2 May 2013


Yesterday, the male Greater Spotted Woodpecker paid a visit to the feeding station and, for once, I managed to stay still enough to avoid scaring it off. Even the zoom inching out is enough to have it shoot up and away out of range. It was peeking from behind the tree checking out safety levels for five minutes before diving in:

Spending most of its life clinging to vertical surfaces seem to have made it incapable of standing up on a horizontal one. It's lower abdomen is consistently clamped to the wood and, to get onto the vertical again, it just shuffled around. He's so beautiful and I'm so glad they're both back now.

On my way to feed Trigger one morning, I was behind a small bird of prey skimming and following the road and then landing for a little while. I managed to get a picture through the windscreen but I'm afraid it suffered a bit thanks to our rubbish wind screen wiper's efforts and the fact that it was some way off. A male Sparrowhawk I think. What an amazing eye colour catching the morning sun. Incidentally, we definitely have a cuckoo here again this year. I've heard it but haven't seen it yet.

Origami Boy has conjunctivitis as well as the chest infection we've all suffered. I took him to the doctor's AGAIN this morning where he was seen first by a very nice student and then by the head of the practice alongside the student. I had told him that the coughing had now been going on for four to five weeks; the student had written down forty five weeks. I am still shaking my head more in sorrow than in anger. Stupid on SO many levels. Is this what we have in store with the next generation of doctors? He was really excellent in his manner but....well - you know. A day off school in quarantine spent picnicking by the stream and doing innocent and simple stuff with sticks and stones and water; the stuff we used to do when he was tiny. A truly magical time was had which I so appreciate in the face of his growing up. Before I know it, he'll have lost that innocence that he shares with very few children of his age. I'm very lucky. He is very much a child still and lovely for it.

Here are some more pictures from the last four days:

Foal A

One of the Dartmoor Madams having a roll

One of the many ponies I see that, from a distance, look a bit like Betty. I do miss her. I wonder where she is?

A Buzzard feather lying in the grass

Foal B

Kestor in the distance from Middle Tor

The moon yesterday morning

A new foal F with foal D - the one with the white bone marking on his shoulder

Foal D again

A rogue white Periwinkle flower amongst the blue

Sunny Chaffinch

Squatters in Trigger's field

The weather is just wonderful; not too hot but glorious sunshine. I sit on the wall while Trigger eats his food, basking in it, watching Snippet hunting rodents. Talking of food, I bought some incredibly expensive Trigger food for ponies that need to put on weight. It arrived today and I presented it to him tonight, only to have it rejected soundly with curled lips and violent bucket nudging. They don't know what's good for them. Until next time, here's Snip enjoying the sun. I hope you have it too!


  1. Loved the photo of Snippet lying down.
    Dear Em,
    I come to you for my country/bird fix and to visit a very different world.
    Always a joy.

  2. Beautiful photos of woodpeckers and foals!
    I've never seen a cuckoo, heard it of course, but never seen one.

  3. just gorgeous as always. We get Downy Woodpeckers here, haven't seen them in a while though. I love the photos of the foals. The horses on the farm must be ready to foal any day.

    Gill in Canada

  4. Glad that there are still some cuckoos around, loved the woodpecker photos, and happy for you that your son still does normal childish things, it's fun for everyone....

  5. Beautiful photos as always Em. You did well to capture the Great Spotted Woodpeckers - the ones here are very timid. Although haven't had many sightings for weeks.

    Glad the cuckoo is back - and hope OB feels better soon.

  6. Don't know if it will help... but I could get Rustic to eat anything (including worming powder!!) if I mixed molasses in hot water and added that to the dry food.
    That was a l-o-n-g time ago!

    Loved the pictures of the birds. Thank you.

    Hope Origami Boy is better soon (but not before he's had a lovely time playing!)

  7. Elizabeth - And I to you for my urban fix. Very much a joy too.

    Rusty D - I've seen one twice and both on the edge of the moor here. Fluttery like a bird of prey. If only I could get a picture of one....I'll try.

    Gill - At least they've got four legs to carry them unlike us waddling about on two when we're pregnant! I wasn't one of those people who bloomed in pregnancy unfortunately, so I really feel for them when they get so big.

    Thelma - I'm dreading that time when he no longer wants to spend time with us. I suppose it passes after the teenage years. I hope it does anyway.

    RR - OB is much better today, thank you. Back at school. Tonight I have to break the news that his best friend is leaving for another school and I'm not looking forward to it!

    Virginia - Thanks for the tip. I'd forgotten about molasses. This morning, I added a tiny bit to his normal food and he ate it and I'll just build it up.

  8. Wonderful photos! I loved the Woodpecker ones, so different from ours but also similar in many ways. Ours stay year round, but in the South it is much warmer and many birds that would migrate, stay the winter. Gorgeous photo of the Chaffinch.

    Foal A certainly is a looker. All the foals this year seems so different from last. Maybe because of the large number of blacks (black stud ??)

    Hope your son is better soon!

  9. I am reminded what I love most about coloured ponies, is that every one is totally unique. I loved seeing the foal with the white marks on it's neck.
    Great photos as ever.

  10. Gail - They are completely different aren't they? I'm kind of assuming all the black ones will turn grey when they get older but I'm not sure. I hope not - they're so beautiful being black.

    Kath - I think that one is the most beautiful coloured one I've ever seen out there. So unique.

  11. Great photos! Nice to see the ponies enjoying the sun for a change! What unusual markings the little foal has. So pretty!

  12. I get huge pleasure out of your Dartmoor pictures Em - they are delightful. We have woodpeckers here - but we don't have those gorgeous foals.

  13. Another interesting read Em. The decline of the Cuckoo is very worrying. They used to be such a common sight and sound here but then I went for five or six years without hearing or seeing any locally until last year when I had just one encounter. Great close-ups of the GSW and the one of the Chaffinch is superb! Foal D is so pretty :-)

    Sorry to read OB has been unwell, hope he is fully fit very soon.

  14. CC - They are unusual aren't they? Much nicer than big splodges I think.

    Weaver - We are REALLY lucky. It's so wonderful to just sit there and observe their behaviour. Trigger's behaviour was very similar when I first got him....he was eleven!

    Shy SB - I really hope I'll see one this year. I haven't even heard it today which is a bit worrying!

  15. Hi Em, just wondered if you recognise this little chap

    have a great weekend :)

  16. Em, if you would like the drawing then do email me. It's about
    5" x 7", so small though....ann

  17. It's gorgeous Ann - thank you and I have emailed you.....

  18. Em, your woodpeckers are so close to what ours are--They are delightful in any corner of the world, aren't they? But again, I've really enjoyed your posts and photos--We are on holiday right now, and have seen a few foals, and they have made me think of you, even though I think they probably are not nearly the characters that yours are! :-)

  19. Hope you have a great holiday Kim - you really deserve it!


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