Thank you everybody who voted to give the little Robin a name 🙂
The most popular name was Christopher and that is how I will remember him.
He’s gone 😦
I haven’t seen him since Wednesday. He wasn’t there when I opened my door on Wednesday morning, he only showed up once that day, I think to say goodbye and I haven’t seen him since.
There were too many Robins. I was seeing four birds every time I looked out of my window. I think they were last year’s brood and that they just hadn’t dispersed yet. Christopher must have been one of the juveniles.
I don’t think that he was hit by a bus, just because he did come to see me once on that last day. I think that he had to leave and find a territory of his own.
I put off writing this post. I am a bit disappointed, just because it took me three months to get him eating out of my hand and I miss seeing him when I open my door.
The way that I see it is that it was a wonderful experience and there is nothing at all to regret and I will try again.
Take care Christopher (I have to stop calling him little bird now). Thank you.
Now that was a sad post. I have got another post to write today. The Dog has been saying some things about me that are not completely true and I have some beautiful pictures to show you.
Two: Whenever I look after him, when my mum and dad get back (his owners) they give him a bottle of whiskey for being a good boy. You won’t see him for a while.
So let us start by righting a few wrongs.
The Eagle has landed!
Great! So it is “Eddy the Eagle” then. No need for a poll.
Eddy as in a tide. The tide comes in and the tide goes out (Geddit?)
Eating isn’t a trick. Anyone can do eating.
I can do the dishes.
So I took him for a walk today. At his age it doesn’t really matter about the exercise but I need to keep his mind active, it slips so easily.
Hey Fizz come and look at this beauty.
Leave it Col, it’s not even one of ours.
The last thing that I want to do is mess about photographing lambs in springtime.
It is not a lamb Fizz, it is a Sheep with a very pretty face. No lambs involved.
It is hard to keep him on track sometimes.
We are up here looking for Lent Lilies. (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) otherwise know as Wild Daffodils. I found a bunch up here last March and I keep coming back, hoping to catch them from the beginning.
Pictures from last year.
We can’t exactly remember where we saw them last year, so we just keep walking this trail and looking for them.
Fizz, Fizz, Fizz!
Yes! We agreed, no lambs. Remember?
“No lambs involved,” That was his words.
Yes but it’s her lamb Fizz!
Come this way. I need you to focus. Would you like to throw your ball away for a bit? I’ll get it back for you.
Then, a breakthrough!
Hidden in amongst the Bluebells, just where I knew they would be, I found them.
“Col, come quick! I’ve found them!”
Fizz, Fizz, Fizz!
Try to remember that I am a Dog and that technically, I could bite you.
Bite me Fizz! It’s her other lamb.
Sometimes I despair.
He is just a sucker for a pretty face.
(I know, I work it)
We will be back to talk about Lent Lilies in a week or so, when he has sobered up. Until then, I will be running the blog.
It has been a month since we had a proper Robin update, the last one was Valentine’s Day. I asked you for suggestions for a name and said that when I got him eating out of my hand we would have a poll to choose the best one.
Today we raised the bar (by about two and a half feet) and he needs a name. Bear in mind that this is an important decision because after three months of hard taming, he is family now and he will be appearing here, as much a part of my day as walking the Dog.
If anybody has got Facebook then I ask that you just ignore any name suggestions that Fizz may post. I am not going to call him Flighty or Misfit. They will be chums.
Today started just as any other. He waits outside of my door for me to open up and start feeding him, that is usually about six thirty at this time of year.
He has been eating out of my hand for a couple of weeks but he likes to eat at ground level and that involves me getting on my knees and stretching my arm as far as I can.
I feel like an idiot.
I have been trying to get him to approach me from the hand rail and today he accepted that, I haven’t had to get on my knees since.
You can see that he wants this worm.
You big, brave, little bird.
As soon as he had done it once that was it, problem solved.
All of the pictures in this post were taken today, he is a hungry little bird.
Now he needs a name. The names on my list were suggested by you after my February 14th post, except for the last two, I decided to allow Fizz a little input. The poll is open for one week and then we will know who he is.
He is getting very confident and cheeky and I do like a rude bird. He has given me a lot of pleasure today and he will do so tomorrow as well.
I know that there are people who would prefer it if he was a vegetarian. I am feeding him live Wax Worms. It is just necessary at the moment to win his confidence. His natural diet is live insects and he would eat them anyway, by feeding him commercially grown animals I am saving the lives of hundreds of valuable native insects. I will talk to him about lifestyle options when we know each other better and probably after the chicks are fledged.
