January snippets from the Devon countryside

What a wet start to the year! I believe we have had just two dry days in January and besides going outside for essentials, feeding sheep, walking dogs and taking a few tentative steps out on the course, I really haven’t taken any more than three good walks. So this blog is only about a couple of very special moments in time.

I never found exactly what those large flocks of pigeons were feeding on, but I had some of the closest every sightings of the guy feeding on the pigeons. On one walk, I rested in the wood where two pigeon were flying to and from, when the peregrine appeared directly overhead, not once but many times as it flew the length of the woods, just over the tree tops. In the last of that day’s sun its markings were crystal clear. Though I never saw it catch a pigeon, it wouldn’t have been there if there was no chance in succeeding, if only there had been enough day light to have stayed for an hour or so more, just in case.

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Walking my dog across the Golf Course last weekend, hoping to find it dry, I stopped close to the 15 green and felt that for some reason tinnitus had set in for no apparent reason. The sound was similar to the bird scaring buzz lines used to keep pests from garden crops, and slightly reminiscent of the buzz from high voltage power lines. However neither of them were in the vicinity, but a few more steps closer to the pond and the water suddenly burst into life at the edges! Hundreds of frogs leapt from weedy banks into deeper water creating a pond sized tidal wave across the glassy smooth surface. The sound disappeared in an instant. As I had no camera at hand to make it worthwhile to wait for these amorous amphibians to return to their chosen patch, but their activities were certain. There was no frog spawn visible at the time, but some 5 days later, there are vast clumps of frog spawn around the entire pond. Only a few frogs were still calling, but I caught a couple of the presumably less amorous or late starters on camera.

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As the weather was fine, I just had that feeling that any animal prepared to take a risk would be out trying to enjoy some of those rays of sunshine. So even at nearly midday, it was worth extending my walk just in case I bumped into a fox or something else of interest.

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The extra effort was rewarded with another encounter with our local red deer, some 30 this time and the photos bear witness. Today’s were some 60m away and lying down very peacefully. Photo. However two weeks ago early as the frost was lifting I had time to take some 60 photos of reds at 20m from me, and only 200m from the 18 Tee.

Our green staff are also making the most of this very brief spell of sunshine.

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