14 March, 2010


Today being Mothering Sunday, it was off on the traditional Family Picnic. Sisters do the food, I do the drink, Dad does the driving - find somewhere nice on the Moor and enjoy. This year we also had my Mum's new dogling along; Tilly by name, a Labrador crossed with 'something' [officially some sort of terrier, but it is suspected there's Whippet if not Greyhound, and possibly other things too]. She's from AID and Mum took one look and fell in love.. She has a commendable attitude to cats, and a turn of acceleration to put them in serious jeopardy, so the birds would be her friends if she didn't like chasing them too! Perhaps as a side effect of 5 homes in less than 3 years, she doesn't get on with other dogs if they're off the lead, and any animal on the ground is fair game, but my Mum hopes to get her as well behaved outdoors as she is indoors [where she is impeccable] - I reckon it'll be an interesting challenge...

Enough of Mum's new dog. This time we went to Bellever, found a nice spot on the Tor with a good view, plenty of sun, and little wind. A long picnic was accompanied by canine antics, watching various 10Tors teams passing by [There's a rant in that, but for another time], and enjoying the very pleasant company of the Great Grey Shrike - which struck poses for us. To say the Sisters are not Birding fans would be something of an understatement [not least due to me liking it - it is their sisterly duty to disapprove after all], but they now know what a GGS looks like [[you got it for the year yet, Joe? ;) ]]. Watching the Shrike from the Tor, eating lunch, I was struck by deja-vu; even more so when a single female Crossbill flew past at treetop level. This is just what happened 51 weeks ago [on my 5th attempt of the year for Crossbill, having heard only every time previously] [[Yes, I know normal year-listing counts hearing only, but I was being strict]] only on the south west side of the Tor, not the south east. Didn't get a crippling Firecrest or very early Willow Warbler though - not really expecting it, with 'enthusiastic' dog and sisters along, but you never know, right?

There was a little migration going on - a party of 13 Mipits flew north past us as we were heading back, and judging by the calls we heard at the Tor, they weren't the only ones. A Chiffchaff was near the Cherrybrook car park, and it might have been a migrant also - there weren't any about there earlier in the year as far as I know.

While the wind was brisk, the sun was warm, and a good time was had by all. Especially Tilly, as it was we think her first time on the Moor - the nose was in overdrive!

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