The other thing is that today was just a lousy day for photography. I thought that if I left this post a couple more days then I would get much better pictures but the post is about today.
I will do the better pictures, I will do both. When the sun shines I will have all of the opportunity in the world and he will sparkle.
Starting with Fizz and for anyone who didn’t see it already this is Fizz proving that dogs do actually say, “Bow, Wow,Wow.”
The little bird is still here.
He is landing on my hand now.
I am getting way ahead of myself. I am thinking that he might bring the young to me for food just as he will show them the bird feeders in the garden.
Maybe when it is warmer and I can leave the door open he will learn to come into the kitchen and have breakfast with me.
Shut up, Colin 🙂
The other little thing that I have got today is Primroses.
Don’t worry about the flowers we will have plenty of them. Last year the mice ate most of the flowers and I might have a go at filming them in the act. Pesky little animals.
Today I am looking at the buds, these are really special.
One last little thing that is bringing me a lot of pleasure, the Long-tailed Tits.
Last year they visited the garden but they didn’t stay here, these have been here every day for the last six weeks and obviously now I am hoping that they will stay and nest here.
I couldn’t photograph them today because the light was just too good. At this time of year the sun comes up behind the feeder and I can only see silhouettes and by the time it moves around it has dropped too low in the sky. Cloudy days are better for birds until the summer.
I made a video.
That’s it, no wildflower post because I didn’t have time today, I was too busy walking the dog 🙂
All of this mud is your fault. There is mud everywhere.
I don’t feel any compulsion to be fair, I just want to photograph beautiful things.
My camera doesn’t work very well in the winter. One day I will catch these birds in the sunlight.
That is my pair of Bullfinches. They have been here for nearly two weeks now, surely they will stay and nest?
We had new species arrive last year that we had never had before, particularly the Goldfinches, because I changed the feeding a bit. There is no reason why we can’t add a few more species this year.
I am a bit worried that they will go when the buds start to appear.
This one is new for this year too.
It’s a little Coal Tit. We didn’t have them last year but there are lots of them about just now.
This next one is proof positive that I can’t take pictures in the dark but I have to record this. It is a Zombie Robin.
It seems strange to me that the birds are moulting now when we are at the start of the breeding season, you would expect them to be in their prime.
I missed some good pictures of a male Robin displaying to another male this morning. He had his head thrown right back and his chest all puffed out and he was bouncing toward the other bird before chasing it off. There are a lot of Robins about in our garden at the moment, far more than there should be. I have only seen four together at once but none of them were Zombies and I think that there are at least six around the back garden and possibly another pair in the yard around the side, including the one that I am taming.
Maybe they can live quite close together when there is a lot of food. They do scrap around the feeder but they only chase each other, I haven’t seen any serious fighting yet.
Anyway, as I can’t take photographs because of Fizz and all of the rain and mud…
I have decided to give you something else to think about.
A couple of days ago my landlord asked me to have a look around his pond, something had been making holes.
“What do you think that is,” he said.
“That’s a broom handle, mate. Somebody’s been poking a broom handle in your grass.”
Well the holes are about one inch in diameter, pretty round and they go straight down.
He thought that they were being made by an animal and he wanted me and my nature detective dog to investigate.
I put the camera out and filmed it and it is indeed an animal and it is not big enough to wield a broom.
I don’t exactly know what it is yet and I thought you might know.
You will probably have to go full screen to have any chance of identifying it and even then the image isn’t very good but then I am not very familiar with these little animals. This video is slowed down to half speed, they are fast little animals.
I have a feeling that the holes might be a better indication of species and the video just confirmation.
All of the holes are around the edge of the pond. This is a garden pond and it has a liner so I am not expecting underwater entrances such as a Water Vole would make. There is a much larger natural pond just a few yards behind this one.
If I had to guess then I might say Bank Vole but I really don’t know much about that species. I have a feeling that the size of the hole might be indicative. They are pretty uniform holes and there are about a dozen that I can see.
C’mon Mudface, let’s go and get muddy in the mud, mud, mud.
If I had a goldfish then I wouldn’t have to wash my kitchen floor again tomorrow and there wouldn’t be branches of Gorse and worms all over my kitchen table.
