Countrylife and birds

Summer 2016

Sitting in the door-opening at an early hour, I can see the red woodpecker on the telephone pole “washing” his feathers. Its body is very expressive, with its beak at a 90 degree angle to its head and the way it keeps its body in a vertical position, as if ready to peck the wood each moment and hammer it so fiercely. It’s amazing, that force present in such a body.


Suddenly a second woodpecker joins it, finding its own spot on the pole, rather clumsily with lots of wing-a-flutter. I’ve never seen 2 woodpeckers at the same time, I suspect there’s a nest in the tree nearby. Now they both fly away. The telephone lines are excellent resting places for birds. Red robins, blue tits, sparrows, wrens, pigeons, rooks, blackbirds.

Oh, there’s a 3rd woodpecker landing on the pole, it’s clear now that there must be nest nearby. Now it’s gone and the former couple returns. I notice now, that one of them is larger and lighter of colour on the front of its body. The other one is smaller and darker.

It’s rare when a green woodpecker shows up, but it does! One early morning I heard a loud birdcry and went to the dooropening. There it was, sitting on the fence of the garden, a large bird of about 20 cm. height. Since than, now that I recognize its voice, I’ve seen if fly down to the field behind the lane, with a strong whirrrrr…. of its wings. I can see the beautiful bright mustardgreen colour on its back.

green woodpecker

Today it’s a lively morning for the birds. Pigeons are cooing on the roof of my neighbours,   I hear the click of my neighbours gate right now. She’s picking up the milkbottles, they’re delivered every day. It reminds me of the 50’s, when each home in my street had milkbottles waiting outside the front door, in the early morning. At some point the little birds found a way to peck through the tinfoil covers and eat from the cream on top of the milk.

Now a blackbird is protesting loud and fierce, chasing a rook. Probably it tried to disturb the blackbird’s nest. The lane below is a very old Roman road, a path gradually hollowed out during centuries, by the trafficking of travelers on foot, villagers, Roman legions, carts and herds of sheep or cows. The hedges along the lanes here are welcome habitats for birds too, apart from insects and small animals finding refuge in them.

A view from my home 02-2016 (2).jpg

The summer-view from where I sit now is magnificent. Different from this winter-picture showing the garden in Febr. 2016. I’ve enjoyed that view much for 1 year.

Finally I moved on to Devon S.W. UK to Dartmoor, my favorite spot for a place to live.

April 19 2017 Seagulls on the roof

Where I live now, I often see seagulls on the roofs of homes. Mostly in pairs, now that it’s springtime. That’s new to me, for in Holland, this type of seagulls usually fly around at the seaside or wait on strategic places in a harbour, where fish arrives on dry shore.

These birds can be fierce scavengers, in harbours. Once I made myself comfortable on a picknick table, in Dartmouth harbour, a snack with fish in my raised hand. Before I had a chance to enjoy my first bite, a large seagull came swooping down and got it in his claws. Gone! Gosh!


I heard a chuckle next to me. A man had witnessed the scene in amusement.                       I must’ve looked bewildered and disappointed and I didn’t feel like joining his chuckling at all. The man saw my face and said “These birds are very clever and they’re not shy”  Well, I learned something.

And what about the seagulls on the roofs? They’re the type of seagulls, as shown in the picture, very large  in flight too, yellow beaks with a bright orange speck.

They’ve got a large variety of sounds I’ve noticed and since it’s mating season, many a call came as a warning or an invitation, from one roof to another. “Come over  please and check out the quality of the insulation here!” A warm roof under their  feet is welcome when the nesting season arrives. During a few weeks it’s been a  scene of much to and fro, flying and calling, between roofs. Testing.. and competing. The couples are beginning to feel the nesting urge.

“No dear, yesterday I’ve found an excellent roof overthere, the one in the middle, look” says mom-to-be and dad-to-be benignly obliges the call of nature. Mom-to-be knows best! For days now, 2 seagull couples near my home are busy with sorting things out.

They’re bonding, sitting near each other, straightening their feathers in the same way as cats wash themselves in company of a mate-to-be, making soft noises and stretching their necks with raised beaks to the sky. All good things come from heaven.

This morning, a seagull couple was sleeping on the roof of my neighbour, heads tucked in and bodies touching. Snug. An agreement is made it seems. I’ve never seen seagulls so at peace with each other.

On the roof of the garden shed is a coil of black tube material. Lately, a seagull couple landed on that roof and mom-to-be immediately sat in that coil. Almost a ready made nest! It looked funny and dad-to-be looked a bit doubtful, walking back and forth on the roof of the shed. “Are you sure this is the right place, dear?” he seemed to say, whole at the same time looking at her in a bemused way at his spouse in her nesting-urge.

It can’t be helped, there are things, on Earth and under Heaven, that matter solely to moms-to be and dads-to-be try to copy that stance and be a proper match, in their own way. Protective without being submissive. That’s how the spark of life is flying to its destiny, isn’t it?

Still, it’s the calm before the storm…. sort of. All too soon mom-newbee and dad-newbee will busy themselves, flying  to and fro with food in their beaks,  quenching the hunger in their chicks, who are screaming in their nest. If I will see the fledglings? I doubt it. Soon I will move again, where the river Dart is a bit further away from the town.

There’s such an abundance of nature, green lush landscapes on rolling hills, with large plowed fields of red earth, ancient trees and hedges in bloom. Nature is often left to itself, in harmony.  The beautiful thing of living in the South of Devon is the nearness of the ocean and Dartmoor. My new living space will be on walking distance from the Moors 🙂