Saturday, 23 January 2016

Through the Trees (Part I) - The Handsome Family

Back in those heady days when an annual subscription to Classic Rock Magazine was more important than life itself, it was the vehicle that brought the very nuance of Rock 'n' Roll to me! Had it not been for that periodical, sometimes carrying a sampler disc of various up and coming bands, Los Handsome's may never have reach my turntable but even then it wasn't until 1998, and this particular album, when the band was already 5 years in the making that they came to my attention. The style of husband and wife team Brett and Rennie Sparks, described as 'Alternative Country/Americana', is certainly pleasant enough on the ear, but its those lyrics that do it for me which I can only described as Laughable Tragedy. It was only my wandering through so many trees on this particular day that brought this fine and amusing set back to mind. We've been playing it all day since!
We stopped for coffee in the redwood forest
Giant dripping leaves spoons of powdered cream
I wanted to kiss you but I wasn't sure how
Like those Indians lost in the rain forest

Forced to drag burning wood wherever they went
They had all forgotten how to start a fire
This is why people OD on pills and jump from the
Golden Gate Bridge anything to feel weightless again
Those poor lost Indians!

Partly inspired by our friend Dave Foot and equally driven by the hard frost of a few days ago, it was decided to investigate the now completed Phase III of the Solar Panel Complex. Almost entirely throughout the very speedy construction period the whole area has been a quagmire necessitating the laying of huge wooden boards to allow the delivery lorries and other plant to get anywhere near the place, and how the engineers maintained a foothold on site is not known. On the way there the usual daily rounds were followed and on a frozen
 it was seen that there 2
 had forced an ice hole (had to be a little cautious with the wording there).
With the exception of the now regular pair of Roe Deer there was 
nothing else of note so quickly on to the Gravel Pit and to find some
 Strange Behaviour going on. The long staying
was still in attendance but for the first time in an age there were other Wildfowl.
 As if like a puppy that had been unattended for a period of time the
Grebe was following the pair of MALLARD around the pond never
more than a few feet away during the 15 minute observation period.
The next stop was to have been the afore mentioned compound, but that's when the phone burst into life and was, most coincidentally Mr Foot. At the time circumnavigating the rim of Poole Harbour, his intention was, on completion, to pay a visit to Blashford and asked me to join him. Luckily my Hampshire Visa was still in order so we agreed to meet at the Tern Hide at noon.
 Continuing my venture, this is the track where the boards once lay, and by the look of my own tyre tracks it looked this was the first time it had been used since. The ground seemed firm enough but it wasn't without a degree of trepidation that we continued. Great to see that in line with the other installations, saplings have been planted around the perimeter fence which was another thrust of the visit, to see if there was access all the way round. In the event it was found that at the far end of this fence there is a length where both boundaries meet making it all but impossible to pass. A fantastic deterrent as this will make this yet another undisturbed area for Wildlife. It was good to see, as predicted, "earth as hard as iron and water like a stone" which made it relatively easy and dry walking to the first destination. No more than a dozen paces in and a
was flushed, adding to the Year List and hopefully being the harbinger
of more to come. No chance of a photo so this image has been 'borrowed'
from Wikipedia for illustration.
 Prior to the panels, most of this area was given over to grazing Horses
with most of it turned over to grass with just the odd cluster of Gorse
here and there. Otherwise, little damage was done to any of the surrounding
trees except for a little pruning of the nearest, and maybe encroaching, 
These stumps were one of the objects of this exercise which Dave
 had informed me might attract breeding
(image on lone from a fellow Moth'er)
Showing him these images later in the day it was disappointing to find
that in his opinion they are unlikely to be colonised as being too far off the ground.
These very fussy insects it would seem prefer the stumps to be sawn at ground level.
All is not lost as there has to be a chainsaw or two somewhere on the farm,
so further consultations will follow.
Continuing the search, decent numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing
were encountered along with a flighty bunch of Bullfinch, while this
was found sleeping on the edge of the now receding Moors River.
The likelihood of anything new on Merritown Heath was considered slim
so, cutting our losses (maybe the wrong expression) we decided to head for
The New Forest.
Our recent visit to Eyeworth Pond and its surrounds had turn up a 'blank', except for the obliging Muscovy Duck and a Nuthatch, so another visit was quiet in order as there was time to spare and we were going to Hants anyway. Over the years this beautiful area has become a 'feeding station' for passerine birds and Waterfowl alike, the food being provided by the visiting public. With seeds scattered all over the gates and fence posts and fat balls hung in trees, this allows close viewing of many of our more common woodland birds - just sit in the car and wait. Here is just a taste of the hour spent there (without, once again, seeing a Mandarin Duck).
 2? Greedy
 and finally for Part I a couple of examples of
The Pony images were taken during a last ditch effort across the top of
The New Forest
in search of Woodlark, Hawfinch, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker etc
none of which were seen before meeting up with Dave in the Tern Hide, Blashford.
Part II should follow shortly!
United Kingdom
United States
The welcome return of Singapore - or Singers as us ex-Matelots remember it!