Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!

It’s only me πŸ™‚

European Robin
I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

Those are lines written by the poet Robert Burns in 1785. Okay he wrote that poem To a Mouse but my bird is just as tim’rous.

I am really startled that in 1785, without the benefits of social media, a man could be so aware.

Robert Burns was way ahead of his time.

European RobinMy tim’rous beastie has been obsessing me. I am so close to fixing nature’s social union, so close but not quite there yet.

I noticed that the bird was following my hand. What happens now is that he sits outside my door singing and his song is very clear, so I go to the door. I say hello and I put out a worm or two and the bird is watching my hand because almost before I can withdraw, it swoops down and takes the worm.

So I reasoned that if it knows the hand provides the food then let me offer the food on the hand.

I am doing a lot of this. The neighbour’s think I’m nuts, we’ll see πŸ˜‰

FeedingIt is still dark outside as I start this post. The Robins started singing at six thirty this morning. I know what I will be doing as soon as it gets light. I have put off writing this post just because I keep thinking, any time now, I will get the pictures that I want but no, this is just going to be an update.

European RobinI need a name for my soon to be tamed European Robin.

In my mind I am making the association with Robin Goodfellow. The bird is cheeky and mischievous but also capable of meanness. Puck just doesn’t sound right (Something that you might play ice-hockey with) but there is a name there somewhere. I am open to suggestions.

European RobinThere is more than one bird and I may need more than one name. I have seen four Robins together outside of my door. That is a bit odd. I have just mentioned that the Robin is capable of meanness, a male Robin will not tolerate another male in his territory and while many animals settle such disputes with a good display of bluster, a Robin will kill an intruding male.

So how come, four birds? The only thing that I can think of is that these are last years chicks and they haven’t dispersed yet. They will have to go soon, the breeding season is starting.

European Robin

Ducks on the Pond!

Mind your language now.

MallardsAs predicted our solitary male has been joined by another male and a female.

MallardThe two males are quite easy to tell apart.

MallardSo the Ducks can have names too, if you like πŸ™‚

MallardsThe trail camera is out watching the Ducks. I would like to make a “sex tape.” The breeding habits of Mallards are quite interesting and deserve some explaining but we can talk about that when I get the video.

I think that this one is my favourite, he is the underdog duck.


MallardIs Fizz being neglected while I play with my birds?

If I ever do a post called, “Interesting things you can do with a Dog,” it will involve mud.




FizzThe Sheep are meant to be having their toenails painted today but it is raining. Apparently you do not want to handle wet sheep, the fleece holds quite a bit of water. Well that is something that I have learned today.

SheepOn with the flowers.

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)Mercurialis perennis, The Dog’s Mercury

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)Dog’s Mercury is a green woodland plant that does best in partial shade. It appears very early in the year (January) and forms dense mats on the woodland floor.

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)A member of the Spurge family, Β (Euphorbiaceae)Β it spreads from it’s rhizomes (rootstalks) to form a large mass of plants that can shade others out.

Dog’s Mercury is dioecious, meaning that there are separate male and female plants.

The male plant carries spikes of flowers that open to reveal between eight and fifteen, pollen producing, stamens.

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)The flower has no petals, it has three, lime green, tepals (a term used when sepals and petals are indistinguishable from each other)

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)The female plant is much less conspicuous and most easily recognised by the lack of a flower spike.

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)Female flowers are carried singly on a long stem.

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)The female flower consists of a two lobed stigma above the ovary. The also have the three lime green tepals, soon hidden by the growing seeds.

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)The leaves of Dog’s Mercury are spear like (narrowly elliptic-ovate) and grow in opposite pairs. Most of the leaves are at the top of the stem.

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)They are finely haired and have a toothed margin.

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)The stem is unbranched and by this I mean that the leaves and flowers grow directly from the central stem.

