AND we dropped in to watch the hares for a while. Mostly they were in loafing mode, pottering about the big field nibbling and grooming. Perfect for leisurely painting and shape collecting. The height of the winter barley is beginning to make it a little harder to make out the 'harey lumps' in the field, but it has also accentuated areas of the crop where the hares have chosen to graze. The favoured patches are distinctly shorter in stature and are a slightly different tone of green.
I think the local humans are used to coming across this daft couple staring intently at a field and now pass us by with a cheery wave. This time, I heard a car coming and waved to the occupant as it went by, I then heard it stopping and two things crossed my mind, the first that the driver was pulling up for a chat and the second that it was a good thing for him to stop because Rosie was sat in the middle of lane sketching flowers.
It turned out that the gentleman was the estate farmer and a very interesting conversation ensued. He told us of some of the background to the area and the farming methods employed. The key factor in there being such a good number of hares present, is that they are not shot and apart from having to get out of the way of the odd tractor, they are left pretty well undisturbed. As we chatted a red kite flew low over the big field punctuating the idea that modern farming and wildlife can make good bedfellows.
At the nearby copses we pootled about looking mainly at the flora. Carpets of wood anemone and dog's mercury prevailed, with the anemones giving an impression of patches of freshly fallen snow. Peering closer we picked out the new shoots of Solomon's seal and the tiny flowers of the aptly named townhall clock or moschatel. Chiffchaffs, blackcaps and a garden warbler celebrated their successful migration from winter quarters with bursts of melodic song, well maybe not in the case of the chiffchaff, but he was happy. A 'pitchoo' call, drew our attention to a marsh tit, as we watched it was joined by two others, all three carrying soft material and taking it into a nest box. Not seen that before.
Making our way back to Beacon Hill for a coffee, we noticed two red kites circling low over the watercress beds at Warnford. With a screech of brakes, we pulled off the road and bundled out the car to enjoy these superb birds at close quarters. Sadly an unnatural gap in the primary feathers of one of the birds, suggested that not all landowners in the area have the same enlightened regard for wildlife as the gentleman we met earlier in the day.
If you're expecting words of wisdom from Dan and Rosemary you may be sadly disappointed. However, if you want to keep up to date with our current projects then pick up the feed at the top of this column.