Posts Tagged "blue tit"

Making a bee-lion for the park, patch walk 16th August

Alongside the park sits a Victorian building, brimming with the confidence of the age it was made in. A civic building, adorned with cast iron statues that declare self belief.

The bees don’t care about Victorian self belief. They care that the mouth of this lion offers an ideal location for a hive and something in me wants to wildly applaud them for this choice, for making a monument to human folly into something much more real and important. These honeybees are busy indeed as they cover the nearby flowers that remain, unnoticed by almost all. How glorious.

Its glorious getting back into the park too, on a rare quiet morning. The summer club has claimed the park most days so far and really that’s as it should be. Public parks should be used for public uses, lest cash-strapped councils start viewing them as “land resources”. Its undeniable, however, that 50+ excited children playing games don’t always make for the best nature viewing conditions and so I’ve left them to enjoy their summer and spent time elsewhere, knowing that come September that I’ll be back.

Yet on this day they weren’t there.

Waiting to cross into the park and a little drama is unfolding overhead as a pair of speckled wood butterflies do battle. Swirling, tumbling, parting and coming back together until one flees to the safety of the ivy.

Victor or loser? I don’t know, but I feel like I win every time I get to see one of these interactions, staring open mouthed at the side of the road as busy people go thundering past.

Woodpigeons are wandering, magpies are chattering. From hidden perches robins are singing again. There is change in the air.

No squirrels appear at the black spruce tree, they’re all at the other end of the park today, it seems.

One cheeky fellow responds instantly to the shake of the bag of nuts and quickly jumps on to the nuts I throw down, unconcerned that I’m right there. Eats a couple, then its off to bury more.

Sloes are ripening, rowans are heavy with berries. Blue tits and robins call from the overgrown and wild area. By the old bowling green the jackdaws are stamping around, all confidence and power.

Its a curious thing, confidence, I can’t help but reflect as I start to head home. Those who placed statues of lions had it and this jackdaw seems to have it in equal measure. There’s likely a lesson in there somewhere, but I’m far too happy to have been back on the patch today to work out what it is.

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Robin-by-the-hedge, patch walk 21st July

Its afternoon, but still not warm yet. The clouds and a steady breeze are seeing to that as it cuts through the muggy feeling. Busier and noisier on a Saturday afternoon though, people and traffic together making a volume that the fauna of high summer cannot penetrate. The clouds and the breeze are enough together to wipe the butterflies from the air also, so it makes for a fairly quiet start to the walk until I reach the park.

Its certainly not busy in the park though there are more signs of life here as a robin scolds me with “Tic, tac, toe!” before arrowing into the cover of a formal hedge. Other hidden birds are still leaving plenty of evidence that they’re around, in the shape of their moulted feathers. Interesting things to collect.

There’s signs of life over in the nettle patch too, on closer investigation. Plenty of part-munched leaves, though I can’t see anyone doing the munching right now. Given the number of blue tits resident in the park that’s probably not much of a surprise.

Round at the hedge another “Tic, tac, toe!” call tells me that I’ve been remembered and spotted. Its robin-by-the-hedge of course. His parental duties done for the year, he’s flying solo once more.

He’s a canny fellow, this robin, he won’t come down until I’ve thrown at least 2 handfuls of nibbles. He wants paying if he’s going to perform and perform he does, running through his repertoire of christmas card model poses.

The scots pines dotted through the park are witness to just how dry its been. Last year they were dropping damp and fully closed cones. This year there are dry and opened cones on the ground. The squirrels are doubtless happy about that, as the well-nibbled cones alongside the newest cones on the ground shows. So much of watching wildlife at this time of year seems to be about just finding the evidence that they’ve been there.

One squirrel is definitely happy round at the black spruce tree. Its the polite squirrel, the oh-so-careful and deliberate squirrel who very slowly makes his way over to where I’m waiting, pausing regularly and looking over at me as if to say “I’m terribly sorry to bother you, but do you perhaps have a nut for me?” He runs through this pause pantomime a few times before he’s finally at my feet, where he awaits another invitation to come up into the tree and collect a nut.