Ulex europaeus, The Common Gorse
Also known as Furze or Whin, Common Gorse is a spiky shrub of the Pea family, It bears bright yellow flowers.
The structure of a Pea flower:
Like other members of the Pea Family the calyx of Ulex europaeus is made up of five sepals but these are fused together.
When the calyx opens it splits into two halves, a top lip and a bottom lip, giving the appearance of just two sepals.
The flower has five yellow petals and the petals have names.
The top petal is called the “Banner” or “Standard” petal. The two petals that form a boat like shape, bottom, centre are called the “Keel” petals and these house the stamens and style. Either side of the keel petals are the “Wing” petals.
The reproductive parts of the flower are initially hidden within the keel petals and it requires the weight of a large insect, such as a bee to land on the keel and expose the stamens and style, when this happens a small cloud of pollen bursts from the flower.
Inside the keel there are ten, partially fused stamens and a central style.
(Gorse flower, petals removed)
The seed pods of Common Gorse are quite small and they develop within the brown remains of the petals. Each pod contains two or three seeds that are relatively heavy and fall close to the parent plant.
The spines on the Gorse are modified leaves.
The spines have been developed to protect the plant from being eaten but a lot of other species have learned to take advantage of the protection offered.
Adders, Grass Snakes and lizards all take advantage of the cover of Gorse as do many small mammals. The dense spiny growth also makes an ideal nesting site for many birds but it does not just offer protection from predators. Gorse is evergreen and in the winter months it offers valuable protection from the elements.
The Dartford Warbler, an insect eating bird that does not migrate, could not survive our winters without Gorse for shelter, it is dependent on the plant.
Gorse flowers produce a lot of pollen and so they are a valuable food source for bees.
When it comes to nectar the scientists can not agree on this one, some very reputable sources say that Gorse does produce nectar and many others say that it does not. My take on this could be that it obviously doesn’t produce nectar in any significant quantity or there would be no dispute.
However, it is worth remembering that until 2013 Wood Anemones didn’t produce nectar and then they found the nectaries. See my post on Wood Anemones for more on that one. Science just doesn’t know everything about everything.
There are a number of moths and other invertebrates that also rely on Gorse. One example is the Gorse Case-bearer Moth (Coleophora albicosta) which overwinters in a silk cocoon inside a Gorse flower, the larva emerges and eats the seeds of the flower and then lives inside a case made from the sepals of the flower.
It is not just wildlife that benefits from Gorse, it has been a valuable crop to us as well.
The soft, coconut fragrant flowers are edible and have been used as decoration and flavouring but it is the tough spiky foliage that we really prize. It is very nutritious and available all year round and has been grown as animal fodder, particularly for horses. They can’t eat it as it is, it has to be milled and there were Gorse mills built for this purpose.
Gorse was also grown as a fuel. The woody stems burn with a lot of heat and produce little ash.
There are three species of Gorse native to the UK. The other two are Western Gorse (Ulex gallii) and Dwarf Furze (Ulex minor).
Common Gorse grows to two to three metres and it’s main flowering period is from January until July (Although it can be found in flower at any time of year)
Dwarf Furze as it’s name suggests is a small plant growing to about thirty centimetres (12 inches) and flowering from July until September.
Western Gorse is also quite small, not making more than about forty centimetres (16 inches) and again flowering from July till September.
Common Gorse has small bracts growing at the base of the flower, between two-four mm long. They do exist on Western Gorse but less than one mm long so if they are noticeable it is almost certainly Common Gorse. Although often these bracts remain attached to the calyx and are not so evident.
We have had new visitors to the garden. This is a mixed pair of Bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula). Apologies for the quality of the pictures but the weather was awful, I offer these as a record of species.
It has been about a year since I saw a Bullfinch in the garden, then it was just one male and he didn’t stay. These have been around for about a week now and obviously I hope that they do stay. Bullfinches are very fond of buds, especially of fruit trees and we have an apple orchard at the bottom of the garden, so hey, what’s the problem? At the moment they are digging into the sunflower hearts and the seeds are sticking to their faces, I don’t know if it was just because it was raining when I took these pictures but they look like babies plastered with food. I hope that they nest here.
Now I am a famous Botanist, Entomologist and Big Game Hunter (Heck, I am probably even an Astronaut, I haven’t checked) but despite all of my qualifications, most people still come here to see Scruffbag. So here is Scruffbag in the weather.
It has been very up and down, that’s all I’m saying.
