Thursday, 31 May 2012


It is very hard these day to find something to smile about in a country run by posh toffs who wouldn't survive a single shift in a factory making the money they secrete out of the country to avoid paying their share of taxes.

This, slightly modified, poster was spotted some years ago and tickled my fancy. I think they were on sale on eBay at one time and there are many similar on there now:

Dog Laws1

A while ago I was listening to a repeat of an old Bob Monkhouse radio programme. One joke stuck in my mind and I think of it every time I see a politician on the idiot lantern:

Question - How can you tell when politicians are lying?
Answer -   Their lips are moving.

As the old saying goes - Many a true word is spoken in jest.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Wings on Wednesday - Jackdaw, Starling, Blue-tailed Damselfly

It was nice to have a Jackdaw come close enough to get a decent head crop. They usually disappear as soon as I raise the camera.


Lots of Starlings visiting at the moment. The small birds usually wait patiently until there is a free space on the feeders but the Starlings just barge in and push all the other birds out of the way. This one was soaking up the Sunshine and looking very haughty.


Joining the Common Blue Damselflies was this, the first of the Blue-tailed Damselflies.

Blue-tailed Damselfly 3

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Blue Damsels

No, not bathing beauties in a frozen lake. The first two Common Blue Damselflies to appear at the garden pond. Glorious sunshine is bringing them out and making it easier to take a few decent photos.

Common Blue Damselfly 2 

 Common Blue Damselfly 3

All the time Penny was thinking, "Are we going walkies or are you going to mess around with that camera all day?"


Saturday, 26 May 2012

First Damsel

Earlier today I spotted the first damselfly to emerge from the garden pond. I assume it will be a blue tail once it gets its colour as they have been breeding there for several years. This one appeared to be fairly new and kept shuffling round the plant stem, usually just as I had it in focus.


This morning the final two baby Great Tits left the nestbox so that makes a total of five from the seven eggs which were laid. I haven't seen any babies or the adults today but I didn't last year for a few days after the last one fledged.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Friday at the Flicks - GT Babies, Newt, Penny and Monty

I don't know what happened to the baby which left the nest a couple of days ago. No evidence seen of a parent feeding anything outside the nestbox. My feeling is that it was too impatient. The remaining five are thriving and being well fed. This short video clip was taken yesterday from my six inch monitor using the iPhone4:

Sad news from the nest this morning. It looks as though one of the chicks has died. It was probably the runt and couldn't compete for food well enough and the change in the weather with temperatures suddenly shooting up won't have helped. I have switched off the internet video feed. Another must have fledged and the remaining three chicks are exercising their wings. One stood in the entrance for a short while so they should be fledging soon.

Near the beginning of Spring I spotted five newts all showing at the same time in the garden pond. Yesterday was the first time lighting conditions were right this year to take a short video of one:

Penny continues to settle in to a routine though she is an early bird. What she needed was a comfort toy, especially as she kept swiping one of my towels. This is Penny on her first meeting with Monty the Moose. As it has two noise makers inside I have kept an eye on how she treats it. If she starts to tear it apart then I will have to replace it with a silent one. So far she loves making it 'grunt' otherwise she treats it ever so gently, sometimes taking it to bed with her.

A photo of Penny with Monty the Moose:
Penny with Monty the Moose

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you or with your own special animal companion.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Great Diving Beetle

I had taken the 50D out in the garden as I had spotted a Sparrowhawk fly past. No sign of the bird so I checked the pond for signs of life. What a surprise. There basking on a lily pad in the glorious sunshine was a Great Diving Beetle. It stayed long enough to get a few shots before diving to the bottom. That was the first indication that there were any diving beetles in my garden pond. I never know what is going to turn up next and often wonder how the various creatures arrive in the first place.

