count and 62 in the next. Call it 60. That’s a lot of verminous skyrats. It may be that I’m being unfair to them, as they do look quite tidy, and even seem keen on taking a bath.

The odd couple are still there, though the goose does seem to be paired up with another goose too. The three of them were together on the grass at the far end of the pond. It now looks a bit like one of those situations where a man has married but still has one of his old mates hanging round, or playing gooseberry.

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The birds seem to be paired up and defending territories, but apart from daffodils and a few mahonias there is nothing much happening to suggest Spring. Outside the walls Spring is definitely here but inside the park things are a bit behind. It may be the trees, or the stone wall holding cold air in, but it just seems like the park is a couple of weeks behind the surrounding streets.

 

Shiny Ducks and Spurious Swans

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A Spurious Swan

You can’t blame kids for being ignorant when you see a parent tell them “Look at that Swan.”

That’s the “Swan” in the picture above. The white bird that’s the size and shape of a duck and has a curly tail just like a drake. It walks and talks like a duck too. I’m not one to take the moral high ground on bird identification, having already proved I’m shaky on waders and not good on gulls. (And if you wait for summer I’ll parade my tragic lack of warbler skills).

However, a Swan is a basic bird, like a Pigeon, a Sparrow and a Magpie. In an ideal world such basic knowledge would be part of the Parenthood Exam and if you couldn’t ID a Swan you wouldn’t be allowed to breed.

That should also weed out people who feed pigeons even though told not to.

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Who? Me?

 

Meanwhile, the Odd Couple seem as close as ever.

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I worry about these two…