Monday 4 May 2009

Parehayne Woods and 'Memory Lane' Type Waffle

Yet again I haven't really been out birding as such but have taken the dog for a couple of little walks on which I've seen one or two vaguely interesting things. Yesterday, because I had to drop some stuff off at the local tip, I took Rex with me and went for a walk in my old stomping ground Parehayne Woods, north of Colyton which we pass on the way back. We used to live in the vicinity around eight years ago and Parehayne Woods was my favourite horseriding spot. There wasn't much of interest in the way of birds there but I was very surprised to see this:

A Painted Lady, I've nver seen one of these in woodland before.

Not far from these woods is a place where Early Purple Orchids grow, when I used to ride here years ago the roadsides were literally festooned with them. These days they are few and far between. I managed to find a group of about six or seven though.

Here's five of them with some Bluebells. What I can't understand is - why call them Early Purple or 'Long Purples' (which is a local Westcountry name for them I believe)?? Because to me they are clearly various shades of pink!

The Early Purple - 'pretty in pink!

Back to the woods and here's a view of my favourite track, where I've enjoyed many exilerating gallops. It is also however the scene of one of my worst falls too.

In spring 2000 I was speeding up here on our Welsh Cob, Luke when he put in a massive buck and I fell 'out of the side door' as we say. It wasn't a bad fall in itself as he' was only 14 :2 hands, (not much more than a pony) so it wasn't far to the ground. However, he then proceeded to run over me!! Guess what? It hurt a bit! When I finally got off the floor I somehow managed to ride back home. I thought I was fine until a few hours later when I was in so much pain I was rushed by ambulance to Exeter hospital. Here I was left on a trolley in casualty and ignored. This as it turned out, was the exact right treatment for me because after a mere 4 hours like this I ' got better' and discharged myself. There was no lasting damage just severe bruising, I literally had horse footprints on my back and legs!!

Luke was a real character to say the least, here's a couple of photos of him, one with me aboard and another showing him telling our other horses who's boss! Luke had to be sold because we just couldn't keep him in a field or a stable, he was a horse version of Houdini. He'd break down his stable door and once he escaped from his field and fell into our landlord/neighbour's swimming pool , rupturing the liner, it was a good job we'd got insurance!

Pint size Luke sees off my two 'monsters' in comparison, Rosie, who you may recognise and Colonel, who were both very big horses at almost 17 hands high. You may not be able to tell from this photo but Colonel really was huge. He was also the first horse I ever bought, talk about jumping in at the deep end! Before I had him he'd been used for a medieval jousting display at Warwick Castle, carrying a man in armour! Sitting on him I looked like a pea on a drum or a tom tit on a round of beef, as my old grandad would say!


Today a walk in Morganhayes Woods was brightened up by great views of yet more Roe Deer, these two does didn't seem to see Rex and me until we were very close. I whipped out the camera and got a couple of snaps. In the second photo one was attempting to hide behind the other, with almost perfect execution too.

Their state of moult makes them look like they're wearing blankets

They are both there, look closely.

Finally while I was sitting in the lounge this morning eating my bacon butty a local Herring Gull fancied a bite and sat staring in through the window at me. I wasn't scared....

.... Perhaps I should have been. What a brute.

Sorry about all the horse related waffle, there's plenty more of it I'm afraid. Let's hope I see some good birds soon. :-)

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