Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Home By The Sea - Genesis

With the last vestiges of Spain disappearing before us, we neared Alicante Airport for John & Marion's 17-25 flight to East Midlands and mine, 3 hours later to Bournemouth. The final image was of the symbolic Spanish bull on a hillside, once wide spread across the country as an advertisement for brandy, but in recent years much reduced in numbers by the government. It is true that the local ladies were less than happy with the male charms of these magnificent creatures, and asserted enough pressure to get them castrated - Ouch!

Before moving on I have to extend a massive Thank You to my hosts and their friends for making my stay in Spain one that will long be remembered -
Asta la Vista!

Perusing the airport bar menu it was noticed they are still doing Breaded Coat, which I would have chosen except was undecided as to whether I should have double or single breasted. Despite a short delay the flight was pleasant enough, made even more so by the charming couple from Upton who shared some excellent conversation all the way back - I hope they have tuned in. My mate Janet was waiting for me at the airport and quickly whisked me to their house where Hugh had the New Zealand 'Neudorf' Pinot Noir a chambré and with the addition of a plate of smoked salmon and fresh baked bread I could almost have been at home - yeah!

After a good nights sleep its always a great pleasure to wake up at Harbins Farm House to the sound of chickens clucking in the garden and the smell of coffee percolating up the stairs.

Even before daylight this Pheasant was foraging below the bird tables,

with another patrolling the daffodil lined roadway.

A Common Buzzard flushed from a fence post before me, scattering several dozen

Redwing and a few Fieldfare in the process. There are always hundreds of birds on the farm, and although usually of a 'common' nature always good to see like this

Pied Wagtail,

just 2 of 7 Mute Swans in flight,

plus a Grey Heron at the rivers edge. Two ways to view the River Stour,

'upstream' and

'down stream'. Along this 'beat' there were already a few anglers pursuing their sport as I returned to

Harbins (viewed from the 5th golf course fairway) for breakfast.

There I took a look at some of Janet's equestrian trophies and got re-acquainted with my real pals

Minnie, recently recovered from a bout of something,

Shuffty, waiting for a postman to bite, and

Bomber indulging in his, and my, favourite pursuit lounging around doing nothing.

On the bird feeders there were Goldfinch,

Blue Tit and a host of others including Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch and Nuthatch.

My taxi was now approaching, with Hugh and I off once again to search for Little Owl (which we didn't find) and have a drive around the rest of the property.

In a distant paddock there were c8 Roe Deer but this one just ambled out of the wood close to us, and a few Lapwings looked every bit in display.

Viewing Parley Manor House across the turf fields, we next turn into

the Equestrian Centre where budding Olympians are practicing,

while the golf driving range and

the golf course were equally busy. There was time to call into the restaurant for a cup of coffee with the lovely Joy before heading for the duck pond

where just c3 of these farmyard Geese survive out of an original 'gaggle' of c9.

Black-headed Gulls, many now in breeding plumage, were feeding at the edge of the pond, while

the second of 2 Little Grebes was also seen. All too soon it was time for me to get going, with Hugh giving me a lift to Poole to catch the X53 Weymouth service. On the way there was just enough time to call into

which of late has featured on the bird report page of the Dorset Bird Club website. It was no surprise to me when the Water Bailiff recognised Hugh as he occasionally visit his 'shoot' and gave us some information as to how a car parking permit night be acquired. I will certainly come here to discover the Lakes on my next visit.

So, here I am back at the Home By the Sea and looking forward to dinner with Joy next door a little later on, and finally I found this clip rather amusing but didn't notice any goal being scored.

doesthisgoalcount1.wmv (video/x-ms-wmv), 1714 K

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