Showing posts from January, 2012

Hawfinches and Lesser Spots

I returned yesterday from the morning school-run and parked the car in the drive beside our Judas Tree. In the last couple of weeks it has shed its leaves and it will be bare now until Easter when its buds will open to an explosion of deep pink. A quiet short call drew my attention and I looked up. A Hoopoe sat perched above me - that didn't make the noise. And then some movement. Close to the Hoopoe a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was busy looking for food, tapping away on a dead snag on the tree. I quietly withdrew and entered the house, leaving this sparrow-sized woodpecker in peace to continue foraging. Looking out of the dining room window into our olive orchard, a party of House Sparrows was pecking away on the ground, whilst close by a party of the slightly more robust Spanish Sparrows were doing the same. A couple of Chaffinches were nearby. But dwarfing them all was a splendid male Hawfinch (see John Hawkins' photo), also on the ground, looking for fallen olives. Its rich

Looking ahead to 2012

I hope it is not too late to wish you all a Happy New Year from the Kelsey family (here pictured in the square in Trujillo last summer, with Patrick proudly carrying his replica of the World Cup after an end of term celebration)! We saw the New Year in having fulfilled a long held promise to make a return visit to our old home in India, celebrating with close friends. We then spent a wonderfully relaxing and refreshing few days near the town of Dehradun in the foothills of the Himalayas, at the house of our dear friends Alpana and Bikram Grewal. The beautiful garden that they have created runs down to a mountain river. There Patrick and I spent every afternoon, watching Common, White-throated and Crested Kingfishers, Brown Dippers and other riverine species. Patrick's goal was to get photographs of as many birds as possible and in particular of kingfishers, and he spent hours, literally, patiently waiting to catch the moment when a kingfisher hovered or dived. Whilst waiting on on