OK, I give in. I have a cold. Not a bad one, but enough to make me feel…..yuk. The weather has been pretty awful this weekend as well, and although I managed to get a quick walk at Bulbarrow Hill* and have attended a First Aid course arranged by Dorset Wildlife Trust (thanks guys!) today, I haven’t managed to fit in much “wildlife watching”. So I thought I’d show you an assortment of wildlife video clips (in no particular order) all taken in the last couple of weeks.
Looking down from the top of Fontmell Down
First are house sparrows. These little chaps were at Kimmeridge when I walked there last Sunday. They lived up to their friendly temperaments and let me get very close. Merrily chirping away as I filmed them. I miss that chirp. It seems impossible to think that they are now getting relatively rare. Growing up in London in the 60s-70s they were everywhere. Every privet hedge in our road had a family of house sparrows. Let’s hope we can do something to stop their decline.
Then there is a bird that I have never seen before. The meadow pipit. They aren’t particularly rare, but it was nice to get such a good view of this one as it ran up a road towards me when I visited Middlebere Heath the other day. I apologise for the wobbliness of the video. I got a bit excited at seeing it so close!
These roe deer were grazing at Badbury Rings when I walked there the other day. There were about six altogether, a male and his harem of girls by the looks of things. I thought they tended to be loners, so I was surprised to see so many together. I love the way the two centre deer watch the others tear past them in a very bemused fashion.
Next is a little wren. Again I spotted this at Kimmeridge last Sunday. It was building a nest on the side of a cliff. They are such busy little birds. Bobbing around, they drive you mad if you are trying to film them. Stand still you little bugger! but they never do. So this is the best I could manage.
Red Legged Partridge
This red-legged partridge is another bird I’ve never seen close-up. I was out looking for brown hares the other day, turned down a tiny single-track road near Fontmell Down and saw this one in a dusty “nest” at the side of the road. Amazing colours and pretty fast little red-legs. I might go back to see whether this nest was just a dust bowl hole it was resting in, or whether it was actually going to use it as a nest. I don’t know much about these introduced birds… other than people probably shoot them. Keep your head down little bird!
Lastly I saw this frog spawn on Middlebere Heath. It was in a tiny pool of water at the side of the road. I would imagine this pool dries up in the summer, so they’d better get a move on and grow some legs.
* For those who are interested. Thomas Hardy wrote about Bulbarrow Hill in his book “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” and his personal journal. It is a place that time forgot, a place so “achingly beautiful” it really does take your breath away. I don’t suppose it has changed much since Hardy’s time, or for hundreds of years before him.
I climbed today through sunlight
so yellow you could stroke it
onto Blagdon Hill, then Bulbarrow above
the Blackmoor Vale, and White Nothe
over opal-blue-green Weymouth Bay:
the chattering gulls are in from the shore,
following the plow and gorging
on earthworms; blackberries, rich
as wine, speckle the dark hedgerows,
fall off at a touch in your hands.
All day a ghost has hung just
out of sight, whispering: this must be
what it feels like to die – to stand
on a high hill with the wind in your face
and think how achingly beautiful it all is.
I’m coming home, my love.