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)

Similar species: The leaves and flowers of Annual Mercury (Mercurialis annua) look very similar to Dog’s Mercury, the big difference between the species is that Annual Mercury grows on branched stems, by this I mean that they grow on stems which branch off the main stem.

I don’t have pictures of Annual Mercury because in the UK, it only grows in the South East of England but if you are unsure of your identification then just Google for images of Annual Mercury and look at the stem.


Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)(Dog’s Mercury growing amongst Wild Garlic)

Dog’s Mercury is extremely poisonous. The first recorded case of fatality comes from 1693 when a family of five ate it and one child subsequently died. They had boiled the plant before eating it. The most recent case of poisoning comes from the 1980’s and was reported in The British Medical Journal. A couple boiled and ate the plant, mistaking it for an edible. They were hospitalised for two days but recovered without any serious ill effects. Their recovery was put down to the fact that they had boiled the plant before eating it.

Serious cases of poisoning in Humans are rare because there is little reason why anyone would eat this plant, most cases must arise from mistaken identity, or just not noticing the leaves when you pick your Wild Garlic.

Poisoning is more common in animals with several cases of Sheep poisoning being reported. I have also read a lot of reports of Dogs being drawn to eat it and subsequent vomiting. The plant has an unpleasant smell that repels us but may attract Dogs.

Dog’s Mercury in January:

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)Β Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)Β  Β Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)Β  Β Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)Taxonomy

Kingdom: Plantae

Order:Β Malpighiales

Family:Β Euphorbiaceae

Genus:Β Mercurialis

Species:Β MercurialisΒ perennis

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)Wildflowers in winter.



70 thoughts on “Obsession”

    1. Ha! Thank you John πŸ™‚ They did do the Sheep in the end. The old farmer came out and said it couldn’t be delayed, so a couple of fellows got a bit wet and I walked Fizz in the mud again πŸ™‚


    1. Thank you John πŸ™‚ Three females? I haven’t seen that happen before but maybe it does. Perhaps my Robin has a harem. There seemed to be plenty of little Robins about last year.


      I am still thinking that these must be teenagers still living at home. If so then they will disappear soon. I would like to know though, if he has three females will they raise three clutches?


  1. We have a spurge that grows here alongside purselane. I gather the purselane but leave the spurge, and one of my kids is very good at telling the difference as well. Is most spurge poisonous? Not that I’m looking to eat it; I had heard it caused purgative effects and wondered if this ran in the family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lora πŸ™‚ Yes and but it’s a bit more complicated than that. This one isn’t really a Spurge it is a member of the Spurge family, the Euphorbiaceae. Within that family there is a genus called the Euphorbia and these are what we commonly call Spurge. They all share the characteristic of having a toxic, milky, white sap, like the Poinsettias, although I have never heard of anyone dying from eating a Rubber Tree. Dog’s Mercury is genus Mercurialis and it doesn’t have milky toxic sap but it does have lots of other poisons.


  2. Robert Burns did have an amazingly clear vision of the future. The robin pictures are great; such a different bird than our robins here. Good luck getting the hand feeding accepted. Fizz just doesn’t care about mud at all. Proof that a dog can be a real adventurer, mud or not, and enjoy every minute of her life. We could all learn from her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sarasin πŸ™‚ He may have been an extraordinary man or he could just have been an ordinary time traveller, in which case the poetry would have been no problem because he would have read all that stuff while he was still at school. He may have done all of this just to establish Burns Night πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Justine πŸ™‚ Puck seems to be getting some votes. We may have to have a poll πŸ™‚ The name does suit the character but Puck has many names. Pixie is derived from Puck and I quite like the lilt of Piskie.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The video covering the breeding habits of the Mallard is going to get us into some unusual terrain, looking forward to it. And I like Puck too. Sounds like one of the hobbits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Bill πŸ™‚ I really should have made the Mallard video last year. I would have done but Fizz went charging into the water shouting, “I’ll save you Lady Duck!” Stupid Dog πŸ™‚


