Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Frosty and foggy morning at work

My buddy Nelson in the morning frost and mist
Yesterday I didn't take my camera to work and before I'd even completed two hours of my working day, I was really regretting it. By 9am yesterday morning I'd already seen displaying Kestrels, a fine male Sprawk sitting on the fence and over 40 Fieldfares, all in the paddocks behind my work yard.
This morning the first thing I did after waking, was pack my camera into my work bag.
As one of my friends quoted earlier after I had a moan, it was a case of complete 'sods law'. My journey to work was shrouded in thick cold fog, and for the first couple of hours in the yard, I could barely see a truck or a horse, let alone any birds.
However the fog did lift eventually, though everywhere was coated in frost. I got my drivers on their way, diverted the phones and went off for a gander around the paddocks. The light made for some great photo opportunities, and Nelson (my favourite horse at the moment, but shhhhhhhh don't tell the others !!) made a great 'hide' for me. As he followed me up and down the fence, stopping for regular nuzzles and strokes, I was able to lean around his neck and over his back and get close up pics of the Redwings and Fieldfares. They don't seem to mind being almost trodden on by a horses hoof !
Frosty the Redwing

It might have been my lucky morning, but maybe not for this Buzzard. I watched this poor beauty being mobbed by two crows for over 20 minutes before they soared away in the distance. This sort of behaviour has always baffled me. Theres Mr Buzzard merrily making his way looking for something to scavenge, and along comes a crow (or two) to mob him, peck at him and generally ruin his day. What threat are Buzzards to crows ? Its not as if Buzzards behave like Sprawks or Peregrines, and would kill a crow without a second thought. From what Ive seen, they have the same liking in prey.....ie worms, road kill etc. But Ive not heard of a Buzzard attacking a crows nest, so why do crows find Buzzards (and Red Kites) so threatening ? If you want to add your opinions, please do.....

Buzzard being mobbed by crows
I spent another half hour with the horses after the Buzzard and crows floated off.  Nelson is fast becoming a favourite of mine. Lizzy (the pregnant mare) is his paddock companion, and I've had a couple of lovely moments where the pair of them have got me in a bit of a head-lock. Nelson nuzzles into one shoulder and Lizzy nuzzles into the other, and all of a sudden I find my head caught when they move up to my neck. This might not sound like a big deal, but I have never been a 'horsey' person. I'm a cat person. I have three cats. Horses have never appealed to me in all of my life time. I get on fine with dogs, I love dogs. I love cats. Ive just never loved horses. My cousins daughter has had a few ponys, but Ive never bonded with them, or been that attracted to them. If I was out birding and came across a field of horses or cows, I'd walk the long way round to avoid them. Yet these horses at work have really 'touched' me.
We (as a work company) have only been here since last June, but its only since December that Ive really started to take an interest in the horses in the paddocks at the back of the work yard. I now visit them every morning with a handful of carrots, pears and apples. Often I don't even need to call them, as they see me and come running over. Ive learnt all their names. I know which ones I can stroke straight away and which need to 'snuffle' me first. I'm becoming very fond of my 'work' horses. I've now met all their owners too. I know sod all about horses (I had to look up 'gelded' a couple of days ago !) but I do get a really lovely sense of achievement on my part, and acceptance on their part, when I enter the paddocks avenue.
Nelson is a favourite of mine. He is such a character. And I really like Sunny, the yard owners horse, but Sunny has been moved to stables for a couple of months. Lizzy (Nelsons companion) is due to foal in 4-5 weeks so will take over Sunnys paddock. My lovely mate Nelson will be going to horse-camp soon, to give Lizzy some 'foal' time. A new mare was bought in today. Her name is Kate and shes in the same paddock as Nelson and Lizzy. She was very nervous and I didn't go down the paddocks, so she can adjust without having a camera lens pointed at her. The owners, knowing that Nelson would be thoroughly excited, took his coat off. Nelson loved it. And he rolled on the muddiest patch he could find before chasing poor Kate for a couple of laps. Lizzy, being the docile mother-to-be, carried on chomping her feed. Stevie and Star in the opposite paddock were also excited at the new arrival, and ran up and down their fence several times. Next Sunday I'm back at work, so will hopefully get some pics of Kate to show you. But for now, you'll have to make do with my mate Nelson at 9.30am this morning in that freezing mist. Yes that white stuff on the floor is frosted grass...

So back to the birds. These two female Blackbirds below were having a proper 'ruck' at the back of the paddock avenue. I was always under the impression it was the males that fought for territories, but this pair certainly put that theory away !! They were really squabbling and stabbing out with their beaks and using their feet. After a rough few minutes, one flew off and the other sat (quite triumphantly) on the avenue for several moments before calling and flying off into the brambles.
Blackbird Fight Night
I had several more photos to post on today's blog, of the Buzzard, of the Blackbirds Fight Night, of the Fieldfares and of course, of the horses, but again Blogger is not playing nicely and they didn't get uploaded. The pics that did make it, lost me over an hour trying to get them in to the order I wanted.

I'm really hoping these problems get sorted soon. I enjoy doing this blog, and it was my New Year resolution to write up a blog. I chose Blogger as it claimed to be the simplest and easiest way....

Lets hope so !

Four days off as from tomorrow, so will be blogging every day. Hope Blogger co-operates.

Wendy-wine-time for me now. Ive got a lie in. Don't need to be up at 5am tomorrow, instead the alarm is set for 7am :) Cheers.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent blog post as ever, Wendy and really great to hear all about the horses... sounds as though you're in for a good time observing them over time!

    And, like you, I've no idea about Buzzards being mobbed by crows... I've also seen them Ring-necked Parakeets mobbing Grey Herons.. weird!