There are other birds apart from Puffins at Bempton – here are a few, though they aren’t quite as photogenic as Puffins.
And a few more.
Finally a few shadow selfies, because the Devil finds work for idle hands.
Oh, alright then. And a Puffin.
It’s bank Holiday Monday, and as there is nobody in today we are taking the opportunity to catch up.
Julia is planting the new vertical planters (also known as adapted pallets) and I am doing a few odd jobs, including fixing a broken bird feeder, answering emails and writing this.
I have the better of it, as the wind is playing havoc with the planting. The planned row of lettuces is looking particularly floppy after an hour of being battered by the wind. We will have to see how it goes.
Over the years I’ve accumulated a number of bird feeders of various designs, including a number of cheap ones that feature a plastic hanging loop. I suppose it’s obvious, when you think about it, that continued exposure to the elements would eventually cause the loop to deteriorate and break.
It’s a nuisance rather than a problem, but as luck would have it, I cannot find any wire or any binder twine in my drawers to make the repair. That is the trouble with being tidy.
Whilst writing this I’ve also been Googling “bird feeders”. I was immediately attracted to this site. I will include the link because it’s interesting, though I’m not sure how practical many of them are. The shoe feeder looks interesting, but I’m not sure that my neighbours “are sure to think that you are the most creative person ever”. They would probably think I’m an idiot who nails shoes to trees.
Meanwhile, the jackdaws have discovered the feeder with the suet pellets in it. Is there nothing that they can’t do?
It’s an example of how man interferes with nature. It isn’t such an obvious example as some, but it is a fact that before we brought the pigs to the allotment we didn’t have jackdaws round the centre. Though there were jackdaws about the village they didn’t interfere with our bird feeding and we were able to feed a variety of birds in feeders and on the floor. At the time we fed a lot of fat pellets, because we’d been given several buckets of them, and had no trouble with jackdaws.
Now, after drawing them to the area of the centre with pig food, they won’t leave the bird feeders alone. They are birds, but we don’t need so many large, disruptive birds at the feeder. it seems that anything with fat in it is like a magnet to the jackdaws and that as a result of trying to limit jackdaw activity we have fewer chaffinches, hardly any dunnocks and no wrens. There is very little for robins and blackbirds to eat either, as they like to feed off the floor.
It isn’t just the amount they eat, but that they scare other birds away. They even mobbed the woodpecker when it came for its second visit of the day, though it stood its ground and gave as good as it got.
I’m onto Plan D now, I think. All will be revealed after Open Farm Sunday. I am
Meanwhile, for a discussion on whether we should even be feeding birds, have a look at this.
The Jackdaw news is that having found the fat balls under the hedge they managed to empty the fat ball feeder (four balls) between 3.30 on Monday afternoon and our arrival at 9.00 this morning.
The new feeder has so far proved secure against Jackdaws. All four remain in the feeder, and are just a little pecked around the edges. Looks like small birds are eating them, so all is going according to plan.
At 10 pence a ball it’s not really a financial decision, it’s just that they do tend to frighten the smaller birds away. And, to be honest, I don’t like the idea of being outwitted by birds.
The home made loom (made by Men in Sheds following a photo of the wool workshop) seems to be successful, though it’s not quite as large as the ones we used for snood and it looks like it will end up as a scarf.
We’ve planted a few things, though the wind and temperature are, once again, against us. Today’s seeds include some tomato seeds from Heinz that ASDA sent in the shopping on Monday. We’d ordered so many vegetables for the pizza toppings that they obviously took pity on us so it’s thank you to Heinz and to ASDA.
Ah yes, the pizzas. I made dough for 40 pizzas. I put it in the fridge to chill overnight, having reduced the yeast content to ensure we didn’t have a repeat of 2014 on our hands. Don’t ask.
According to the note in the diary they had to clean the fridge out after the dough…
…I’m not quite sure what the last word is but I get the idea of a last scribbled message as a tide of dough engulfed the writer.
