Wolds Diary: A grand bird spectacle

It HAS been another busy and also rather stressful week but there have been some terrific highlights too.

Sue Woodcock felt privileged to have a close encounter with red kites.

My cats went to the vets for their yearly jabs. I have a wonderful vet who informed me that my cats purr too much when she tried to measure their heartbeat. Attempts to get them to look out of the window were only moderately successful!

I have been looking after my friend’s chickens and cats for a week while she has been away and also for two days I was shepherding the Shetland sheep and one new addition, a kerry hill, as well as feeding their cat for another friend.

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I felt very privileged this week when on one trip out with the dogs I saw three red kites, one of them very close to me, a pair of peregrine falcons hunting, a sparrowhawk hunting a little distance away and then a little later a couple of kestrels.

That wasn’t all. I spotted an elephant hawk moth flying in one of the fields and I noticed a number of small voles scurrying undercover, cleverly using the package of my dogs as cover from the raptors overhead. In addition there were all the usual birds to be seen including a murder of crows and a murmuration of starlings. It was a very birdy day!

The next day I needed to go into York which I always enjoy. My laptop computer had finally died. It had been rather sad for a while. I took it into a large PC store where I had previously had excellent service. They explained that their larger branch at Clifton Moor would be able to assist me. I jumped on a bus which seemed to take for ages as it wound its way through various housing estates. At this store they were very helpful and I arranged to pick up a new desktop one a few days later.

By the time I got back to my car two bus journeys later I was able to put the chickens to bed on the way home and settled down to a couple of days with no email. I am surprised how in only about a year I have come to rely on it.

The next day I was due at the doctors to get the results of an X-ray and a blood test. Thankfully the blood test proved I am pretty healthy and the X-ray was yet to arrive.

I had been invited to speak to the Yorkshire Countrywomen’s Association at the delightful little village hall of Etton in the afternoon. After a pleasant drive through the countryside I arrived early and had a soft drink at the lovely pub opposite. The hall was pretty full and after my talk we had tea! It was at this point that my diet went out of the window for the rest of the day because the cakes were wonderful. I was even given a doggy bag to take home. I also won a raffle prize, a box of proper tea bags (the Yorkshire ones). I couldn’t resist the cakes once I got home. Tea was very filling!

The dogs and I had a wonderful walk the next morning quite a bit longer than normal. They all managed to find something quite disgusting to roll in and they and I had to have a bath once we got home.

The rehearsal that evening was reasonably good and the next morning I took my beloved Staffie into the vet to be spayed. I felt dreadful about it but knew it had to be done. There are far too many unwanted dogs already.

While she was there I took the other four up to Allerthorpe Common. It is just too popular with other dog walkers for me to take the Staffie. I realise the last time I had been there was with my old dog Froyle who I still miss, then back to pop them into the house and after that a drive up to Clifton Moor to pick up the new computer. They had tried but failed to rescue information from the old one.

Back home I unloaded it and then went and fetched a very sad little dog from the vets who was feeling very poorly and very dopey. I put the electric blanket on in my bed and she slept most of the evening on that. The next morning she felt a bit better and even deigned to eat some food into which I had sneaked a tablet for her. I then ventured to a car boot sale in the town and returned with a bit of shopping and some very nice ties. The dog is now much better!