Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The last two days from Mum's garden

Two days in one blog post, so make yourself comfortable for a longish read.
Yesterday the weather was quite pleasant at times. Mum wasn't feeling too well though, so after doing some shopping and chores for her, I quietly sat in the conservatory while she rested in the lounge.
 Some of the juvenile Starlings have learnt how to obtain food from the feeders.
Mrs BB was still often leaving her nest to get food from the bucket. After observing her a lot yesterday and today, she always goes to the bucket first before dropping down and scavenging along the patio slabs. It's nice to know this so when the eggs hatch, we can maybe put some live food in the bucket for her to feed the chicks.
Mr BB was also on the patio slabs, and actually posed long enough for me to grab a photo. He's quite recognisable by a small patch of fluffy grey feathers on his otherwise dark chest.
The peanut feeders are not only attracting Blue and Great Tits, but the House Sparrows are starting to take a liking to them too.
I spent an hour at the bottom of the garden watching birds overhead. The Red Kites were flying in very low yesterday. I think they were observing me as much as I was observing them. Not very good quality photos, I tried lightening them to show the Kites head.
In next doors garden, the Robin from a few days ago was singing on exactly the same branch.
I also found this adorable newly fledged House Sparrow sunning itself on the fence.
Going back to the birds overhead, I amused myself for a while attempting to take photos of the House Martins and Swifts. I didn't do too well, but managed the below two shots.
Where I sit when at the bottom of the garden, is nearly always in shade, and a level lower than the main garden. When this Parakeet landed on the feeders a few feet away, I genuinely believe he hadn't seen me at first.
This morning I had to pick up some stuff for Mum from Mount Vernon hospital, where she is having her oncology treatment. On the way back and waiting for a bus, I found this scruffy Robin flitting to and from a tree next to the bus stop carrying nesting material. I'm guessing from the time of year and the state of this bird, it's possibly about to start on its second brood of the year. Some Robins (and Blackbirds) use the same nest in which they raised their first brood, but others start the process all over again.
Mum had had a bad night and was still resting when I arrived, so I took advantage of a quick sit at the bottom of the garden and watched two Red Kites soaring together high up on the thermals.
Mum was feeling much better after her lie in, so we decided to do a bit of garden tidying in between the showers, but before we could, a male Great Spotted Woodpecker came down to the furthest nut feeder from the conservatory. I've seen the female a few times too, but she's very skittish and gets spooked even by a House Sparrow landing near her.
The shot below I have had to heavily crop, but it shows a Woodpeckers diagonally closing eyelid.
Mrs BB has chosen her nest site very well. Even with some really heavy outbursts of rain today, she stayed warm and dry in her nest in the old wicker wall hanger with ivy surrounding her all round.
From the dryness of the conservatory while Mum snoozed in the lounge, I watched this Dunnock appear after a rain shower, looking a little scruffy and wet.
As the sun came out, the Dunnock done something I've only seen Collared Doves and Thrushes do, it started 'sunning' and/or 'anting'. I say both because he could well have been doing both. The wing being up is an indication of 'sunning' which some birds do to draw tiny lice and mites to the surface of their wings, as well as literally absorbing the rays to conserve energy.
 But this Dunnock could have been 'anting' as well. This is when they allow ants to crawl over their feathers. When they then preen they use the acids secreted by the ants to oil and groom their feathers. Ants also bring to the surface lice and mites, like 'sunning' does. Another reason I think it was 'anting' was because it chose to lay on the mud rather than the patio slab.
Either way, whatever this Dunnock was doing, he was loving it.
Look at the expression on its little face.
After yet another heavy downpour I watched this juvenile House Sparrow begging for some food from its Dad.
and eventually Dad gave in.
No blog from the garden tomorrow, I'm going to be doing something a little different.

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