BTW. This post is called “The End of Scruffbag” because tomorrow my valued associate is going to the beauty parlour to get fixed, after today you won’t recognise her.
So Fizz is planning a post on FB saying that I only love animals that eat worms. That is not really true, there is plenty of room for one more animal in my life and soon there will be three of us writing this blog and that will be better than two.
We spent a lot of time playing “how close will you get?” Then yesterday the bird started eating out of my hand but.. It is not perching on my hand yet. I have to put my hand on the floor. This is just awkward because it involves a lot of me being on the floor and it is uncomfortable but we are getting there.
Wildflowers next and after a very slow start things are picking up.
On Sunday I found my first Wood Avens, I would say, out of season, but I did find a few early flowers last year.
Monday brought White Dead-nettle and…
My first hazel flowers. (female)
Tuesday brought Red Dead-nettle and about time too, this one is two weeks late..
There are still no Primroses though but please don’t write in on this subject.
In the garden we have got yellow ones, red ones, we have even got a blue one and have had since the beginning of January. I am just not finding them in the wild.
My area is at a bit of altitude and a good two weeks behind sea level so you may well have wild primroses around you, plus they will come out in the open before they come out in the woods but I was photographing them here on February the third last year.
Okay, say goodbye to Scruffbag.
and for those who really can’t get enough of her, here is a video.
You are only going to want to watch this if like me you are a student of animal behaviour or if you like big eyes. She is keeping the ball from me but she doesn’t just run off with it, she walks a few paces and waits for me to catch up and as I bend down she takes another few steps out of reach and waits for me again.
If you think that is weird you should see her play the gate game. There is a gate on this track, she crawls under it and waits for me to climb over. As soon as I climb she crawls under the gate and sits on the other side watching me. She thinks this is so funny 😀
So I wrote about Hazel. In February I am having trouble keeping up with the wild flowers as they appear, White Dead-nettle isn’t on Easy Wildflowers yet. It is pretty obvious that I will fall behind in the summer. Oh well, I will just do my best.
I left a lot out of this post, there are no leaves or bark, I am not even sure that I mentioned that Hazel is a tree. It is one that I will come back to.
Corylus avellana, The Hazel Tree
Hazel catkins are an inflorescence of small flowers that form in the autumn and are with us all winter, they can begin to open in January if the weather is mild.
(Catkins in November)
Each catkin is a flower head, comprised of about 240 small flowers. Each flower is covered by a triangular downy bract, beneath the bract are four stamens and each stamen has two yellow anthers (the pollen producing male part of a flower).
A single anther will produce around nine thousand grains of pollen and one catkin, nearly nine million. A Hazel tree produces a lot of pollen.
Hazel is wind-pollinated and not reliant on insects so most of the pollen produced is blown away and doesn’t find it’s target.
The target for the pollen is the style of the female flower.
The Hazel tree is monoecious, meaning that each tree has both male and female flowers. The female flowers grow in clusters from small buds above the catkins. Only the red styles of the flowers protrude from the buds and the female inflorescence typically measures 2-4 mm across, It is a very small flower.
Despite anything that you may read to the contrary (or that I may have told you in the past) the location and timing of the female flowers has nothing to do with avoiding self pollination. Corylus avellana is self incompatible, it cannot self-fertilise.
Each female flower has two red styles (The pollen receiving female part of a flower). Each bud contains a cluster of between four and fourteen female flowers. Only the styles emerge from the bud.
Once pollinated the female flowers produce the fruit.
Hazel nuts in July.
Unripened Hazel nuts are white and appear either singly or in small clusters. They are surrounded by a leafy, green sheath called an involucre.
The fruit begins to ripen and turns brown in August.
Note that in this next picture, taken on the twentieth of August, next year’s catkins are already growing on the tree.
In December a few nuts remain.
Now the trees are characterised by the dried involucres that stay on the tree long after the nuts have gone.
There is a mass of misinformation on the internet. I used the following sources to verify the accuracy of my post.
Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie, O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
It’s only me 🙂
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.
My 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 😉
It 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.
I 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.
There 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.
Ducks on the Pond!
Mind your language now.
As predicted our solitary male has been joined by another male and a female.
The two males are quite easy to tell apart.
So the Ducks can have names too, if you like 🙂
The 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.
Is 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.
The 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.
On with the flowers.
Mercurialis perennis, The Dog’s Mercury
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.
A member of the Spurge family, (Euphorbiaceae)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.
