Tag Archives: Yellow Flag

Next Week – Plans and Flowers

Yes, despite the outwardly chaotic appearence of my life I do have plans. Some of them (such as the Nobel Prize (Peace or Literature – I’m easy) are not likely to come to fruition. The oldest laureate was 90, so I still have time, but I fear that it may no longer be a realistic prospect.

However, assuming that the younger me had planned to become a middle-aged man with a weight problem and unrealistic dreams of winning a Nobel Prize, I think it’s fair to say we can consider that done.

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Cranesbill Geranium

You win some, you lose some.

The plans for the coming day include doing the laundry (I am now well enough to take up my domestic duties again). That’s according to Julia, anyway; I still feel another week of watching daytime TV while she brings me cups of tea is in order. I also have to buy the ingredients for a rhubarb crumble (apart from the rhubarb.)

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Nasturtium – once known as Indian Cress because it tastes like watercress

Apart from that, which I confess, is not an onerous list, I need to make something for tea (which will be a nice, easy salad)  and write a to do list for Julia. We ended up with four pages of notes on Friday morning. They are currently more of an avalanche of words and ideas, rather than a list.

By 4.30 this afternoon they will be a list – sorted by importance, season and financial implication.

Today’s pictures are more flowers, but this time I know the names.

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Yellow Flag

 

 

 

Yellow Flags, Ducklings and Swifts

Things are changing in Arnot Hill Park, the shrubbery has finally come to life, and the trees are in bloom. A pair of camera-shy Song Thrushes took cover in a horse chestnut as I approached and the trees were full of annoyingly elusive birds.

There’s nothing quite like yellow flags for cheering the heart, particularly when you’ve just been confined to the house. I like irises, and I particularly like the yellow ones so it was good to see them in bloom this morning.

As you may be able to tell from the photos, the water has changed colour to an exotic blue-green, while we’ve been away too.

There are ducklings about too – though they are a bit of a handful from the parenting point of view. The first ones I saw seemed to be attached to a pair of Red Crested Pochards but they made a rush for freedom, the adults swam off and the ducklings carried on by themselves. I think they may actually have been Mallards, as they seemed to stay with the adult Mallards.

Round the other side of the pond I found more Red Crested Pochards, this time with four ducklings. I’m amazed by how fast they are for such small things, particularly once you try to get the camera on them.

Incidentally, I’m back on the old camera as it’s easier to slip into my pocket and…well, to be honest, I can’t remember where I put the other one last time I used it. That’s how bad my memory has been during the last few weeks.

Finally, alerted by high-pitched squeaks I found a family of Moorhens with four chicks. Two of the chicks swam across one of the islands and took refuge inside the wire bastions they use for extending the islands. It makes a nice secure cage for chicks, though the other two kept to open water. Typical kids, you have a nice safe cage for them and they make for open water.

There are also two Coots sitting on eggs, so there are more chicks to come.

Unfortunately the Mandarin seems to have gone, so no more Odd Couple.

The film clip shows a pair of Mallards feasting on unappetising scum. No wonder they do so well if they are prepared to eat that.

And finally – Julia was out in the street this afternoon when she heard screaming calls, Looking up she saw eight Swifts. Looking down again after a few moments of Swift watching, she found a woman staring at her as if she was mad.

Who can tell?

Back to Basics

All these specialist bird reserves are alright, but today it was time for a trip back to the duck pond. It’s not as exciting as reedbeds and saltmarsh, but you can pull in a visit between getting a new watch battery and buying the ingredients for meatballs instead of making a full day of it.

I haven’t been for a couple of weeks and it seemed emptier today, with no gulls and only a couple of Tufted Ducks instead of the normal 20 or 30. There were five pairs of Greylag geese, which is more than usual, though I doubt there is room for five nests on the island.

The Mandarin Duck was there again today, following the geese around. I’ve never seen him with a female so he may be lonely.

That, apart from the numbers, seems to be the main difference – they now seem to operate in pairs more than they have been. Apart from the pigeons. They just seem to operate as a mob, and as soon as I even thought of feeding anything they gathered like vultures using ESP. They can’t, of course, read my mind. If they could they wouldn’t be so keen to get that close to me.

The pictures include a Mallard drinking from a puddle at the side of the pond (presumably on the grounds that he knows what ducks do in ponds) and a Moorhen standing beside the shoots of yellow flags, one of the few signs of spring produced by plants in the park. The landscape shot uses the “Dramatic” setting, which could equally be called the “Dark”setting.

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“Dramatic” photograph