Wednesday, 30 March 2011

If you are sick to death of my Doves look away now!

I brought Pinky home yesterday.  It was bittersweet because Perky is still too poorly so stayed in his brooder at The Haven.  The poor little fella really has lost weight and does not look at all well.  If he recovers it might be that he will always be a weak sickly bird and have to stay at The Haven.  He needs the remains of the last feed syringed out of his crop before every feed and really isn't absorbing his food well at all.  I know he is in the best place, if he can be fixed anywhere he will be fixed there but it did seem sad bringing Pinky home alone.

Anyway, on a brighter note Pinky is home.  She has a cage which I have put here in my study because I spend a lot of time in here and seems very at home tramping all over my desk.  She has already pooped over just about everything including me (several times)  in fact the first time she even went on my desk she managed to poop on the keyboard AND spill her seed all over it.  Mr Houseproud Hairy Hubby is blissfully ignorant of this so far and long may it continue.  As I am typing Pinky has discovered the moving cursor and is pecking at it!  She pecks at everything.  And poops on everything, I have never known anything to produce so much of the stuff.  Honestly, four times in half an hour!

Action Dog is far too interested in Pinky and I am having to hold her while she sniffs at her incase she gets too rough.  She spent most of last night standing on two legs trying to get a better look into the cage.  I am trying to be very careful to fuss both of them so Action Dog does not get her nose put out of joint.  Mind you it has been pecked a couple of times!  Feeding Pinky is a doddle although I have realised I am going to have to show The Hairy One how to do it when I am at The Haven on a Tuesday.  He will have to give her her lunch.  That's another thing he is so far blissfully unaware of! 

The older doves Mr and Mrs Lovey-Dovey are hanging round the garden much more these past few days.  They spend a lot of time on the bird table scaring off the blackbirds and also on the roof pooping all over the path.  I am hoping that maybe the change of behaviour spending more time close to the Dovecote means they will nest soon.

I have a poor little injured Pheasant visiting first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  She has a nasty limp, it looks really painful and reminds me of Hoppy last year.  I have named her Peggy.  I make sure I don't go outside and disturb her when she is feeding because it takes her so much effort just to get accross the lawn to the feeders it would be horrible if she didn't get her breakfast.  I know I wouldn't stand a chance of catching her, those birds move like lightening even with a limp!  I really hope that her foot will get better on it's own like Hoppy's did last year.  From what I remember his seemed even worse so I feel there is hope.

Monday, 28 March 2011

A well travelled bird!

Things have been quiet lately, hence the lack of blog entries.  There have been minor sightings, my first garden Great Spotted Woodpecker for instance but nothing really to write home about.

The only news I have today is that Perky is poorly.  He hasn't been absorbing his food properly and was put on special medication over the weekend.  I haven't seen him since last week but will see him tomorrow. I am told he has lost weight and has had to have his crop syringed out, something which I cringe at the thought of.  So all in all our little lad is not too well.  He has, however, had an adventure this weekend.  The people who run The Haven had a family emergency and had to go to Somerset overnight on Saturday.  It must have been very hard for them to make arrangements for all the birds in their care to be looked after but it shows the level of their dedication to helping birds that they took Perky with them!  As he was so poorly they didn't want to leave him with someone inexperienced so they plugged his brooder into the car and took him to Somerset!  Apparently he was an Angel!  Pinky is in a cage now with Ready and Steady, she is fine and doing well, as are the two racers.

I am so blessed to have good friends at The Haven to look after my babies. They have done everything possible for Perky and I suspect a bit more.  I will be eternally grateful to them.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Oh to bee up a tree

I had a little wander around Hickling NWT today.  There wasn't much about but it was nice to see the sun and some signs of spring.  As I walked past some trees near the car park I thought I heard a swarm of bees.  The noise was really loud, you couldn't miss it.  I looked up and realised it was no swarm, just a tree covered in happy bees who were contentedly collecting pollen from the buds.  It really was quite a racket!

