Tag Archives: Great Tits

A Dozen Parcels, an Auction and a Hectic Day (and a Very Bad Magpie)

I was late getting to work this morning because I had a busy start – taking Julia to breakfast, helping her buy cement, fighting my way through several sets of road works and, finally, dropping her off at the garden.

That left me with twenty minutes to get to work, which was only just enough. Technically,I wasn’t late, as I was still there a few minutes before I was due to start. In practice, it felt late as I like to get settled and have an unhurried start to the day.

There were two big sales on at Spinks in London this morning and the boss was bidding on line. (I won’t add a link to Spinks as I’m currently arguing with them – I bought two lots off them a months ago – they lost one lot and the other was nothing like the description. They are not, currently, my favourite auctioneer.)

The problem was that my computer, though old and clunky, is probably the best in the shop, and is the only one with sound.

That meant I started late, answered some stupid questions from customers, and then had to swap computers when the auction started. It’s surprising how much a strange workstation slows you down.

I don’t mind questions when they have a point, but some are just a waste of time and energy.

Eventually the auction finished. It seems to have been quite successful, though everything seemed a little more expensive than he would have liked.

I had a similar experience when I looked in on an auction in the afternoon. I’d decided to save my money by not bidding, but two the three lots I would have bid on went for more than I wanted to pay so I’d have left empty-handed anyway. I’ve spent enough recently so it’s good to save.

Fortunately we managed to make a few sales in the shop too – it’s nice to get a bit back after all the buying we’ve been doing.

Julia rang me in the afternoon. She’d been working in the garden when she noticed some commotion by the polytunnel. There are two nestboxes with Great Tit families in them and the one by the polytunnel was under attack from a magpie, which had its head stuck in the hole.

Great Tit at Wilford

Great Tit at Wilford

She chased it away and we’re hoping it won’t be back.

I know it’s nature, but there are plenty of other things to eat.

 

 

The Post I Meant to Write…

Just before I opened my email from the Royal Agricultural Society, this is the post I meant to write. The last post was merely a Jacobin rant, this one is about nature. It’s better for me than politics.

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A model of me in the garden

There’s not much to say as it’s late and the pictures can do the talking.

The pop-bottle poppies are still looking good after two years – Julia was going to take them down last year but everyone asked for them to stay up.

This is the “hedge” between the Mencap plot and the school plot. It’s willow clippings with ivy planted to grow through it.

And finally – some birds. There would have been more but a sparrowhawk swooped by and scared them all away.

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Great tits on feeder – Nottingham

Some Guest Photos

Julia managed some decent shots in the Mencap garden this week – I particularly like the one in the featured image, a parent Great Tit shoving food into a permanently open mouth. As a parent I find that image strikes a chord.

She took some video of Blue Tit parents flying in and out of a box, but it won’t load. However she did get a shot of the other Great Tits in the garden. Three broods, all doing well.

The other Great Tit nest

The other Great Tit nest

 

The Birds

The header photo shows the origin of the mysterious tears that keep appearing in the polytunnels. The plastic is several years past the point that it should have been replaced and a crow striding across the top of the tunnel is a step too far. One day soon I’m expecting to see one fall through completely.

Julia has already used two rolls of mending tape and several large pieces of scrap polythene getting the tunnels ready for winter and despite this the wind ripped a large section last month. It’s patched now but she’s currently raising the money to replace at least one of the covers next year.

Based on the cost last time we bought covers on the farm we are hoping to spend no more than £600 doing the job. This should enable us to get a good six years of fund-raising in before we need to replace them again. Manufacturers tend to recommend three years, as the sheet gradually lets less and less light through, but economy is more important than the ultimate growing performance.

It doesn’t seem a lot of money, but when you are raising it by selling bird boxes at £5 each it takes some doing.

The Black-headed Gulls were out in force too, and the squabbling between gulls and crows is ine of the more raucous sounds around.

While I was taking photographs of the flowers and plastic poppies the squeaks of Long-tailed Tits filled the garden as they descended to pick insects from the willows.

And coy bumbarrels, twenty in a drove,
Flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain
And hang on little twigs and start again. 

John Clare – Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter

Clare hit it on the head there, as there were about twenty of them, and they were hanging on little twigs. They were also a bit coy when it came to posing for the camera and, as usual, I got more photos of empty branches than I did of birds.

There’s something a little eerie about a poet managing to do that from a distance of 200 years.

The Great Tits on the feeders were slightly easier to get, but the Cormorants, which flew by several times, proved impossible to photograph. Finally, alerted by the distinctive flight, I was able to get a distant shot of a Greater Spotted Woodpecker. It’s a common bird, but always nice to see, even at a distance.

Sorry about the quality of the photography, but it was a grey and windy day and I’ve become a little rusty over the summer.

Canad+a Geese in flight - River Trent at Wilford

Canada Geese in flight – River Trent at Wilford

The final shot shows three Canada Geese in flight. I took it a couple of weeks ago and didn’t have a chance to use it. I thought I’d include it here to show I can photograph birds in flight, though the day was a little brighter, and they did fly right over the top of me.