Tag Archives: mistletoe

Natural History from the Car

As I drove to Newark this afternoon I noticed a group of rooks whirling aimlessly round the sky. On looking closer I realised they weren’t being aimless, but were in fact mobbing a buzzard. here were about 20 of them, though it wasn’t that easy to drive safely and count rooks at the same time.

Shortly after that I passed a roadside tree full of strange ball-like growths in its leafless branches – mistletoe in its natural state.

A bit later in the same journey I had to brake sharply when a large fox decided to run across the road. You don’t see many foxes in the middle of the day, and this is the first time I’ve ever had to put the brakes on to avoid one. It looked healthy and well-fed so I’m not sure why it needed to be out and about. Sometimes things are meant to remain a mystery.

The only other bit of natural history was a buzzard roosting in the roadside tree. Always nice to see, but let’s face it – they aren’t rare these days. It just goes to show what’s about, even on a grey day of driving round doing errands.

The picture is a random pansy. They are out in the garden so I thought it would be OK to show one.

 

 

Four days in October

We’ve had a lot on over the last few days, including illness, a 450 mile trip, a funeral and  a lack of internet access (I decided not to take a laptop).

None of this is particulalrly interesting, but I didn’t want you to think I’d been slacking.

There were a few points of interest – wondering what they were doing to the stand at Epsom racecourse; watching a buzzard being mobbed by a crow (if one crow can actually “mob” something); adding more to the family history; seeing a parakeet fly over Leatherhead Crematorium; seeing mistletoe growing at a height of only six feet (it’s amazing how it grows straight from the branch – even though I know it has an enzyme that allows the seed to get through the bark, I was half expecting to see roots of some sort), and going round the Royal Worcester Museum.

We could have done more in Worcester, as the Cathedral (which houses the tomb of King John, who died in Newark 800 years ago this year) and The Commandery are both very close to the Royal Worcester Museum. However, it was raining, it was mid-day and it was Saturday. The car parks were full, the streets were busy and we were thinking of home. In other words, I’m getting old.

Final photos are of my tea on Thursday night.  We set off after Julia finished work and got straight on the M1. We stopped at Leicester Forest East services and went to Burger King. Note that the burger on the [poster has loads of crisp bacon protruding from the sides of the bun, whereas mine struggles to reach the edge of the burger.

I will make no further comment., apart from to say that those rashers came from terribly small pigs.

 

 

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Bird counts

The Bird count went as well as could be expected when you’re working with a group that is prone to loud voices and jerky movements. I think they are all great people in their own ways, but as companions in quiet birdwatching they leave a lot to be desired

 

I wasn’t very successful with the camera. The greenfinches seemed to know when I was about the press the button and the yellowhammers flew past and hid in the hedge several times without pausing on the feeders.

At least the chickens seemed to like it. After a shaky start (where the brown hen appeared to be interested in one of the younger cockerels) they made it up and spent the early afternoon basking in the sun. It’s alright for some!

The group made needle cases from a selection of hearts Julia provided, only managing to lose one needle in the process (though we’re still a bit nervous about finding it again!)

And finally, a couple who come on the farm metal detecting popped by for a cup of tea and brought us some nice mistletoe for us to “plant” on our apples trees. It’s a project for next week now as we’re busy for the rest of the week, but it will be interesting to see how it goes.

Meanwhile we are having to clean up quickly and prepare for an evening meeting at the centre. Julia has an evening meeting in Nottingham and I am to be left at home to cook shepherd’s pie.

It had better be good because last night she left me at home to cook tea while she visited a neighbour to do some handicrafts. At 10 pm she returned to find me asleep in front of the TV and the oven devoid of shepherd’s pie.

I am, it is safe to say, in her bad books.

It would be nice to insert a picture of a shepherd’s pie here – unfortunately I can’t. ;-(