Other Neighbours and the Surrounding Area

The field next to our house is occasionally grazed by Sussex Reds.

The field is organic so wild flowers thrive: plenty of thistles, knapweed and scabius, all of which the butterflies love. And the brambles produce plenty of blossom too and, later in the year, blackberries which other visitors enjoy.

Haven’t managed to get a picture of foxes eating blackberries yet, which we have occasionally seen them do. But here are a pair eyeing up a more substantial meal.

Monkjacks are common visitors. And Roebucks turn up from time to time, on the make.

We sometimes see the results.

We have a recently excavated badgers set in amongst the stinging nettles at the top of the field. We sometimes see one pottering about in the late evenings of mid summer. But not, so far, in enough light to take a decent picture.

We don’t get much in the way of small bird life. There are quite a few raptors locally: buzzards, red kites and the very occasionally goshawk, along with kestrels and sparrow hawks. They tend to put off the smaller birds which keep out of the open. We also have most of the crow family here – or passing through – from ravens to jays, and they may well put off the smaller birds too. Have also discovered that greater spotted wood peckers are predators of nestling birds. An entire brood of blue tits were casualties this year.

We get one or two exotic bird visitors. An egret turns up on the stream from time to time, and kingfishers pass through, generally in a flash, but they do occasionally pause and perch on the barbed wire fence – always a treat when we see it but it’s never happened so far when a camera has been within reach.

Below, a raven and a Kestrel that did oblige at the right time.

We have big countryside near by. Here are three stitched together panoramic shots of local scenes:

Not just dandelions (above). At the right time of year, you can find Fly, Bee, Common spotted, Pyramid and Marsh Orchids here. Recently came across White Heloborines as well, all in this one, admittedly huge field in Erlestoke.

Cow Parsley, near and far, on Salisbury Plain.

Late evening sky across the field from our back garden.

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