Pass me a tissue, I'm gonna sneeeeze with all this pollen up my nose!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

On a beautiful Spring day

What a gorgeous spring day it was today, I was so happy to throw open all the windows and get some washing on the line.  As they say simple things please simple minds!  I was also really happy to spot my first Jay of the year in the garden today.  I love Jay's, they are such bright birds both in plumage and in character.  Last summer I used to put food on the lawn and watch the Jays come in and take it.  They would only take one piece at a time, then fly back to the trees and keep repeating it back and forwards till all the food was gone.  I also saw a Stoat running across at the back which I wasn't so happy about because I think they might go after my chickens when I get them.  Funny how keeping birds makes you look at other creatures in a different way.  Squirrels and Pheasants were very welcome in the garden at first, now I just see them as dinner thieves!

I walked down to the Broad to take some pictures today and was gobsmacked to see how many people had gone down to feed the ducks and then left the empty bread bag there.  Some people are so stupid, don't they realise that the bread bag they leave behind could kill the very same creatures they took the bread for?  I suppose it would help if the council would provide a bin but to be honest how hard is it to stuff an empty bread bag in your pocket and take it home?  I came home with several in my back pocket today.  The old granny's who were sitting on the bench looked at me like I was nuts picking up other peoples rubbish but there was no way I was leaving it there.  Personally I think they were nuts to just sit there and leave all that plastic lying about. If I'd had a bin liner with me I could have picked up tons more rubbish.  Maybe I will go back tomorrow and take one with me.  That should get me some funny looks!  Perhaps I should put on a high vis vest to make myself look official, it's common knowledge that you become invisible when wearing a high vis vest or jacket!

"Got any bread?"

I had a walk around Winterton again today.  It was fruitless again but the sea was wonderful to see.  It was as calm as a millpond, barely a wave in sight.  The sky was azure blue fading into a misty pink on the horizon.  I don't know what caused that but it was quite lovely.  Out at sea every bird was highly visible.  There weren't many of them but they really stood out against the flat sea.  You could almost see the ripples coming away from them.  I looked for Porpoise but all I could find were a couple of seals.

Barely a ripple

Other highlights of the day included :

A Chinese Water Deer in the Blackcurrant field, the first I have seen out there.
Heard my first Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming of the year.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Milestone day!

It was a date for the Baby album today.  Pinky and Perky, together with their roomies Ready and Steady had their first solid food!  At first they were too hungry to even look at it but once they had gulped down a couple of syringes of baby gunk they began to peck little seeds from our hands then eventually from the towel they were standing on.  It was so good to be able to watch a milestone in their little lives.  

They pecked away for a good ten minutes.  In the end Perky was so full he put himself back to bed in the brooder!  He sat there with a look on his face like he had just eaten a big Sunday roast and was totally stuffed!  It took about another five minutes before the other three decided they had eaten enough.  There were four very full bundles of feathers in that brooder this afternoon!

They have come on so much again in just a week.  They are almost totally feathered with just a few bald spots and really look like little Doves now.  Pinky (it's always her) even stands properly on her feet like a grown up rather than crouching down like babies do.  They are starting to use their wings a bit now too and Pinky (told you) even did a little flap up to get where she wanted to be.

I'm told I might be able to bring them home next week!

Monday, 21 March 2011

The Totem Pole, Winterton

I went for a stroll around Winterton Dunes today, hoping to find some early migrants, maybe perhaps a Wheatear.  Sadly there was absolutely naff all there apart from a few Skylarks who were singing their lungs out but nowhere to be seen!  There were barely even any dog walkers which for Winterton is a miracle.  At least it enabled me to blow the dust off my scope and get some exercise.  Mind you there was no point in taking my scope because I didn't even need to set it up.  It just acted as a bit of weight training to build up my post-winter fitness levels.  

I did however use my camera.  Not a stunningly beautiful photo but something I find interesting all the same. 

In birding circles this is known as 'The Totem Pole'.  It is used as a point of reference when reporting bird sightings.  For example 'West of the Totem Pole'.  It just gives people a bit of idea where to start looking.  I was lucky enough to be told about this by a local birder when I first moved here or I would have found it very confusing!

The guy who told me about 'The Totem Pole' also told me a bit about it's history.  He said that during WW2 it was used as a listening post.  Basically some poor sod had to climb to the top of it and listen out for enemy aircraft approaching the coast.  I imagine the post may have been taller then, it looks like it has been cut down at an angle at the top, I don't know this for sure however, it's just my personal thought.  Can you imagine climbing to the top of a wooden post in the middle of the night to listen for the enemy, with the wind whistling round your ears?  Not an appealing thought at all!  There were some very brave people about in those days.

