Sunday, 24 March 2013

New Arrivals

The birders amongst you will be expecting a post about Chiffchaffs or Blackcaps. Sorry, it's still winter here and if there are any Chiffchaffs out there they are keeping their heads down. So the new arrivals are this little guy who arrived on Friday night:

Fortunately for him and his twin brother his mother, the 10 year old flock matriarch Oddball, was expected to lamb and had been brought inside out of the icy wind. The other ewes are not so lucky and have to lamb outside so we'll be having to check them very frequently to get any other new births dried off and into an indoor mothering-up pen asap.

The other new arrivals were these guys:

We rear a few pigs every year and turn them in to sausages, chops and delicious air-dried hams (apologies to any vegetarian readers). I bought these from a typical fenland smallholding adjacent to Lakenheath Fen RSPB within view of the Golden Oriole wood. I had toyed with the idea of visiting the reserve in the same trip but the atrocious weather conditions, snow and wind, put paid to that idea. I commented on the owners proximity to the reserve as I arrived but a scowl from the smallholder warned me not to take this conversation any further. He went on to tell me how the presence of the reserve had led to the refusal of planning permission to build a house on his farm on the grounds that it would disturb Stone Curlews, and this had been followed by the crushing of the residential caravan he had lived in for 9 years only a few days before. He was essentially homeless. Looking around the scrubby, muddy site with it's collection of ramshackle mobile homes used as animal housing (and hence legal), abandoned vehicles, trailers and pack of free-range dogs this was hardly a Stone Curlew habitat. I wonder if "stone curlew" was code for something rarer that would be more prone to disturbance.

On to the birds, the only excitement has been the first pair of Bullfinches for the year in the garden. Otherwise it's just the usual suspects for me, although husband had a Peregrine fly virtually over the house during the week.

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