The flower has no petals, it has three, lime green, tepals (a term used when sepals and petals are indistinguishable from each other)
The female plant is much less conspicuous and most easily recognised by the lack of a flower spike.
Female flowers are carried singly on a long stem.
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.
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.
They are finely haired and have a toothed margin.
The stem is unbranched and by this I mean that the leaves and flowers grow directly from the central stem.
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 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.
Every winter in the UK (since 1979) the RSPB asks the British public to take part in a survey of the birds in their garden. About half a million people take part and it has become the worlds largest wildlife survey.
So for one hour over this weekend we were asked to record the birds that visit our garden. They don’t want you to count how many times Blue Tits visit your feeder because that would be the same birds over and over, instead they want you just to watch and record the largest number of each species that you can see at any one time.
So during my allotted hour there was one point that I had four Blackbirds on the grass together, four is the answer, not how many Blackbirds I saw in the entire hour, get it?
This is my view of the garden from my kitchen window that will do. Most of the birds will be around the feeder, I have put plenty of food out on the grass to try and bring them into my field of vision and if I get three or four of one species on the feeders at the same time then I am scanning around to try and see more.
My results were not very spectacular. Some birds that I could almost guarantee to show up, didn’t. So for Collared Doves the answer was none, there are a pair that live here and I see them every day but during my hour they didn’t show. I hope they don’t get the idea that Collared Doves are extinct in Gloucestershire.
It is quite a fun thing to do. It requires a lot of attention. We had ten species visit during our hour and it could have been quite a few more. They all visit at the same time so I am trying to keep track of three House Sparrows over there and two Blue Tits on one feeder and two Robins squabbling amongst the bushes and so on.
I couldn’t take pictures while I was counting, I was too busy and then I couldn’t take pictures afterwards because it was just so murky but I did my best to try and show you what it was like.
The results that I returned were..
6 House Sparrows
6 Blue Tits
3 Great Tits
My favourite was the Wren, I hardly ever see them in that part of the garden and didn’t expect it.
It doesn’t look like a lot of birds but there were quite a lot of birds, they just didn’t all appear together and I was just following the rules. Quite a few local species would appear to be extinct if they just looked at my results but I expect that other people will report seeing them and an hour isn’t very long.
I could easily have missed the Bumbarrels too (Long-tailed Tits). They are not regular visitors but they have been here for a few days and just at the right time for the survey.
So that is the Big Garden Birdwatch. The RSPB will collate all of the results and tell us which species are in decline and which are doing well and they will use that information to focus their conservation efforts on the birds that need the most help.
Fizz has been having a few problems with the livestock today, I’ll tell you about that in a minute. The day starts with feeding the animals.
It’s probably best not to mention what Fizz had for breakfast, that might have been what started her off.
Even before Fizz gets fed and before it gets light, the early bird gets the worm.
The Robin tried to land on my arm last night but it was getting dark and I didn’t see her coming, so suddenly there was a lot of fluttering as she tried to perch on my arm and taken by surprise, I moved my head quickly and I think that I said, “Hello” and I scared her off. This morning we were friends again.
There have been a couple of notable birds on the feeder this week. Long-tailed Tits have been here for the last few days. They don’t visit very often so it is nice to see them.
They arrive in small flocks and feed together. I have counted eight of them on the peanut feeder at the same time and you can hardly see the feeder for feathers. A very beautiful little bird.
There was also a Woodpecker on the feeder today. I haven’t seen a woodpecker since the little ones fledged last summer so I am hoping that she will start visiting regularly again.
Goldfinches are back in their charms. They disappeared late in the summer when the thistle seed appeared but they will stay here now.
Then it was time to feed the Sheep. They have really taken to this idea of being fed and when they see me they come running, it doesn’t matter if I have got food or not, I might just be taking the Dog for a walk.
This is a rubbish, short video but you will get the picture.
I cut the video so short because the camera was shaking, I wasn’t scared, just common sense really.
They are eating pellets, well it says “Sheep Food” on the sack that I get them from.
They are all enjoying their food except for that white one at the front, that one is always focused on me. I think that this must be the Bull Sheep (if there is such a thing). It is the one that I observed in my last post and it is always in front and always the first to approach me.
As Fizz would say, “Remember this face.”
It says she is number 00127 on the green tag but I just call her “The Bull.”
So I went back and fed the birds some more and played with Fizz in the garden. Then I was cold so I went and got some breakfast and coffee.