I have tried to research on the Internet to find out more about this 'listening post' but have drawn a blank.  There seems to be no information out there at all which is a shame.  There is other information about defenses in the area like pillboxes and tank defenses but nothing about this.  I would love to hear from anyone who can tell me more.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Going Batty

I took Action Dog for a walk out the back today.  I can hardly call it 'The Wood' anymore because we can't actually go into the wood, just skirt around it which is pretty duff mostly and really does not hold the same appeal.  Nevertheless I took her for her constitutional this afternoon.  I don't think she minds where she goes so long as she goes somewhere so it's only me that needs variety.

While we were out I spotted something small flying in an odd way.  It was flapping far too fast for any bird that size that I could think of.  When I got my bins on it I was amazed to see it was a bat!  Flying at quarter past one in the afternoon!  I could hardly believe what I was seeing.  I am used to seeing bats flying at dusk and once I realised what I was looking at the flight pattern was obvious, just unexpected.  It was obviously feeding, flying this way and that in a dashing manner.  I was fascinated to see one so well, usually its flashes of something dark in the gloom but this little fella was in broad daylight at 8.5x  in my bins.  I wasn't able to see any features on it but could see the shape of the wings well against the pale sky which you can never usually do at dusk.

It was a lovely encounter, I watched for about 15 minutes before moving off because although Action Dog had sat at my feet patiently all that time it was her walk after all so I thought we had better get moving.  I had a peep on the way back to see if it was still there but it had moved off by then to be replaced by a year-tick Little Egret.  Not a bad little afternoon's wander all in all!

This was the spot!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Pinky and Perky, the latest clip!

A short clip courtesy of Jenny again.  They are getting so big, check out how long those wings are!  I can't wait to see them again on Tuesday.  They are seen with their new room mates Ready and Steady who are baby racing pigeons who are also being raised at Wing and a Prayer.  I'm so proud of my little puffballs!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Introducing Charlie the Chook

Meet Charlie.  Charlie appeared down at the Broad a few weeks ago.  No one knows how he got there although a lady told me he had originally been with some other Chickens, from the sound of it there were three hens and another cockerel.  It can only be assumed they had been dumped there by someone who couldn't be bothered to look after them any more.  The lady I spoke to said that the others had disappeared one by one.  Whether they were eaten by foxes of taken home by kind souls we will never know.  All I know is that poor old Charlie remains there all alone.  Well not actually all alone because there are loads of waterfowl there to keep him company and there people are always down there feeding the ducks so Charlie won't be going hungry in a hurry.  He comes right up to me if I am down there without Action Dog.  None of the birds like her, they all run away if she gets too close. 

I'm sure if I knew what I was doing I could grab him and bring him home to live safely in the garden.  The question is would he stay or would he run off down the road to get back to his duck and geese friends, risking getting splatted by the traffic on the way?  I can't bring him home till I get the Hen House finished anyway.  Also I want my hens to lay eggs and not go broody which they may do if they have a man about the house.   Not sure I fancy him waking me up at dawn hollering his lungs out either.  Oh decisions decisions!

What a fine boy he is!

The Doves have refused point blank to use their box feeder again today, preferring to use the Bird Table instead, which is fine but leaves them open to Sparrowhawk attacks.  The idea of a box feeder is that they are protected on three sides while they are feeding.  Also they like to sit and contemplate the world from the bird table which keeps the other birds from using it which is not either.

I sneaked another one in....

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Rampaging Pheasants

I knew my Niger Seed feeder was going to be a waste of money when I bought it.  I really should have listened to myself but I never usually do so I thought why start now.  This is the third one I have bought but the first for this garden, I had hoped that as this garden actually has birds in it something might be attracted by some lovely expensive Niger Seed.  It was someones Twitter entry that started it, saying all about the Redpolls on the feeders.  I don't have Redpolls but I did have a Goldfinch a couple of weeks ago and have the occasional Goldcrest in the woods over the fence.  So stupid me thought 'Oh it's only 99p in Lathams let's give it a go'  Of course then I had to buy seed, which isn't cheap.  Why don't they do trial size bags of the stuff so that when you find out nothing wants to eat it you have only wasted 50p not about three quid.  Maybe the birds don't like the fact that the feeder is purple, I have to admit that even though it's a lovely shade I am not too keen on it myself but at 99p who was I to argue?  Actually I never understand how the birds are meant to hang on to Niger feeders, they don't have perches, just tiny slits for the seed to come out.  Not much for the birds to aim at really.  Maybe that's why they never eat from them!

