Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Gardening and driving lessons

Getting on with the garden, although at times the weather isn't helpful, especially today, seriously horrible. Earlies are in and pink fir-apple tatties are half done. Have been having a serious fight with the wee flower/insect garden, trying to get invasive grass out. Have dug out a new soft fruit bed for raspberries and currents, pretty much given up on the strawberries with the conclusion it is just too cold and there are too many slugs (and blackbirds).

One of the things about doing the garden is that you do come across wee beasties that would other wise escape unnoticed.

I think this is Discus rotundatus

There were plenty of Cepea hortensis which are an attractive thing, probably also eat our plants mind. Also this caterpillar which I'm still trying to figure out, maybe a Diarsia sp. Pterostichus macularia again, this time in a bucket in the garage, released into the garden.

Having cleaned all the feeders and moved them around to new sites I thought I had solved the disease issue with the Greenfinch, but there was a bird yesterday showing the symptoms of Trichomonosis (it could also be Salmonella). If this continues I may stop feeding anything but Nyjer.

Interestingly the five birds I have recorded with this condition have all been males and looking around the web this is mentioned elsewhere and explained by the males being more dominant at the feeders.

There has been a decent movement of Pink-feet with some good sized flocks through here at home and at Palace. The first Bonxie was behind the house on the edge of Birsay Moor on 6th and one went through the garden the next day. Two Sand Martins at Loch of Boardhouse on 9th were the first "real" summer birds. - To be continued, going out for lunch...

Continued 13/04/2017


 Digi scope of 380, interesting how they were so compact on the water, I wonder if there was a Peregrine around somewhere.

Plenty of these around, perhaps 10-12 in the fields around the house

The other mammal of interest has been a couple of squashed hedgehogs, usual road kill.

Both of these are most probably hybrid crows, the right-hand bird certainly is, see the black feathers in the undertail coverts. I think the left hand bird has too much black in the feather tips of the nape and there may be black in the undertail coverts as well.

I need to update the hybrid crow identification guide which I wrote a few years back as I have some new information and some more photographs.

Stonechat still evident, not sure if they are paired and nesting though. I've just written a piece for the Orkney Bird Report on the species recovery after hard winters. I'll post the piece here once the bird report is published.

Ok, the driving lesson thing. Elder daughter is learning and we've got on remarkably well as I've taken the role of main tutor. Recent drives have included a fair bit of stop starting, hill starts? More like gull starts as I've had M stop whenever I've  seen a gull flock. We've turned up an Iceland and a Glaucous Gull this week.

Not the greatest pix, 2cy Ice near Stromness

 Usually at this time of year I'm spending hours on the track sorting it out, this year I have a wee bit of help... Never again will we be smashing the suspension two, four or six times a day as we head up and down. We are waiting now for the final surface to be applied, but it is raining a fair bit this week and I think they need a few days dry.

First of the year the other day and always good to see.

Today's walk at Northside.

1 comment:

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

poor old greenfinch, now an unusual sight in my town