  4. I think Zelda and Scott for the mated ducks and Lilly and Sweet William for the lovely birds, but maybe you should ask them what their names are. If you’re lucky, they may tell you:) Or perhaps they will tell you what they would like to be calledFizz is the muddiest dog I have ever seen and the happiest. Maybe that’s the trick MUD for everyone. Cats don’t like mud so it must be a dog thing. They don’t seem to care if they’re icky and grubby and smelly, cat’s are immaculate and tougher than dogs, maybe that’s the reason, they are never bogged down by mud, that and because they are too busy sleeping and perfecting their fighting skills. πŸ™‚ Meow and yay for Valentine’s day.

    I’m never eating leaves. I don’t go into the woods, since the Forest Preserves can be dangerous, but even if I did, after reading your blog, I would die from ingesting the wrong thing. Count on it. LOL City girl, no survival skill except there and you need different skills for that…I have those, not the leafy kind:) Another great post:)


    1. Thank you Gigi πŸ™‚ I tried asking them what I should call them. The problem is that although I can speak Robin quite fluently I haven’t got a clue what I am saying or for that matter what is being said back to me.

      Never mind they are getting cuter by the hour πŸ™‚



  5. Hmm…Rob Roy sprang to mind for the robin simply because it has “Rob” in it and I think I had a little crush on Liam Neeson from the movie. Rob Roy did have red hair apparently and I suppose he was a bit of a fighter. You need three other names though. Perhaps since they fight each other a little you could use Rob Roy’s enemies? I enjoyed the UK comedy George and Mildred as a child and those names sprang to mind for the ducks, however I can’t say those two were particularly romantic! When lost for names I usually resort to something from Shakespeare. Beatrice and Benedict. Claudio and Hero. There are many. Not sure they are duck-like though. I think you are the first blogger I have followed who openly admits he plans to make sex tapes! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Colin. I do enjoy your posts on flora and fauna in your area and your writing style. πŸ™‚ Appreciate your visit to my blog and hope you enjoy the poems. Your beautiful countryside and nature reminds me of the my student days in East Anglia, Cambridge. Kind regards, Iris. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No I am not in the UK now. I went over to Australia to practise after my postgrad studies. Hence the many poems that have been influenced and inspired by the natural Australian landscape and wildlife. Glad you have also enjoyed the “Aussie” poems. πŸ™‚ Many thanks, Colin. πŸ™‚ Much appreciated. Have a lovely day!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, I can hardly wait for your sex tape. We had mallards and wood ducks on our pond, but for some reason, I missed that particular part of the excitement.
    What a good roundup this is: from wild birds and ducks to muddy animals to poisonous plants.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Late to the poll, but I’m with Maggie on a nod to the poet, although I thought Bobby, so you could call him Bobby Robby for short. Also thought one should be named Hood, for obvious reasons, along with Simply Red. Cinnamon or Paprika perhaps for a female? Ducks, well George and Gracie sound really good. The under-duck could maybe be Dudley. Well that’s my list. Fizz looks like she’s having fun, which always seems to involve mud πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Colin, I missed me too πŸ˜‰ But more importantly I missed your blogs 😦 My work is currently keeping me away from my hobbies. It’s good to have job security, but at times it’s a wee bit too secure lol πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I like Ringo πŸ™‚ but he might be a she, I haven’t quite sorted out who is who yet. I don’t even know if it is just one Robin that is taking food from my hand or maybe two of them have learned the trick.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I will allow others to offer names. I hope the beautiful robin becomes a fast friend to you. I have a great time spent reading your blog and the response from your many followers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ettel πŸ™‚ The relationship is going really well. The bird flies over when I open my door. We say hello and I get some food for it and it all happens as soon as I open the door, there is no waiting around. It feels magical, talking to a wild creature. The little beast won’t sit on my hand though, it will take food from my hand but I still have to put my hand on the floor. We are building confidence. πŸ™‚


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