It’s taken five days and a lot of sneaking about, but I finally managed to get a picture. It’s a bit misty, but that’s what happens when you take photographs through a dirty window.
The flowers are starting to come out too, though spring in this area is advancing by halting steps.
The goosegrass is doing well and this year I’m going to try eating it. I’ve just tried a few bits raw and though the hooks do give it a strange texture it wasn’t too bad, with a bit of a pea taste. I’m going to check out some recipes and give it a go on Wednesday. Will also be picking the first of the nettles for soup and quiche. They say that real men don’t eat quiche, but I’m not sure if that still applies when you make it with nettles.
Purple dead nettles are both showing well, though there is no ground ivy yet. Of the staples, we don’t have much chickweed yet and the mallow hasn’t really started. There are a few borage plants starting to show but no Fat Hen yet.
I will add things to the Wild Food page as I try them. I’ve just been making a few additional notes – things like Fat Hen soup was OK and never eat stonecrop, though to be fair I don’t suppose many people will try eating stonecrop. You have to be desperate for content to do that.
More later, but I’d better get back to “proper work” now.
We’ve been using a lot of fat balls in the bird feeders over the last few weeks, but we’ve hardly see a bird on them. Even if we had it’s normally blue tits, great tits and long-tailed tits, and they aren’t exactly big birds or voracious feeders.
Starlings will eat them but we haven’t had any around recently and the only other bird I’ve seen on their was a blackbird, which didn’t stay long and obviously didn’t feel comfortable.
Now, I haven’t been able to photograph the offenders because they are wary of humans sneaking up, but I can tell you that we have discovered the cause – jackdaws!
We have a lot of jackdaws about, and I do like them, but they are a nuisance when helping themselves to the food of the free range pigs and poultry. At the moment they are gathering to eat the debris from lambing – some of it spilt food and some of it considerably less wholesome.
As a child I used to watch them for hours, as they nested in a hollow tree in the garden, always hoping I might end up rescuing an abandoned juvenile and teach it to talk. It never happened.
However, if they are going to add acrobatic fat ball theft to their many scavenging activities I may have to start reviewing my attitude.
Second mystery of the day is the black spot in the pictures I took. I thought the first one I noticed was a blurred jackdaw as one flew past just as I pressed the button, but it appeared on others. Then I decided that it must be dirt on the lens, but after the application of sophisticated cleaning techniques (my handkerchief) it didn’t go. I then used spit and a handkerchief. Still no result.
(That whirring sound you hear is generations of lens designers and proper photographers spinning in their graves.) I know I’m supposed to use proper cleaning equipment, it’s just that I never seem to have it when I need it. But I do always have a handkerchief…
The internet provided the likely answer – dust on the sensor. All I need to do is dismantle the camera (you can find details of how to do that on the internet too), clean the sensor and put it all back together.
Plastic, electronics, small screws, me, big fingers, screwdriver…
What could possibly go wrong?
In the top picture you can’t see the spot because it is hidden by the hedge, but that isn’t a technique you can use all the time.
(Mostly written on Thursday, finished on Friday)
It’s an old English expression for those of you who aren’t familiar with the title, and it comes from the days of horse-drawn transport. It means that after the pomp and ceremony of the Lord Mayor’s Show a detachment of men with shovels had to follow up and clear the road. Looking on the bright side – organic matter is now very fashionable.
I can only speculate of what our scarecrows are thinking as they are now doing duty on the allotment (mainly keeping jackdaws away from the pig food) after their time at one of our premier garden shows – Hampton Court.
If you look through this selection of photos you may actually see the giant Time Traveller at Hampton Court, before he returned to sit on our shipping container.
Such is life, whether for man or scarecrow.
On a more practical note – I’ve just been promised some pond plants for our new pond project and no more birds have flown into things.
Must go now – wife is in a rush to get home. Nothing to do with spending time with me – she’s actually going out to make handicrafts with one of the neighbours and Number One son id cooking for when we get home.