Thursday, 5 June 2014

Bad news, good news, and fantastic news, from the garden of Marks Mansion today

I wasn't at Mums yesterday. My cough was particularly bad, I hadn't slept the night before and I felt awful. Rather than inflict that on Mum with the way she's been feeling, I stayed home and slept instead. I was better this morning so headed off to Mums in high spirits.
So todays blog I will start with the bad news from the garden of Marks Mansion. I hadn't even got my coat off this morning when I could hear both Mr and Mrs BB making a lot of distress calls and immediately spotted through the conservatory windows, a large rat carrying something. It was one of our recently fledged baby Blackbirds and I didn't even have time to get outside to rescue it before the rat disappeared from my view. We knew that four Blackbirds had fledged (we think the last one fledged early yesterday morning), and until today the two rats we have, hadn't really bothered us. We had stopped feeding the Sparrows and Starlings as they can now fend for themselves, but we had continued topping up the nut feeders for the Woodpeckers. Later today I sat in the hide and was able to locate and photograph the remaining three fledglings. I hope the remaining three find better cover for themselves tonight.

Below is not the 'villain' rat. This little un has been with us for many weeks now, and is still small and dare I say, even a bit cute ! The 'villian' rat is bigger and darker, and I now fear he/she has a family, possibly under the conservatory or decking.
The good news from the garden is that we have juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers visiting. The jury is still out on whether this is one juvenile or two. But our Bill, the male GSW with the lower extended mandible, is a Dad.
I had not long got into my hide when this little lovely juvenile below perched on one of the nut feeders.....
An hour or so later, I was watching Bill do his usual 'nut nook' behaviour when I spotted a juvenile at the bottom of the tree Bill was on.......

Bill at top right, juvenile at bottom left.
I honestly cannot say yet if the photos are of the same juvenile, or two different ones, but I can confirm that the second juvenile photographed is Bill's offspring. Another male would not tolerate another adults junior being so close to him.
I also got brief glimpses of Ben and Jen today, but no sign of Bob (but I was only in my hide for a short time this afternoon).
So that's the bad news and the good news from Marks Mansion. So what's the fantastic news ? Well Mum has now finished all of her cancer treatment. Her final chemo session was last Friday and her final radiotherapy treatment was yesterday. She is now officially over the worst part of her journey but side effects from both the invasive treatments will continue for a little while yet and she is still sore and fatigued, and suffering from several other common symptoms.
 But I'm really pleased to say Mum and I had a great few hours clearing out her conservatory plant pot collection today. It's the first time I've seen Mum out of bed this week, and she enjoyed every moment. We discarded some plants, re-potted others and even had a go at taking orchid cuttings, hopefully to add to her growing orchid collection.
To finish off todays blog are some photos of Bill, purely because he was so showy this afternoon and seeing him coping with his little disability, always makes me smile.

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