Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Memory Lane.

Todays picture is from way back when farmland birds were abundant, so much so that my Mother would take us kids birdsnesting and as far as I could see our activities made no impact on the bird populations. I remember the Magpie as an extremely wary bird and the only time we saw one was either at a nest site or more usually disappearing in the far distance, large flocks of Finches/Buntings, Meadow Pipits and Skylark searched the stubbles feasting on the sustaining plants such as Chickweed that would not get ploughed in until late February or March. I remember I found a tiny nest suspended beneath a leaning-over Willow containing the tiniest eggs I had ever seen , it was a Goldcrest, we often found many species of Warbler nests some very frail it left me wondering how these flimsy structures contained their precious bulky broods without disintegrating. It gradually apparent that egg collecting was a No No, as farming practices changed and the once common birds struggled to sustain viable populations, although the Long-Tailed Tit continued to enthrall us with their wonderful nests and I remember my Father always referred to them as Bottle Tits no doubt a reference to the shape of the nest.
The old photo shows me on the right, left of me my brother Roy and further to the left  a childhood friend called Basil who on meeting I would go into a ritual of greeting him as Baaaaaaaaaaaasil to be met by his retort of Baaaaaaaaaaarry, behind  Basil is my late sister Sylvia and next to her my other sister Valerie who owns a caravan park/social club a few miles from Lampeter and a holiday home not far from Strumble Head which means I have access to some good Welsh birding especially along the Pembroke coast. The other girl is my late cousin Ruth who suffered polio as a child and led a sickly life. The cattle in the picture are Derek and Joan so named because the real Derek who worked for us preferred to be paid in cattle rather than money for his overtime and this eventually gave him the means to farm on his own account, he still farms over Reading way and I still keep in touch with him and his now wife of many yearsJoan.
I will return to something birdy tomorrow. And look on the Oxford Birding Blog for a super event coming up at Blackwells the Oxford bookshop arranged by Clackers and entered on the up-coming talks section I will remind you nearer the time 17thJuly.

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