Jan. 29th, 2012

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So how was it for you???

I've had a devil of a job actually completing the Birdwatch this year, because I've either been darting about all over the place doing stuff, or there have been folk gathering outside the neighbour's house (not Clematis-Killing Neighbour - the other one) upsetting the finches.  And once again, we've have several birds who usually feed here hanging around in the trees, but not actually coming down to feed, which means they shouldn't really be part of the count.

It's as if they know what's going on....

Anyway, here's our count for the year:-

Wren - 1 (That's an unusual one - we had a regular a few years back, until it got scoffed by a local cat, and since then, our wrens have been few and far between).
Blackbird - 5  (Good old Squinty!  She and her pals are guaranteed not to let you down!!)
House Sparrow - 3 (That's up on last year).
Goldfinch - 2
Greenfinch - 2
Chaffinch - 3
Magpie - 1
Feral Pigeon - 1 (We usually have 10 or more.   What's going on????)
Blue Tit - 3
Great Tit - 1
Coal Tit - 1
Dunnock - 2
Robin - 2
 
The following were hanging around, and were probably on the verge of feeding when I had to abandon the count:-

Starling - 2 (They were laughing at me from the trees as I put the food out.  I'm SURE it's the same pair that sojourned in my loft for a couple of days).
Collared Dove - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 1

Do I count them or not?  That is the question...

And that's that.  The finches are WAY down this year - this could be because J gave the tree in which we hang the feeder a major prune this winter, which means it's lacking cover and perching places.  I noticed that our neighbour the Clematis Killer had a feeder festooned with all manner of finches, so I'm feeling a) hard-done-by, and b) unloved.

Apart from that, I just went out shopping for jodphurs.  Since when did buying jodphurs become such a major undertaking?  Once upon a time, you got jodphurs.  Full stop.  Now you've got a choice between waterproof goretex impregnated jodphurs, warm winter-weight jodphurs, jodphurs in a multitude of hues of beige/cream/stone, none of which look like the REAL proper colour for jodphurs.  And they all cost a fortune! 

In the end, I found a pair for £30, which was quite a relief.  They're by Dublin, which is a firm I've bought from in the past and quite like, and they're black, which is just as good as beige, if not better, for a lady of my solid physique.  But...  They have no zip!  Which really freaks me out!!! 

I hummed and hawed, and hummed and hawed a bit more.  The waistband was pretty robust, they seemed jodphurish in every way, and hey, all I need them for is for half-an-hour's flatwork once a week, so I thought I'd give them a go.

What else did I learn today?  That you can buy a turnout rug or a modern equivalent of a New Zealand for about half the price of the ones I was buying in my horse-owning days (£60 or £70 quid, as opposed to £100-£140) and that Squire would have had a whale of a time footering about with the countless horse toys that are available for the bored modern box-bound horse.  All he had to amuse himself with was a turnip on a bit of plaited baler cord swinging from the hay rack (and he soon learned how to polish that off in five minutes flat!) -  now there's horse balls to fling around the box, flavoured salt licks, hanging balls of molasses flavoured grains, etcetera, etcetera. 

How things move on!

The other good news was that I saw no sign of Katie Price branded clothing littering the place.  Can it be that she's ditched the horse-merchandise side of things because she's either got fed up with it, or felt compelled to move on?  Let's hope so!!  Not only that - there's not such a ridiculous surfeit of girlie pink and lilac around any more.  Except in the kiddie section, which is, I suppose, acceptable.

And, in case you're wondering...  Yes, I did get to Dundonald Castle.  But unfortunately it doesn't open to the public until April.  I did however get some photos, so I'll have to post them later this week.

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