Getting ready for summer.

Further Pictures of Black-tailed Godwits

In April or early May, wintering Black-tailed Godwits will soon undertake their journey back to their breeding ground in Iceland. Most will have left by mid-April or early May. Before this journey, they will need to build up their energy and the rather boring grey plumage, is discarded, to be replaced by their summer colourful, feathers. The rich breeding colours act as camouflage in the habitats of the bird’s nesting grounds.

Full Summer Colours.
Starting to change to summer colours.

Godwits get quite vocal and have little spats over the areas where they are feeding especially if they encroach on each other’s space.

The Coot.

A member of the rail family Coots are a medium-sized waterbird that has a plump appearance. Coots have an almost entirely black plumage, They do have a white bill and a white shield over the forehead. They feed on the surface and will also dive down for food.

Also, watch the Coots relative a Moorhen have a go at the Coot!

Cadman’s Pool.

One of my favourite starting places in The New Forest for a walk is Cadman’s Pool It was the idea of Arthur Cadman who was Deputy Surveyor of the New Forest in the 1960s. The pond is on Ocknell Plain, and at the edge of Stoney Cross Airfield (a WW2 aerodrome). It was dug to enhance the aesthetic appeal of this corner of the Forest.

After a circular walk and the placing of our trail camera’s on a badgers sett we found on last weeks walk in the area I was able to spot some wildlife on the pond.

These Mandarin Ducks have paired up and seem to have established their home on Cadman’s Pool. As I have posted before there is a group of about 6 ducks on Eyeworth Pond which is about 2 miles away as the crow (or duck) fly’s so I suspect these have relocated from there.

This picture gives you a good size comparison of the Mandarin with a Mallard.

About 6 Canada Geese were pairing up – A rather noisy process!

A duck’s life.

Not a nice side of a duck’s life. SENSITIVE CONTENT.

While theoretically monogamous, Mallard ducks will often engage in what used to be called “rape chases,” but are now known as “forced copulations.” This involves several males chasing a female and then forcefully mating with her – So brutal is the act it has resulted in the female’s death when she has been drowned by the males holding her head underwater.

In Titchfield Harbour 9 males Mallards pindown a single female.

She was able to get herself out of the water and onto the beach.

Finally, the brutal attack was over and she was able to get away.


More pictures of our bird that is the symbol of Christmas in the UK. Also, the victim in an early nursery rhyme that was first recorded in 1744.

However, its lyrics originated in a similar story called “Phyllyp Sparowe” written and published by John Skelton around the early 1500s.

“Who Killed Cock Robin” .

Who killed Cock Robin?
I, said the Sparrow,
with my bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin.
Who saw him die?
I, said the Fly,
with my little eye,
I saw him die.
Who caught his blood?
I, said the Fish,
with my little dish,
I caught his blood.

Who’ll make the shroud?
I, said the Beetle,
with my thread and needle,
I’ll make the shroud.
Who’ll dig his grave?
I, said the Owl,
with my little trowel,
I’ll dig his grave.
Who’ll be the parson?
I, said the Rook,
with my little book,
I’ll be the parson.
Who’ll be the clerk?
I, said the Lark,
if it’s not in the dark,
I’ll be the clerk.
Who’ll carry the link?
I, said the Linnet,
I’ll fetch it in a minute,
I’ll carry the link.
Who’ll be chief mourner?
I, said the Dove,
I mourn for my love,
I’ll be chief mourner.
Who’ll carry the coffin?
I, said the Kite,
if it’s not through the night,
I’ll carry the coffin.
Who’ll bear the pall?
We, said the Wren,
both the cock and the hen,
We’ll bear the pall.
Who’ll sing a psalm?
I, said the Thrush,
as she sat on a bush,
I’ll sing a psalm.
Who’ll toll the bell?
I said the Bull,
because I can pull,
I’ll toll the bell.
All the birds of the air
fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
when they heard the bell toll
for poor Cock Robin.

A walk on the wildside.

A morning walk in the New Forest with a cold start but soon the sun came up making it a nice Spring Morning walk.

Several small herds of young Fallow Deer spotted us about the same time as we spotted them so a bit of looking at each other before both parties went their own way.

It was nice to see Fallow Deer today so close to seeing a herd of Red Deer last week – what stands out between the 2 species excluding the size is the white and black buts of the Fallow Deer.

Some bird watching along the way and at a hollow tree at the end of the walk with a bit of birdseed to encourage some of the smaller birds closer to the camera.

A Song Thrush. One of this bird’s favourite meals are snails – which they break into by smashing them against a stone with a flick of the head. This one was feeding in the forest under fallen leaves looking for worms and insects.

A Nuthatch is an interesting small bird as they will climb down trees and well as up while looking for a meal. They hold on to a tree from all angles.

A male Chaffinch.

The wren is a tiny brown bird, it has a short, narrow tail that is sometimes cocked up vertically.  For such a small bird it has a remarkably loud voice.

Black-tailed Godwit.

Black-tailed godwits are a large wader. In winter they are rather dull and grey in colour. Now as we approach the summer they colour up their chests and bellies become a bright orangey-brown

They have distinctive long beaks and legs.

Wintering numbers in the UK are about 44,000 birds from the Icelandic population.

Black-tailed godwits breeding range stretching from Iceland to the far east of Russia. 

A film of Godwits on the River Hamble. (filmed into the sun so not as good quality as I would have liked)

followed by stills taken from the film.


Camper van trip {Pt 6}

Mixed views from a few days away.

River at Lynmouth – On the 15th and 16th of August 1952, a storm broke over south-west England, depositing 9 inches of rain within 24 hours on the already saturated soil of  Exmoor and Devon. Debris in the floodwaters cascaded down streams and rivers converging upon the village of Lynmouth. Above the village in the upper West Lyn valley, fallen trees and other debris formed a dam, which in due course gave way, sending a huge wave of water and debris down the river. Overnight, more than 100 buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged 38 cars were washed out to sea, 34 people died.
The rebuilt Rhenish Tower survived the main flood but was seriously undermined. The tower collapsed into the river the next day. A digger is in the harbour removing gravel that built up after a recent storm blocking some of the harbour.

Views along the coast views of the sea at Blue Anchor and Minehead.

Minehead RNLI B Class rigid-hulled lifeboat and launch tractor are housed in the car park while the 1901 lifeboat house is being refurbished and extended – always ready for the call.

Statue of Lorna Doone at Dulverton. Lorna Doone a Romance of Exmoor is a novel by author Richard Doddridge Blackmore, published in 1869. It is a romance based on a group of historical characters and set in the late 17th century in Devon and Somerset, particularly around the East Lyn Valley area of Exmoor.

footnote flood pictures.