Looking out of my window there are currently six Pheasants rampaging round the garden.  Pillaging and plundering anything they can find to eat.  Looks like the poor Doves will have no breakfast again once this mob have cleaned up and moved off.  Mind you it's their own silly fault, they have lots of lovely Pigeon Conditioner seed out for them in their new recycling box Dove feeder (Hairy Hubby's new patent design) but they choose to ignore it.  I have been down there rattling the seed bowl and let them see me put food in there.  I have even put some tasty morsels of bread and fat ball around the seed dish to tempt them.  I have to add that the seed dish is BRIGHT RED and hard for them to miss.  I can only assume that they are ignoring out out of pure bloody mindedness.  Honestly though, those Pheasants are like garden hoovers, they walk around sucking up anything and everything.  I have lost count of how many times I have thrown the window open today and hurled abuse at them, clapping my hands to shoo them off the Doves food.  I wouldn't mind but I put seed out specially for them to keep them away from the Doves'.  I bet they would eat the Niger Seed if they could get to it!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

One Year Today!

I don't have much to say (do I hear a voice say 'you never do'?) but I felt the need to make an entry today to mark the first anniversary of my moving to this house.  I believe that exactly a year ago today I was eating burnt pizza and drinking my way to a very bad hangover on housewarming Red Wine.  It was a crazy day where I did nothing but clean at both ends, a day I wouldn't want to repeat but it was worth it.

News in Brief

  • Woke up to the dopey Doves sitting on the bird table rather than use their new feeding box.
  • Disturbed two Muntjac feeding next to the garden, the first time in ages there have been more than one.
  • We officially have another problem squirrel, much screaming out of the window anticipated.
  • It's cold.  I want Spring back please.  Now, right now!

Packing boxes, a sight I don't want to see again!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A few snippets

A few snippets of news today.  I saw a Waxwing on my way to The Haven today.  I was driving along in a little world of my own and happened to look up at a telegraph wire and thought 'Blimey, you can't mistake that silhouette'  So that made me happy, a good start to the day despite it being murky and foggy.  It was pretty naff all day really, even when I was driving home it was still misty. 

I got to play with my babies again today.  They are starting to look like birds now instead of little dinosaurs.  Pinky in particular has lots of feathers, especially on her wings and breast.  There is still a lot of pink skin showing but she really looks like a little white dove now.  While I was there they had colour rings fitted so that when they are all grown up we know who is who.  Pinky has a red one and Perky has a green one.  They didn't seem bothered by having them.  In fact Pinky was more interested in preening her new feathers.  I was also able to feed them again, which I do love doing.  They are so greedy, even when they are full they still shout for more and peck at your hands.

The big doves now have a new temporary feeding box.  It's a recycling box on it's side nailed to a stake, a proper Hairy Hubby special!  Hopefully they will get the hang of using it but at the moment they are paying it no attention at all.  It will keep those greedy guts Pheasants off the food and also keep the Sprawk off the Doves and the rain off the food.  I wonder how long before that dratted Butterfly Squirrel finds it!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Let Migration Begin!

I spotted my first Chiffchaff of the year in the garden today.  I almost said 'had' but after confusing someone recently by using the 'correct birding term' I thought I had better stick to plain English in case they thought I had eaten it, or worse!  It was hopping about merrily in my big Sycamore tree, I thought I was seeing things at first so grabbed my bins (which live on the kitchen window ledge and now smell of sausage sarnies courtesy of HH) to confirm the sighting.  I knew if I tried to run outside and listen for it singing it would have it away on it's toes (or wings) so I wasn't able to hear it which was a shame. 

