Tag Archives: robins

Pinky and Pinky

5 May

“Heeeere, pig-pig-pig-pig!” sang a voice over the hedge. “Heeeere, pig-pig-piggy!”

I had gone up the lane to photograph some of the lambs that have been gambolling in the fields since the beginning of April, but who can resist a pig-pig-piggy? I hurried to the gap in the hedge, and stepped through to find the two brothers from the manor house leaning on a gate admiring their latest arrivals. Two young large whites trotted through the undergrowth toward us. I was informed they were four months old: born on January 17th.

Don’t they have a nice meadow?

“How long do you think it’ll take ’em to turn it into mud?” the Pig Man’s brother asked. “A day?”

“An afternoon?” suggested the Pig Man.

They ran through some possible names to call them. Pinky and Pinky seemed good contenders.

The sow’s charming floppy ear is the result of a haematoma, poor thing. Perhaps another pig bit her. It’s very swollen, and she seems to appreciate having it held between cool hands.

The pig Man turned to me. “Would you like some freshly-laid eggs?” he enquired. “We’re selling ’em for a pound for six, but I’ll give you a freebie”.

“I’d love some,” I said.

He led me though a patch of woods and garden to the shed where he kept his chicken feed. He pointed out a robin’s nest in the corner, and said it has little blue eggs in it and he has to be careful going in and out. I really wanted to photograph it, but it was too dark to tell whether the robin was in it; she would have been distressed by my flash.

The Pig Man took me to his chicken run and scattered feed, then showed me into the hen house, where a cluster of six eggs lay in a nesting box as though the hens had thoughtfully gathered them together for me. He gave the eggs to me in his feed scoop, asking me to return it later.

In the garden, his wife was planting beetroots and carrots, and I had a little chat with her about the merits of growing different vegetables. The sheer friendliness of these people made my day. What a contrast to that angry farmer last month! It made me realise how unwelcome I had been feeling here lately. Thank you, dear neighbours, for restoring my faith in people.

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Spring! And Can You Identify these Birds?

10 Feb

The sun was not just bright today: there was actual warmth in it too.  Buds were appearing on trees that had not yet shaken off all of their Autumn leaves, and the birds were in a state of high excitement. Tits, treecreepers, finches, robins, blackbirds, rooks – all were chirping their heads off and flitting from tree to tree as though preparations for a royal wedding were under way.

In the distance in one of the fields, a glossy flock of starlings was rooting among the grasses for delicacies. Among them was a flock of other birds. These are the ones I’m not sure of. A little smaller than doves, they preferred running to flying: they would stand up very tall and then run like the wind for several yards to a new browsing-patch. I half-expected to hear them going “meep-meep!” like the cartoon Roadrunner.

I set my lens to full zoom and tried to use the hedge as a makeshift tripod, but it kept swaying. This was the clearest picture I got (click it for the full-sized version). Are they some kind of thrush?

I thought about climbing into the field to get a closer look, but there was an extensive flood between me and them, and I wasn’t wearing wellies. As I assessed the expanse of water, I noticed this robin enjoying himself: he hopped in and out of the shallows for a good ten minutes.

I was surprised to also spot a very young squirrel. Already! These squirrels don’t hang about. I suppose it could have been a midget squirrel, but it seemed rather callow. This is how it hid from me:

UPDATE: I now have it on good authority that the mystery birds are fieldfares.