Saturday, 3 March 2012

Checking out the dykes

Saturday 3rd March 2012

Today I had a cunning plan for seeing the Wigeon from the farm. If only it would just happen to fly while I was positioned on the haystack ready to view. First I had to find it again.


I checked where it was yesterday, but there was no sign. I did, however, see a group of 7 Goosanders on the Main Drain. They flew before I could get any decent pictures, but you can see why they are part of the family called sawbills. The males always gleam white when the sun shines. The females have the most ridiculous punk hairstyles, especially when a breeze blows.

So I drove a different road, stopping to scan every dyke. Eventually I found what was presumably the same wigeon, but about a mile further away than yesterday. I'd need a ginormous scope that bends round corners to see this from the farm! In the same field I found these...greylag geese.

The fourth is just out of picture. Presumably these are responsible for the recent sightings over the farm. Excellent credentials though. Just look what they're with when I pan the photo back.

And that reminds me. An update on how my own big white geese are settling in.

Best told in pictures.


The geese have turned out to be a very rare animal indeed. They fall into the extremely small category of beasts which manage to make chickens look clever!
They hiss, hoot and honk a lot, mostly at each other. The cat still treats them with a deep mistrust, but the chickens and guineas take great delight in plundering their food.
I think I have two ganders and three geese, but this is mostly based on the assumption that males are more raucous, more aggressive and more stupid than females!

Race Night
This particular form of entertainment is one which I'd never come across before moving here. Essentially it combines a nice fish'n'chip meal with some fairly harmless gambling, based on films of old horse races with the names changed. There's no skill whatsoever. It just involves placing £1 bets based on lucky number, favourite name or any other random system you may choose to use. Once everyone has placed their bets, you get told how much you stand to win if your horse wins. Sue and I managed two winners out of 17 bets. We won a total of £6.70, but wagered £17.
The great thing about this Race Night, though, is that everything that happens is designed to raise money for the local school, of which Sue is the head. So a fun evening was had by all, and over a grand was raised for a school with less than 100 children. That's over a tenner a child!
It makes you realise that in small, traditional, rural communities there is still a great respect for institutions like the local school. In fact, many of the parents and grandparents present would have attended the school themselves over the years.

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