Tuesday 8 December 2020

winter flocks in Pewsey Vale

Over to Devizles to drop off more calendars at the bookshop. Then along the Vale of Pewsey to the Barge inn at Honeystreet, to deliver canal maps and see Peter on Grey Hare, and Weasel, his newly adopted dog. 

There was a chill mist hanging on the Downs, and where it thinned the quality of the light was really quite something. But, like a starling flock, it's best just experienced. So I failed to capture it on camera.

We did trudge around a big muddy field where some extremely photogenic sunflowers were growing back in the summer, trying to get dramatic views of the starlings who were fossicking in the stubble. But they refused to perform, the dark rogues.

There were also redwings and fieldfares, stripping the hawthorns on the track to the All Cannings long barrow, built not by druids but by Mrs Beynon's Billy.
this is a redwing. Coming over here, taking our berries...

all along the hedge are redwings and fieldfares

the starlings reluctantly move along as I approach

the melancholy remnants of the sunflower crop


  1. The landscape looks strange and sometimes sad when it is all grey.

    How on earth did a black lab get the name of Weasel?!!

  2. There was a mustelid connection that Peter mentioned. I’ll have to ask him!

  3. I have always been attracted by this time of year (almost finished here, looking at the snow everywhere) that your photos have captured perfectly. Fossicking is a new word for me, so thank you. I would have said those birds are gleaning.

  4. Gleaning works too! But starlings are very fossicky, like cockney hordes raucously picking hops (allegedly. They were before my time! It was hippies when I did it)

  5. I love gleaning...at the moment it is wood offcuts from a skipbagful left at the top of the hill. And wild watercress I have discovered growing in a stream on the lane's edge

    1. there's watercress growing at places along the canal, but I certainly wouldn't eat any from that source! I used to visit quite often a place near Winchester where there was so much watercress that the local railway was called the Watercress Line...

    2. We have lots of running water here! And this is growing in a clear-flowing stream.
      If you pick it and stand it in s jug it roots almost immediately! So we are thinking of rooting some in my friend's woods in her stream.