The weather pattern so far has been this: murky but dry mornings with the weak-ish mid-March sun burning off the mist to reveal a pleasantly sunny afternoon. It’s been dry so, for this time of year, I’m very content. There was a little moisture in the air this morning but it was really just low-flying cloud so nothing serious. We decided to go for a wander in the cool, very light mist and leave a hopefully sunny afternoon for a stretch of the old cycling muscles.
Someone has had the audacity to pitch adjacent to our spot. It just isn’t on. Even worse, they’ve had the effrontery to erect three bird feeders and are stealing our birds. How dare they? We get overly possessive of our avian friends. My greatest concern was that they would pinch our yet-to-be-photographed March Tit. We needed to strike back.
Francine had been staring out of one of Guillaume’s windows, looking at a tree and thinking, “we could hang a coconut feeder there”. The pet shop in Brockenhurst had supplied our fat balls and, perhaps, would be able to make up our coconut shortfall. It would also make a useful target for a leg-loosening first bike ride.
The sun was a little late appearing but eventually did break through and, after our morning wander and lunch, we set off à bicyclette. Just beyond the campsite boundary is a very pleasant (i.e. flat) disused railway cum cycle track heading straight for Brockenhurst. This route led us past several New Forest ponies but, unlike yesterday, they all behaved impeccably – no more hoof prints on Franco. Having run a few pony gauntlets, we were soon in Brockenhurst where Francine managed to purchase the requisite coconut feeder. We were no longer a coconut shy. [Ed: Mon Dieu, zese English and zere ‘umour!]
Having returned via a circuitous route, I strung our new coconut in a nearby tree hoping that it would look more attractive than our neighbours’ feeders. It didn’t work; nobody seemed to take any notice of our splendid new half coconut shell stuffed with fat and seeds. However, all was not lost. The sun still shone and we sat at our select pique-nique table with a cup of tea and a camera, just in case. For once, “in case” actually happened: our much sought after Marsh Tit may have been shy of the coconut feeder but it wasn’t shy of our other feeders; it landed on them just about 5m/15ft away from us.
Click, click, click! I don’t really like photos of birds on feeders, they’re too much like photos of animals in zoos with the cage bars showing. However, Franco’s rule for hitherto unseen wildlife is, “first get a picture, then get the picture you want.” So, feeders ‘n’ all, here’s a couple of shots of our less-than-usual Marsh Tit (Parus palustris). I’ve included one shot that shows its black cap to good effect. Notice how far down its neck it goes.
A good day. 🙂