Flushed with early migrant success I decided to go mad, blitz the diesel and go to Winterton on a migrant hunt.  Naturally there was naff all there but it was nice to hear some Dunnocks singing and spot a few Gannets out at sea.  It was also nice to wander around with my scope and feel like a proper birder again.  This fuel saving lark is starting to affect my sanity.  Hopefully my new car will be ready soon with her supadupa fuel saving engine.  Or so I am told.  She looks very pretty though so if nothing else I will have a decent looking car again instead of driving about in a grubby white skip like I have done for the past year since my car was stolen.

The Sparrowhawk visited us again today.  I was watching the Doves out of the window when they suddenly flew off in a mad panic along with everything else in the garden.  The Sprawk came down just outside the garden behind a blackberry bush, I don't know if it caught anything but there were no feathers.  The main thing is that it seems my birds have become a bit more Sstreetwise.  Or Sprawkwise if you like.  Later in the day they had only just flown in for lunch when they flew off in panic again.  I couldn't see what had put them up but obviously something spooked them.  I am currently waiting for The Hairy One to make a Sprawk proof bird table (basically a box on a stick) but he has been so engrossed in Chicken coop making that he has had no time.  Today he had a rest from the coop and worked on my new car trying to find somewhere to fit some electric power steering.  Personally I'd have rather delayed the car for a day and got my Doves sorted but it's not wise to push your luck with these matters.  They really do need some where else for their food though because Sprawks apart the blasted Pheasants have found how to jump up onto the box we put their food on and are stripping it bare as if they were half starved, which is what my Doves will be in the morning  when they come out to find there is no breakfast left.

Dinner thiefs!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Scandalous behaviour on the lawn!

A gorgeous day today, I couldn't resist a walk with Action Dog out in the wood.  She is now back in four wheel drive now her toe has almost healed.  Or her lack of toe.  Anyway she had her first walk out there for a while and thoroughly enjoyed herself plus no more bunny-hopping on three legs.  What a difference losing a toe makes.  It was a horrible thing to have done but seeing the result I am glad its done and over.

I saw my first daisies on the lawn today.  I love daisies, they smile up at you out of the grass and are so cheerful.  My mother has a friend (a mad one) who won't cut her grass because she can't bear to cut the heads off the daisies!  I'm not that bad, actually I am sure they duck when you drive the mower over them because they always seem to be back the next day.  I suppose it won't be long before Hairy Hubby has to suffer the traumas of his tractor lawnmower again.  I think the novelty wore off a bit last summer, I know his big soppy grin certainly did!  I was also pleased to spot some Crocus bulbs which had survived the rampaging Pheasants.  They have eaten just about everything else.  They munched my tulips right down to the ground.  They don't seem to like the leaves of they Crocus just the flowers.  I did also have some Bluebells which I planted last Autumn.  They were specially bought for me by my mother and sent in the post, carefully packaged.  Hairy Hubby planted the Dovecote on top of them.  It says it all really!

Happy smiley Daisies!

A few Crocus bulbs which survived the rampaging Pheasants

I had intended to attempt to write a Dove free entry but as there is hot news from Dovecote Towers I feel it my duty to report it, as scandalous as it is.  Today, on my lawn there was a scandalous show of exhibitionism!  Mr and Mrs Lovey-Dovey not only shared a bath together but were later seen to be 'doing the do' in full view of anyone who cared to look!  I have to say I was shocked by such behaviour.  Have they no modesty?  Morals aside it is good news because it means there may be the patter of tiny claws before too long.  Or should I say the squeek of tiny beaks because those dovey babies do make a racket!  It will mean that Pinky and Perky have some cousins to play with when they come home.

Another Dove pic?  How did that get there?

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

A Dovely Day!

What a lovely day I had today.  The sun was shining although I didn't see much of it.  I was inside the hospital at Wing and a Prayer which is one of my most favourite places to be.  It's always great to be surrounded by so many wonderful birds (and three hedgehogs) but today was a red letter day!  Today was the day I was able to feed one of my baby Doves for the first time!  Yes, sorry we are back to Doves again, never fear I am getting chickens soon so I will be boring the world about them in due course.