Then it was time to walk the Dog.
Remember that I said it doesn’t matter if I have got food or not, they come running when they see me.
Oh! That army. Col! They’ve got an army.
You can stop that.
The Bull is interested in my Dog as well as me.
Well, I rescued Fizz from the Sheep and we had a nice walk and a game of ball, on the way to the woods to check the trail camera.
Now I would like to have some kind of reference to nature in my blog posts. There is not going to be a wildflower bit at the end of this post because I have been having major problems with my new operating system. It is fixed now but it took me all day yesterday and I am behind.
One little nature observation though…
Wild Arum, Arum maculatum is coming into leaf everywhere. We won’t see the spathe until April, it spends a long time as a leaf but it is still nice to see another little sign of spring.
Things are not going well up in the woods. The camera has been out for four nights and all we have seen are Foxes.
This is a very nice Fox but I have watched 150 videos of Foxes and I wouldn’t mind seeing something else.
That was just one video that I more or less picked at random. It has a nice atmospheric sound track.
As we walked back to the farm we could see them all waiting for us.
It was time to run the gauntlet once again.
There were familiar faces in the crowd.
I think that I better lock the door tonight when I go to bed 🙂
So this is what happened. My PC wanted to update itself to Windows 8.1 and I kept saying no and then it started getting nasty, saying that if I didn’t do it today I would have to do it tomorrow.
Anyway eventually I realised that this was a really big issue for the machine and it wasn’t going to give me any peace until I gave in.
My new operating system didn’t recognise my Wi-fi adaptor and so I was “not connected to the internet” for the best part of two days while I got a new one.
Saying that I don’t like Windows 8 is about as stupid as saying that I don’t like The Black Death, I know but I especially don’t like it because I have to try and help “old people” figure out their computers and it is so different (and stupid).
This post is going to be all about relationships. Whilst my relationship with my PC has been in the gutter I have been getting it on with some new friends.
Well okay, I have been seeing this Robin for about a month now, maybe a bit longer but things are warming up.
At first I would open the door and put some food out and the bird would flit around and wait for me to go back inside before taking my offering.
Then we started talking. I came up with the idea of calling the bird. I started making a little “tsk tsk tsk” sound with the tip of my tongue, trying to call the bird to me.
I was amazed when it settled close by and started making the same call back to me. “I have taught you to talk,” I thought. The bird was mimicking me? No, the bird made the sound first and I heard and mimicked the bird.
Normally it sings and if I don’t notice straight away it shouts.
So what has changed is that I have stopped opening the door and putting food out. First I call it, sometimes it calls me and once we are talking I put the food out and the bird comes for it.
This is really beginning to feel like a relationship and this little bird is giving me a lot of pleasure every day.
I want the bird to feed from my hand but I am not ready to go all the way yet. There is a lot of respect and building of trust in this relationship and even if we never get that far I am enjoying trying.
The reason that I give Robin updates is, if we do get it on, I don’t want people to think that there is something magic, like he is beloved of the Faeries or anything (I am) I want to show you how much time it took to build up this trust and that love works both ways, it is not easy.
The other lady that I have been getting it on with has a beautiful dusky face.
The one at the front, she has distinctive grey markings on her black face. I noticed her following me around today and I noticed her face, when I got home I looked at yesterday’s pictures and realised that she was the same one that was following me around yesterday.
Don’t underestimate the power of love and don’t underestimate stalkers either.
She is actually a very attractive Sheep and I am so tall and handsome????
It might just be cupboard love, I have to feed them hay and pellets every day, she might just be the smart one.
You have been living alone for a while now Col?
Shut up! She has got nice legs.
This is the Sheep safe in the small paddock behind the farmhouse.
Fizz has been lost in space.
Since the Snowdrops arrived Winter has been on the run. The weather has been beautiful.
Fizz and I have been hunting but we don’t have results to show you yet. We have set the camera in the woods.
It is a dangerous enterprise for all concerned but we are sneaky.
There are three female Boar here. The first births are already being reported in the forest. This is dangerous for the animals if I give away their location. It is dangerous for Fizz if I make a mistake and it is dangerous for me because my camera might get stolen.
I will back off when I make that decision, right now I would like to see them. I am good and I know a lot about animals and people. Sneak, sneak.
Well I have done a lot of photographing of my Snowdrops and I haven’t really got what I want yet but I am trying.