Walking Below The Ridgeway round the brim of Crockle (Crow Hole Bottom) I watched for an hour or so as a man with a blasted dog walked the bottom of this valley, and thought how a dog in this environment was so out of place making the everyday grind for survival that much more hazardous with blasted 'bonzo' sniffing out, disturbing and killing the very wildlife that sustains the hardy but always struggling for sustenance birds of prey that rely on the small mammals, like the voles for their very survival and yes! i'm afraid eventually the dog did 'put up' a Short-Eared Owl that fortunately flew to safety before the 'blasted one ' was able to inflict injury or death upon it. This is quite unique habitat running for much of the Ridgeway and also beside it and dogs are an unnecessary and in the numbers we now find them in all public places a dangerous nuisance to our British wild places and for some peculiar reason so many people now seem unable to enjoy our wild spaces without bringing along their canine 'friends' invariably off the lead in the most inappropriate of places.
After the Short-Eared Owl incident four Red Kites and a Buzzard were found. After making my way back on the Ridgeway I then found another delightful Stonechat and as this almost Robin/like little bird flitted along in front of me I mused on the difference between this and last year concerning this species with this being the fourth or fifth site I have found these endearing creatures , this compares with just one for the whole of last year.
With time left to still indulge of the Oxon countryside I decided to have a look at Buscot lake as I had been told that Bar-Headed Goose , Goosander and a drake Pintail have been seen there recently alas! with driving rain the many waterfowl were just too far away to make identification certain, so I motored the relatively short distance to Kilmester Farm and saw a flock of fifty odd Chaffinch, one Kestrel, four Yellowhammer incidentally a bird that has, this year, been in greatly decreased numbers to other years, six Greenfinch, one Dunnock, two Red-Legged Partridge these Partridge were feeding below the feeders that our Tree Sparrow volunteer the GG regularly tops up, driving off home a Song Thrush put in an appearance and the somewhat hazy photograph is due to snapping this bird through a rather dirty windscreen.
The sixteenth was the day two year ago my lovely Linda lost her fight for life and she still rarely leaves my thoughts I hoped it would get easier - some hope.
The Oxon Feather.