Then he’s off at the same pace to bury it before repeating the process. Its so funny and charming to watch and I’m glad he’s getting his chance to shine without his 2 much more forceful friends being around. It turns out not to be much of a chance in the end though, as a large dog comes loping into the scene, intent on squirrel hunting. Sounds like a good time to go home.

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More garden moments

Early morning, too early by most accounts, but at least the morning is cool as the strengthening sun stirs a breeze in those hours. Propped up against the back door, watching the garden and the bird feeders, still incredulous that somehow this is a British summer.

Tic Tac the juvenile robin doesn’t seem too happy about it too, perched upon the fence. Later he’s down on the ground, surveying the pots and looking more and more robin-y every day.

The garden looks tired, parched. Weeks without any rain now. Top up the bird bath each day, they’ll not be parched at least. The juvenile blue tits are grateful for that, visiting in the cool of the evening.

Even the sparrows seem to want to wait for the shade before they move on to the feeders. All squabbles and scraps and chatter and so very, very welcome in my garden.

Only the starling seems to be enjoying the sun to the full, for in the sun it glows, it shines, it shimmers and waves as the sunlight shows the meaning of iridescence, of what “oily plumage” really looks like. I can’t blame them for posing in the sun when the sun makes them look like this.

Shine on, starling, shine on.

 

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Back door moments

The heatwave continues. It feels like moving through treacle to be out in the heat of the day.

The birds are still moving quickly around the garden, as I stand at the back door, watching them.

Juvenile blue tits like the feeder alongside “their” willow tree during the day.

In the evening they visit the main feeder pole closer to the house instead.

That feeder pole is ruled by the starlings, whenever they land during the day.

There’s a definite hierarchy between them also, the young ones are put in their place.

And then there are the sparrows, ever present, ever welcome. They’re bringing their fledglings and showing them where the food is.

And they’re just spending time in the bushes. Sheltering from the heat as much as I am, or at least I’m finding that very easy to imagine right now.

I’m so grateful that I only have to look out of the window to see the wild, but I’m especially grateful for it on these hot and treacle-filled days.

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Sunday moments

The juvenile robin is growing bolder by the day. He pops out from the cover of the bush at the front of the house to perch on the wall, already practicing his Christmas card poses. Tail is up, wings are flared. “Tik! Tak!” he challenges to no one in particular, attempting to claim this land as his own, like a child declaring that they are the king of the castle. I doubt the parent bird would agree, but this youngster is becoming a little more robin each time I see them.

On the fence a dunnock seems unconcerned with all this. They’ve got feathers to maintain, a much more important task than dealing with the bravado of youth. Bending every which way, the preening session is long before the bird is finally satisfied.

The juvenile blue tits are still resident in the back garden and seem to have claimed this feeder pole for their own. They don’t have to fly to the main pole, just walk down the white willow branches and hop down on top of the suet feeder. Stay all you want, little blue tit. The years I went without blue tits in the garden after a neighbour grubbed up their garden and the favourite habitat of the blue tit population in the area were long indeed. You’re safe here.

This one particular pigeon seems to have developed a thing for lying down. Whenever I see them they’re either lying down or spend a good 20 minutes of slow, deliberate wandering around before finally settling down. Its a curious thing. I swear I can almost hear a sigh of relaxation as it finally decides its happy and lies down. Why fly when you can perch, why perch when you can lie.

Looking for signs of that suspected blackbird nest in the copse I find something else altogether. I’ve heard wren singing in the copse for weeks, but never seen the songster. Today I did and not just one wren, but two, both emerging from another bush that hugs the edges by the road. Is this another nest I’ve missed? Clearly I’ve been missing out on a lot by intentionally staying away from the road side, intentionally taking the opportunity to enjoy a little escape from the urban noise. The birds are a lot brighter than me about such things. They know a good spot that no one will disturb when they see one. Lesson learned, little wren. Its a pleasure to finally meet you.

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