Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Absolutely Charming

As Marcus suggested I'm taking it nice and kneesy.

When I was sitting watching the movement in the trees today, hoping for something a little out of the ordinary, my attention was drawn to this Blackbird. Blackbirds probably top the charts when it comes to alarming, and this one was really very agitated. It quietened down after a while but reminded me of an incident on Saturday when a similar commotion had me rushing down the garden as fast as my crutches would carry me. When I banged on the tree house with one a large female Sparrowhawk few out of our compost area. I don't know if she had prey and left it behind, as there was no way I could get there to see.

Soon after the Blackbird had calmed one of the two Carrion Crows that hang around the garden (I don't know where they're nesting) came and sat on top. It does spend a lot of time feeding on the grass, but would come down with me there. Considering that they are big birds that will eat big food items it's quite funny watching then picking up bits of seeds that have dropped from the feeders. From this angle it looks a bit strange, very short tail and a hooked beak.

When you leave the country, from a London airport, for southern destinations , you often fly over the English coast near Dover. At about 40,000 feet you can pick out some of the more notable features, but I've failed to spot the garden so far.

A sudden flask of yellow heralded the arrival of a small group of Goldfinches. I love their jingling song and bold personalities, they fully live up to their group name a "charm" of Goldfinches.

The long conical beak of the Goldfinch is ideal for picking out thistle seeds. The males is slightly longer enabling then to make more use of teasels as the tweezer like bill can pick the seed out without first having to bend the spines back whereas the females find this necessary.

The Lawn if that's a suitable name for our patch of grass, hasn't been cut for a couple of weeks. I need to teach Pam how to start the lawn mower, these petrol engines are a bit tricky!

The long grass does seem quite attractive to butterflies and this Speckled Wood spent along time flying round me, in what seems to me to be an out of character habitat. Up to four Holly Blues, and Orange Tip, Large and Small Whites were also dancing around.

Birds. Around lunch time there was a small, but noticeable, movement of Swifts and Swallows. There are a few local Swallows that fly through regularly, but these were higher and more constant in their directions. Yesterday I noticed a female Siskin on a peanut feeder, one of the latest dates I can remember.

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