Anyway, back to my baby Doves.  They are doing really well, their lovely white feathers are coming through already, you can see the feather shaft with tufty bits coming out of it and in places there are largish flight feathers coming through.  It's really interesting, if you find that sort of thing interesting which I do, to see the actual layers of feathers, especially on the wings.  I have always tried hard to learn the names of different types of feather, Primaries, Secondaries etc but sitting gazing at my little ones I can really see the separate areas.  I also found it fascinating how there is a gap at skin level before the actual feather starts.  So you have the quill part and then the feathery bits.  I'm imagining this gives the bird insulation by trapping air close to the skin.  Mind you, what do I know the whole thing could look totally different before they are fully grown.  It's just that where the feathers are coming through you can see the base of each one.  Totally amazing.

So, as I was saying, I was able to feed one of them with a syringe.  They have a special mix made up of powder and water, it's the colour of biscuits and about the consistency of thick custard.  You hold the birds beak between your index and middle finger, with your fingers pointing down and palm towards you.  As you grasp their beak they open their mouth and you squirt a little amount of food in, then they swallow and scream blue murder for more.  Absolutely wonderful!  I fed Perky, the slightly smaller one because Pinky the bigger and just a little more developed one is a loony and jumps all over the place.  After they had been fed I was able to have both of them on my lap for a cuddle.  At one point I had the two White Doves on my lap, Woody the Collared Dove on my shoulder and Twizzle (who was called Wurzel but has now been found to be a girl) was sitting on my handbag in the kitchen.  How cool was that.  Who would have thought I would be doing that a year ago when I was so desperate to get out of London?

Taken on Sunday, they have even more feathers today (Tuesday)  Pinky on the left, Perky on the right
A little update on my older birds (you were wondering weren't you?) I still have two birds out there.  They seem very settled and often go for long fly abouts.  I'm also pleased that they are definitely a pair, they share the same nest hole, so that should encourage them to stay plus gives me the chance they will have babies.  My only worry now is that dratted Sparrowhawk.  I saw him land in my big Sycamore tree tonight and I never thought I would see the day but I opened the back door and scared him off.  I know he is only looking for dinner but I don't want my Doves being the main course!

So, did I mention I am getting chickens?  Hairy Hubby is getting on well building my chicken coop.  It is all out of scrap wood donated by Farmer Dan and son so is taking a bit longer than it would if we had just gone to B&Q but beggars can't be choosers as they say.  It's looking really good and also pretty large.  We think there is room for 12 chooks in there but I want to start with 4-6 ex-battery hens.  Yes, I am very excited!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Sundown Dreams

I love sundown in my garden. There is a certain point everyday where a beautiful stillness falls. After a sunny afternoon the light changes subtly to a rich golden colour making everything look soft and warm. The sun has gone from the garden but still shines through the trees, illuminating one side of their trunks, giving them a magical quality. I like to sit and watch from my window at this time of day.

One of my favourite things is to look through the trees to the Blackcurrant field which takes on the appearance of a painted backdrop, like on those old films where they had a painted background beyond the window. It has a hazy dreamlike quality, feeling almost surreal even though I know it is really there. At sundown the garden becomes shady and dark yet the sun is still shining beyond the trees, almost as if it’s another day over there beyond the trees, maybe today starting over; maybe tomorrow starting early or maybe even a glimpse into another world.

At this time of day the birds’ activities start to die down. Mostly the little birds stop visiting the feeders apart from the occasional hungry one popping in for a snack before roosting. The Pheasants can be still seen wandering about in the wood but even they seem to take on a much more relaxed manner. Almost as if they are out for an evening stroll, enjoying the last burst of sunlight.

As I look above the trees I see Woodpigeon flying overhead. The sun shines on them, illuminating them making their pink breasts glow and the white on their neck and wings shine brightly. They seem at their most graceful at this time of day, soaring above the wood, enjoying the last rays of the sun. Occasionally a flock Jackdaws will come over on their way to roost, they soar above the trees calling their ‘Jack, Jack’ call. To me the Jackdaw has a very atmospheric call; it is a sound of freedom and open spaces.

It becomes very quiet and peaceful out there. The only sounds being the occasional Pheasant calling or distant dog barking and the relentless song of the Song Thrush. He calls on and on, repeating his sweet song over and over, never seeming to tire. It is such a loud song from a small bird. To me his song is the sound of my late Grandmother’s garden; there always seemed to be a Song Thrush or two around in her garden or in the wood behind it.

