Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Birdlife in Old Dutch Graveyards.

As a lover of small and large birds, my new domicile next to an old graveyard offers me the best of both worlds: plenty of small birds to watch and some large birds of prey which prey on them and can be watched in turn.
Below is my favorite small bird, which travels in cheerfully chattering flocks. Isn't it pretty?!

There's something about graveyards, isn't there? They either frighten you or appeal to you, hardly anyone refrains from having an opinion about them.
I fall into the "I like 'em!" category. Why? Because they are very peaceful, no pun intended, usually well-tended and a safe haven for birdlife in our built-up stony suburbia.
Whenever I find myself in a large city in a foreign country I always make a point of visiting a cemetery or two; Pere Lachaise in Paris being one of my favorites. Below is one of the photos I took in the Montmartre one, mainly because I took a shine to the name and the way his bronze sheet was wrapped. 

But I remember visiting a large one in Nürnberg and liking it very much.
Morbid? Perhaps. But not so much when you spot a fellow like this one flying out of the trees.

Owls are rare so near to my town, so spotting one is a festive occasion for me.
We mainly have field owls and screeching owls, and the occasional barn owl (which are very rare due to there hardly being any barns with access for them anymore).

Yesterday, it being a beautiful frosty quiet morning when I walked old Gina along the sloot next to the graveyard, I was stopped in my tracks by a kestrel almost bumping into me. He was carrying away a living blackbird and I don't know who was more shocked by our meeting, the bird of prey or me. Gina gave a little yelp, she has an inbred dislike of large birds, probably because they vied for food on the same rubbish dump as herself when she still lived in Istanbul as a pup.

But name a small bird which lives in my part of the country, and you'll be able to spot it in our graveyard. I get their point; plenty of fresh water in the trough for filling up the watering cans, plenty of cover in all those pretty flowering bushes and in the pruned ones as well and plenty of berries and insects to eat.
Obviously it's hard for the birds now that we are having a cold spell, so I provide seeds, nuts and other tidbits for them in my garden. They reward me by pooping all over the garden furniture... Oh well.