Tag Archives: goldcrest

A better day – Rufford Abbey

It was a better day today, a much better day, though it didn’t start off that way.

We nipped down to Lidl to look for Waxwings on our way to the farm, and found none. I hadn’t really expected to see any as it was extremely windy and the small branches were whipping about. It must be extremely hazardous feeding in tree tops on days like this.

Such is life: I’m not going to start stressing out about seeing a bird, even if it is pink and has a crest.

We cleared the polytunnel this morning, and are within a couple of days of finishing.  It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate over five years. Much of it is now crammed into the house. Considering I used to have a junk shop and still have a hoarding problem, this is not a good thing. Currently I also have a car that’s rammed to the roof with plants, but it doesn’t seem worth taking them out with the weather we’re likely to have. It’s good to be finishing. Though we didn’t really want to go, we now want to draw a line under it.

If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well, It were done quickly:  as Macbeth said, and I’m not going to argue.

We left around 2 pm (I’m currently self-unemployed, so days are flexible) and took a detour to Rufford Country Park.

I had a bag of sunflower hearts in the back of the car and used them to tempt some birds from cover in the car park. It wasn’t quite as simple as it could have been, because just as they started gathering a couple with a dog walked right across the seed. Eventually I tempted two Blue Tits and 15 Chaffinches, but a pair of pigeons found us and scared everything off. When you’re bird watching in a country park you can’t really pick and choose, or scare pigeons away.

We moved on to the main duck area, with the usual suspects. There were two unusual ducks across the lake, one Pochard (which we don’t see here often) and one empty pop bottle. OK, I made a mistake on that one, but I did once spend 10 minutes stalking a bit of fertiliser bag that I thought was a Kingfisher, so it’s not the worst mistake I’ve ever made.


Whilst I was searching for a pied wagtail that kept eluding the camera, a Grey Wagtail popped up. They aren’t rare, but they like fast running water and we normally see them when we’re in Derbyshire, so it was nice to see one here. I expect it likes the mill race.

It got even better when we rounded the corner to find a flock of Long Tailed Tits in a tree with a couple of Blue Tits and a Goldcrest. The Goldcrest came so close I could see it plainly without the binoculars. Unfortunately it was so quick that I couldn’t get a picture.

My time will come.

Finally, as the clouds rolled over, we tried for a few more shots on a picnic table but the pigeons moved in again. We cut our losses and took some shots of clouds before going for tea and Bakewell tarts in the cafe.


Students again

We were greeted by the increasing guineafowl flock this morning, including the whites and the lavenders. They all seem to have left the shelter of the poultry field and be roaming round as a 30 strong pack making permanant alarm calls. We’ve now had several complaints from the farmer’s mum so Something Must Be Done. Just before lunch he reminded the lads they needed to catch a dozen to send to market with the pigs tomorrow.

You know what?

I can still hear them but I can’t see a single one of them. I know they can’t understand us so there must have been something in the body language that alerted them. Smart birds, guineafowl.


Apprentices 0 Guineafowl 1.

There’s a good coating of ice today and the group of students we have visiting find the first job of the day is breaking ice on the outside water troughs. I think it’s the first time that many of them have experienced the idea that water can’t be guaranteed. It’s more of a shock than the cold. To be fair to them they have all brought the right clothes for the day (unlike the Monday course) so the cold isn’t that bad. There is, as we always say, no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.

We won a prize for championing farming as a career two years ago. Not sure the weather is helping us today.


I’m currently wearing a short-sleeved shirt despite the ice, and I’m trying to look like I’m enjoying it. That’s what happens when you have several black and white checked shirts, middle-aged eyes and get dressed in the half-light without turning the lights on.

We treated ourselves to an extra hour in bed because we’ve been waking each other up with the coughs that refuse to go. That meant we had to rush out with no breakfast though we did find time to stop and buy some to eat in the car. You always do, don’t you?

That’s the 21st century – rush, profligate spending on poor nutrition and a general feeling that I could do better. I’ll have to do better on Monday – it’s National Breakfast Week! OF course, in line with modern marketing techniques it’s know as Shake up your Wake up!. It doesn’t even make sense. Grumble, grumble…better in my day…

On the positive side we saw goldcrests in the conifers by the chicken field yesterday. They are surprisingly common according to the figures but you don’t often see one. Normally you hear the high-pitched squeak they make but, likethe somg of the skylark the ability to hear goldcrests declines with age. I haven’t heard a skylark for ages, or a bat for 30 years,  and am now worried I may have reached the age where I can’t hear goldcrests.

However, it could just be that the skylark is down to a tenth of the population it had 30 years ago. That’s probably sadder than my toughts of deafness. And to round off with a strange coincidence – I’ve just had an email on my phone “Alzheimer’s Disease is now following you on Twitter”.

Not sure what to make of that.