Month: April 2019

Sparrowhawk No 2

Yet another sparrowhawk got itself booked into the back garden cafe with a table reservation for one this lunchtime.

Sparrowhawk male 4 30 April 2019

A small male but just as voracious as the bigger female who’d visited last December.

Sparrowhawk male 3 30 April 2019

It stood right next to the small kitchen window ontop of the air-raid shelter.

No time to waste or lose. It was at it with rapid efficiency.

Plucking, splitting, stripping, and guzzling down its din dins.

Sparrowhawk male 2 30 April 2019

It heard voices from the neighbouring garden so took off.

Clutching the carcass in its clawsome talons.

Sparrowhawk male 5 30 April 2019

Providing itself with the ultimate in ‘Takeaway Fast Food’.

There’s more than enough din dins (juicy fat sparrows) to keep this pair of sparrowhawks fed for many more months to come.

Thrilled filming & commentary: Hazel Brown; Words: Ian Nisbet

Muscovys mating on the Mardle

Down at the bottom of town a muscovy duck was roughly rogering his No 2 (mistress) His No 1 (mississ) was sat on the bank blankly watching.

Male ducks in general, and muscovys in particular, are brutally aggressive when mating.

No two ways about it, No 2 was going to have to submissively let herself be half drowned and allow this Mr Man do whatever he wanted.

And do her he did. For absolutely ages.

When it comes to rumpy pumpy it ain’t any fun being a female duck.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Mistle Thrushes Worming

Flying down from the tall beeches to worm-whisper the grass. And then flying back into the beeches with a beakful of chopped worm. Were these Mistles Thrushes.

Mistle thrushes are bigger, with greyer silver feathers than Song Thrushes.

Expert wormers they are when compared to the fruitless (or wormless) efforts of the clumsy magpies nearby.

Just stop and think about this for a minute: in the car crazy centre of Torquay near Upton Park, amidst the noisy din of the exhaust-fumed traffic, are these Mistle Thrushes. Going about their beautiful business.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Swan sits on her eggs

I’m walking through Kings Garden by Torre Abbey. A swan was sat on her eggs. What a peaceful picture. Or so you would think.

Except for the ghetto blaster dinning disco in the background.

Except for the fighting dog that rushed in at the swan. Mrs Swan reared up hissing and the hound backed off. The dirty owner of this dog, a baseball-capped junkie chav, didn’t give a monkeys. It, and its slobbery beast, slithered off and away.

Mrs Swan reasserted herself on the nest, giving her eggs inside a little tap and turn over (just to make sure they were all right)

Songbirds were brightly twittering away around the swans nest. Mrs Swan gathered a bit more twig and grass around her and her eggs. Then settled down to peacefully sleep.

Well, I hope she could peacefully sleep with all this mindless din and disturbance kicking off around her.
I despair of us human beings sometimes.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

At The Stumpy Oak Cross

Stumpy Oak Cross April 2009

This is Hawson Cross: a wayside marker for the old monastic route the ‘Monks Way’. Its stood side by side with that ‘Stumpy Oak’; one of only two on Dartmoor that are officially recognised as being, “historic oak trees”.

The tree is still alive but with a hollowed out trunk.

Stumpy Oak Cross 2 April 2009

Its easy to imagine the cross and the oak becoming as one – given enough entropy to mystically merge them together.

I happened upon this stumpy oak and cross ‘memorial’ just outside Scorriton.
It was being a mildly munificent Spring afternoon.
I could hear all the song birds twittering about. But I couldn’t get at them with the camera. Birds don’t want to be seen. Leave them be.

See the sheep instead. Like this pair of scruffs.

Scruffy sheep April 2019

Whoever’s sheared them didn’t do a very good job (probably shorn by that blind old bat in the Specsavers ad)

Walking on a bit further and what do I see? Yet more scruffiness.

Scruffy pony 1 April 2019

Poor chap couldn’t see what he was doing. Kept bumping into trees.

In need of some serious barbering these shaggy haired toy ponies.

Scruffy pony 4 April 2019

Even this tiny titch, spied through a little gap in the hedge.

Scruffy pony 5 April 2019

Could have done with a good shampoo and set.

Scruffy pony 7 April 2019

Mandarins Meanderins

A mandarin duck floating about on the river Dart. A labrador jumped in and the mandarin escaped up into a tree out the way.

Half an hour later the mandarin plopped back into the river to be joined by a second male. The pair of them flipped about together upstream and downstream in the same bit of river.

Then some animated cleaning was undertaken. These mandarins have to keep their beautiful suits impeccably preened in order to maintain themselves at their immaculate best.

I like seeing these mandarin ducks on the Dart river flipping in and out of Hembury Woods. They seem more ‘au naturale’ than over in Stover Park.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet