An early New Year walk, with the two terriers, around three orchards to blow some of the cobwebs away.
The birds; blackbirds, thrushes, redwings, fieldfares, finches, sparrows, rooks and various members of the tit family have begun to feed on heaps of windfalls and those few apples still clinging onto the trees. The rats are having a feast too but one of the terriers, Minnow to be precise, is slowly reducing their numbers, but not quite as quickly as she would like. Never mind, there are plenty more walks to come.
Meanwhile Barney just eats the apples; men, eating and drinking while the ladies do all the hard work, typical.
On an earlier walk I had noticed a solitary Queen Cox apple still surviving on a collapsed tree despite all of the strong winds and the rain and frost; the birds had been using it like a bowl of fruit cocktail gradually working their way into the fruit.
As I walked up to the remains of the apple a robin flew away and then, while I was taking the photograph, and much to my surprise, the robin landed on my shoulder. The friendly bird obviously wanted a look through the viewfinder but he got bored and flew back into the apple tree. I have never had that happen in a wild place like the orchard, landing on the spade when gardening or eating mealworms off my hand in the garden, yes. Amazingly there were fruit flies in the apple and I suspect the robin was leaving his five-a-day in favour of the protein.
During the walk I spotted a lonely Golden Delicious high up in a tree and the terriers whilst rooting about in the undergrowth also put a up pair of woodcock in one of the orchards and a couple of snipe from the dyke side.
As we turned for home a monster manure heap, fully 200 yards long, proved an irresistible attraction for both of the little herberts… now I'm in trouble!