Monday, 18 February 2008

In Memory Of Nigel Richard Stow 1941-2004


Let's stroll along a garden path
And just enjoy the day
No thoughts of worries fill our minds
We'll just wander on our way.

Forget about life's problems
You'll see that they will keep
Just walk with me a little ways
Nature's blessings we will reap.

Let's find some joy in little things
We'll talk of nothing much
Just wander down the garden path
Sweet flowers we shall touch.

We'll find a spot to sit awhile
And watch the clouds float by
We'll listen to the song of birds
And sigh a pleasant sigh.

When at last the day is over
And home now we must go
Take the memory along with you
For the days you're feeling low.

by Charlotte Anselmo

"Turning Back The Pages"-Henley Standard March 2008.
50 Years Ago
Nigel Stow, the 16-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Stow, of Manor Cottage, Henley, accomplished a fine performance on Saturday last when he won the Berkshire boys cross-country championship over a course of about five miles near Maidenhead. Nigel, who previously had won the championship of his school, Ashmead, scored maximum points for Ashmead, who won the team event. The winner finished about 100 yards in front of his nearest opponent.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

January's Local Sightings.

The garden has been busy with the usual sightings, Marsh Tit and Nuthatch have been regular visitors throughout the month as have the usual Blue, Great and Coal Tits. Both male & female Great-spotted Woodpeckers are regular along with Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird and the occasional visit from a small flock of Long-tailed Tits. 2 Goldcrests are regular visitors to the trees outside the cottage and their high pitched contact calls are heard long before they show themselves, a single Green Woodpecker has been feeding around the orchard on a regular basis and a single female Bullfinch was in the orchard on the 3rd with Goldfinch & Greenfinch. Chaffinch numbers are averaging about 12 which is far fewer than previous years when numbers have reached 25+, Goldfinch and Greenfinch numbers are certainly down with only 2 or 3 birds of each species visiting on occasions. Both Mistle & Song Thrush have been occasional visitors to the fields next to our cottage along with what seems to be the last of the Redwing, Male & female Sparrowhawk have been seen in the garden attempting to pluck some unsuspecting victim from the feeders and they seem to be passing through almost daily at the moment, at least 3 Buzzards are around most days and Red Kite numbers seem to building up again with at least 14 being seen over the fields between Skirmett & Frieth on one occasion at the end of the month, many of them seem to be displaying already. A male & female Kestrel have become common visitors since December and are often perched on the telegraph poles scanning the fields for prey. Both Black-headed & Common Gulls have been feeding in the nearby fields throughout January along with good numbers of Rook, Carrion Crow & Jackdaw. Plenty of Magpies about with a single count of 17 being seen in the adjacent fields, a single Jay also seen in the orchard.

Marsh Tit.

Tawny Owls are calling from dusk and long into the early hours with one again calling from the top of the cottage, most sightings come from the nearby country lanes with one faithful bird being seen along Shogmoor Lane regularly. Our resident Little Owls are still laying low with only a handful of sightings through January, most of which are on sunny days when the pair are out sunning themselves. Another pair are still regular sightings at a farm shed at the top of Shogmoor Lane and can be seen most nights perched on the shed roof.

A small covey of Red-legged Partridges were seen passing through the garden early in January but other than that there has been few sightings, The male Pheasant is still coming into the garden before dusk and using the seed feeders!.
No sign of any Siskin or Brambling around the garden but at Chisbridge Lane the Brambling flock of at least 25 birds remained faithful to the cereal crops in the fields next to the double gates, Yellowhammer, Chaffinch & Greenfinch make up the numbers in this flock of 50 or so Finches & Buntings. They can be viewed from

Deer numbers have massed into the hundreds and can be seen from the roadside near the Old Luxters Farm Brewery in Hambleden as they graze in the fields, a Stoat was again seen as it ran through the vegetable patch towards the end of January.

Fallow Deer Stag Filmed In The Garden In October.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Wallaby - 31st January 2008.

Driving back from Henley-on-Thames along the A4155 late afternoon I had a rather unusual sighting as I approached Benhams Lane SU767853. I noticed something sitting upright next to the bus stop on the Management college side of the road so I slowed down to a crawl and was surprised to see a Wallaby sat in the grass, a car soon came along the road behind me and I was forced to drive on. Okay I know what you're thinking, Bullsh*t but it's not as crazy as it sounds as the nearby McAlpines estate has a number of exotic animals on the grounds which have a tendency to escape now and again. My first encounter came in June 2004 along Icehouse Lane near Toad Hall Garden Centre when a certain individual was seen in the same location a number of times.

I recall a close friend thinking I was mad when I told him that I had seen a Wallaby near Fawley as we drove to the Warburg Nature Reserve one afternoon, I parked the car up and pointed out the spot where I had found it in a field near an old shed, I don't think he was really taking me seriously until a head popped up out of the long grass and a Wallaby sat there looking at us. We watched it for 5 minutes before it hopped out of sight.

Bittern - Lavell's Lake January 2008.

I took a trip over to Lavell's Lakes, Berks to try and catch up with the Bittern that had been seen roosting in the main island reedbed. As I approached the new hide I met a couple that informed me that the Bittern was on show and had been for sometime, I slowly opened the door to the hide and came face to face with my birding pal Roy Rose who already had the bird in his scope. I quickly looked through his scope in case the bird disappeared into the reeds as they often do and was delighted to see my first Bittern of the year sat motionless in the reeds. The Bittern showed well before it became slightly obscured by the reeds in the reedbed and as dusk approached it blended in with the background and became almost impossible to see, amazing camouflage for such a large bird.

It's always a pleasure to see this elusive bird and to be able to watch it from the comfort of the magnificent new hide at Lavell's makes it even better. Much more spacious than the previous hide it offers views out across the lake and also to the sides of the hide giving views into the side of the reedbeds. Another small viewing window offers views out to the array of feeders that are hanging behind the hide.

Added To My Year List

111. Bittern