Eventually the light fades, becoming pink and then finally giving way to darkness. The Song Thrush calls on until the light has totally gone. Night time begins and the Tawny Owl and the bats come out to play.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Woeful tales

I'm starting to feel sorry for anyone reading this.  Honestly I am even depressing myself by writing it.  Just as well I don't have hundreds of followers or there might be mass suicides across the country.  I am sure there will be some good news soon, after all Spring migration is coming so who knows what will appear in my garden.  But until then here is some more doom and gloom.

On Thursday I went out to only three dove.  You may remember that on Tuesday I had lost one to a Sparrowhawk.  The white feathers are still piled up by the fence, I just can't bring myself to pick them up.  Anyway I don't have a clue what happened to Thursdays missing bird.  Maybe he went off with the racers to join his friends, maybe the Sprawk got him in the woods I will never know.  This left me with the Little Mummy on her egg and a pair who I believe are the pair who had the baby who died.  See you are crying already aren't you?

On Friday I went out and found the little Mummy gone and her egg cold.  Are you calling The Samaritans yet?  I would  be.  Again I don't know what happened.  Maybe she decided her egg was no good and went off to look for her mate. 

So all I have left now are the mated pair.  Good enough to carry on with, many people start with just one pair and let the dovecote fill naturally.  If I can hang onto them that will be fine.  You can sense my pessimism can't you?  I had such great hopes of having a lovely flock of white doves in the garden but right now I feel like a mass murderer.  The pair seem happy and settled, I just hope the Sprawk leaves them alone.

Pinky and Perky the little babies are doing ok at The Haven although Perky still has wind in his crop and is not digesting his food properly.  He has been put on antibiotics so fingers crossed it will do the trick.

Anyone who has been affected by issues raised in this blog can talk to The Samaritans in confidence.  Call them on 08457 90 90 90. 

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Birdy frustrations

I got up this morning to find only four Doves and a pile of white feathers.  I love Sparrowhawks but not when they do things like this.  I know they have to kill to eat and it's just nature but I do wish they wouldn't do it in my garden and especially with my Doves!  Four seems a fragile number, not like a proper flock and I am worried about them now.  They didn't look phased by it at all though, there were three of them sitting on the ground waiting for breakfast when I got up this morning. 

Naturally there was no see left this morning because the dratted Pheasants had scoffed the lot last night.  Honestly they come along and hoover up every last grain, it looks like a load of mice milling about down there, especially now we have so many females visiting.  There were about ten last night.  Hairy Hubby reckons we should ask the gamekeeper for some of their seed to supplement what we are paying out for!  We have been told that she is collecting them all in to put in pens ready for breeding, maybe she would like to put one or the traps in our garden because most of the birds seem to be in there!

I saw Pinky and Perky today.  They have really grown and have pin feathers coming all over them.  I was able to hold them and they pecked my hands and face looking for food.  The smallest one had wind in his crop which isn't good.  It's not clear how it happened but it's unusual for such a young bird.  He is being fed Molasses today which apparently helps disperse it otherwise (this makes me cringe) they may have to put a pin in his crop and let the air out.  This is drastic for such a tiny one so I hope it does not come to that.  The main thing is that I know they are in the best place being looked after by someone who knows what they are doing.

On the way home I spotted what I am sure are my missing birds.  There are some racing pigeons not too far from here, I had not noticed them before but they have no doubt always been there.  I have seen several white doves flying with them for the past few days so I am pretty sure its my deserters.  The ungrateful lot, I fed and cared for them for six whole weeks and as soon as they got the chance they naffed off to live with someone else.  I wonder if the other owner is letting them in the pigeon shed at night or if they are content to sit on the roof.  They will be sorry when they find out I have just brought home some supadupa Pigeon conditioner seed with added aniseed.  A totally luxury seed for pampered birds.  Oh yes they will rue the day they ran away from home when they find out what their friends are having for breakfast!

It's getting dark now and I am looking down at my Dovecote with pride, knowing my four remaining doves are tucked up safely in their beds.  Meanwhile underneath the Pheasants are scoffing all the supadupa seed I had put down for their breakfast.  I can't win!