Herefordshire Week 024: Tuesday 09 – Monday 15 June 2020

Birds. ASDA. Mowing. Walks.


Bird bonanza this week.

Janet sent Phil a BTO email with a video feature on Identifying Great Spotted Woodpecker and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. The key fact, loitering several minutes in, is that Greater Spotted are blackbird/thrush size, Lesser Spotted are sparrow size. Which means our two are Great Spotted Woodpeckers, one adult and one juvenile. It would explain why one of them seems to be leading each time the two of them visit the bird feeder, and occasionally passes peanuts to the other:

Greater spotted woodpeckers on the pear tree
Greater spotted woodpeckers on the pear tree

The new bird feeder is a hit with the smaller birds, blue tits and coal tits in particular. The great tits are a bit too big to fit inside the wire, so they and the nuthatches make the most of the other peanut feeder – when the squirrels or woodpeckers aren’t around. How To Tell The Difference Between Great Tits, Blue Tits And Coal Tits

Nuthatch on the bird feeder
Nuthatch on the bird feeder
Coal tit on the bird feeder
Coal tit on the bird feeder

The more humid weather has brought house martins, whizzing around over the patio and somehow managing to land safely up under the eaves, hanging onto the brickwork like spider man. I still find it hard to remember how to tell the difference: swifts, swallows and martins.

House Martin
House Martin

A more successful social life this week – VWW, family Zoom (special guests, Jo and Rosa), Skype with Rach, phone call with Tom. And on Sunday we chatted with the folks down at Yew Tree Cottage, who were making a start on their extension. Al fresco coffee is planned.


I went to Asda first thing on Friday to do an interim shop (mainly fruit), and was in the small queue that formed before they opened at 7am. About 10 people in there, which was fine by me. More masks.

Dropped a few things off with dad and Jean on the way home, and stayed for a cup of tea. Asda had tomato grow bags – they are the new toilet roll / tinned tomatoes / yeast / bread flour in terms of scarcity – so I bought two, one for me and one for Jean.

I left Dinedor with a “squirrel proof” bird feeder and tree netting from dad, and from Jean gorgeous sweet peas plus two pots of parsley and one of coriander – grown from seed.

Coal tit - Our first visitor on the NEW bird feeder
Coal tit – Our first visitor on the NEW bird feeder
Conservatory crops: Coriander, Parsley and Radishes
Conservatory crops: Coriander, Parsley and Radishes

Called in a Lock’s Garage on the way home to buy some eggs and they had free mini cucumbers and mange tout. The former got pickled on Saturday and the later are livening up lunches and dinners.

Later on on Friday we netted the cherry tree and I planted out my two tomato plants in the grow bag together with two of the chillies. On Saturday I took a leaf out of Primitive Technology‘s book and on my way from Stone Street to Canns Hill I picked up binder twine and cut hedgerow withies and used them to stake out my tomato plants.

Tomatoes and chillies, relocated and staked
Tomatoes and chillies, relocated and staked

The weather took a turn for the worse this week – lots of rain on Wednesday and really quite cold on Thursday. That said, the weekend’s rain didn’t arrive as often / for as long as forecast, so I postponed “computer time” (I was going to do my Blurb book for Nepal) and went out walking the lanes instead.

Saturday morning I did Thistly field – Camp Crossroads – Duffryn Farm – Cockyard – Stone Street – Kerry Gate, and Phil and I did the Bacton square on Sunday morning (although we got caught in heavy rain at Riverdale).

Monday morning’s attempt to get off the roads and onto some footpaths was frustrated by wet meadows and nettle-crowded stiles and paths. Still, did a good three hours over to Dulas / The Trout (as was) via Canns Hill and Cwm Road, and on to Ewyas Harold via the nature reserve and the footpath into the recreation ground, back over the Common on another new route.

The good news from EH is that The Old Stables is open again, for telephone orders – YAAAY!


Telly: we finished The Tunnel series 1 and started Succession series 2 (still SO GOOD). All the better for one of Phil’s best Friday night pizzas yet:

Friday Night Pizza
Friday Night Pizza

Podcasts: World Book Club (BBC) and On The Record (The National Archives). Gone off The Boring Talks – too knowing / self indulgent / making something out of nothing.


Monday afternoon mowed in the sunshine. Good timing as overnight Mon/Tues we were both woken up by a heavy downpour. The grass will love it, and I am hoping my lettuce and tomatoes have survived!


And on Sunday, I got the past three weeks of photos onto Flickr.

Here are the photos from week 24.