Great Diving Beetle  (Dytiscus Marginalis):
Great Diving Beetle

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Wings on Wednesday - Coal Tit Food Larder

I was watching a Coal Tit grabbing sunflower hearts from the bird table and taking them low down into some bushes at the bottom of the garden. I had a slow wander down there to see what it was doing with them. Even though I was less than twenty feet away it took no notice of me and carried on. To my amazement it was hiding the seeds in the bark of an old tree stump:

Coal Tit Food Larder

To see better detail you can click on the picture which will take you to Flickr where you can see larger versions.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Great Tit Nestbox

Definitely more than a little crowded in the Great Tit nestbox these days as the babies continue to grow. It can't be too long before they start to fledge. One is often seen exercising its wings:

Some time this morning one of the babies fledged so now the parents have five in the nest and one out and about to look after.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Coal Tit, Penny

I spent a while yesterday watching a Coal Tit making very frequent visits to the feeders and making off with a black sunflower seed each time. It didn't seem to go far, flying across the garden to a large evergreen tree. I'm not sure whether it has a nest there or was burying the seeds in the soft dead needle covered ground under the tree. I have seen them bury seeds there in the past.

Coal Tit

Coal Tit

Coal Tit

The Great Tit babies in the nest box are growing rapidly and a couple are regularly stretching their wings. I don't think it will be long before the first couple fledge. The live video which runs for most of our daylight hours can be seen by clicking HERE.

Penny is slowly settling down and soon took possession of the dog bed. As with the nature of Greyhounds she is always on the lookout for food so there have had to be some re-arrangements made in the kitchen! After a couple of whoopsies in the first few hours she now seems to be clean about the house. That was one thing I was concerned about as she has only known kennel life up to now. She is very loyal, around the property anyway, and seems to be attached to me with an invisible length of elastic. Out and about it could be very different as her chasing instinct would kick in and I was warned they were very poor on recall. As Penny has only mixed with greyhounds it will take some time for her to recognise other dogs as dogs and to be trained to ignore cats, squirrels and such like. To that end she is never off her lead when out and wears a muzzle.


Once we return we have a game of ball in the back garden which gives her the bursts of exercise she needs.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Penny Comes to Stay

Home inspection went smoothly this morning and soon after midday I had a call from Fen Bank Greyhound Sanctuary to say I could collect Penny any time. Within the hour I was on my way. Most of the way home she lay quietly on the back seat but it was a good job Roy, a neighbour, went with me as she tried to climb through to the front a couple of times.

First thing was for her to make an inspection of the garden:

The tassel hanging from her house collar has a bell. This is to give any cats which wander in the garden a reasonable chance of escaping before Penny assumes they are rabbits.

After a couple of short walks and a few games of ball on the lawn followed by a welcome meal it was a case of a greyhound doing what greyhounds do best.


As racing greyhounds have never met any other types of dog she wears a muzzle for a few weeks when out for walkies until she learns they can be friends and not meals.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Observing the Weather

Observing the Weather

The business end of my weather station during sunset last night.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Will This be the Next Midmarsh Hairy Monster?

A big thank you to all who left messages of sympathy.

As Bobby's health had been deteriorating on and off for months I was more prepared this time for the loss. It may seem heartless to some for me to go looking so soon after losing him but the home is so quiet and empty without a companion. We had six good years together and now it is the turn of someone else to share my home.

Today I drove to the Fen Bank Greyhound Sanctuary to see what dogs they had in. It was difficult as they all were so welcoming and friendly. In the end there were a couple which really took my fancy and my final choice was Penny who is bouncing with energy and coming up to her fourth birthday. We had a game together, lots of hugs and kisses and went for a short walk to see how she behaved.


I have to wait a short while until the sanctuary conducts their home inspection and then I find out whether I can keep up with her.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

A Sad End to the Weekend

I have just come back from the vets where I said goodbye to Bobby. He had become very ill towards the end of last week and with all his ailments looked as though he had given up the struggle to live. On the recommendation of the vet he was peacefully let go while I stroked his head.

This is the photo I have had as a background on my computer for years and is the way I will remember him - curious but gentle.

RIP old feller:

Bobby Meets the Hedgehog

We had a good six years together and his age of 14 was a good one for a Lurcher.

Great Tit Nestbox

All seems to be going well in the Great Tit Nestbox with both adults spending all the daylight hours feeding the six ever hungry babies. How they have grown in just a few days. They are no longer naked but covered in tiny feathers.

This is a little bit of video captured this morning:

I wonder how others are finding uploading to YouTube. I have had nothing but problems for about a week. The uploads have been less than snail pace with it taking hours to send a file of only 50 or 60MB. Today I had to give up and upload to PhotoBucket instead and that worked fairly efficiently.

As before the live feed can be watched HERE when available.

My heart isn't fully on blogging at the moment. Bobby hadn't been well for a few days so on Friday I called out a vet who took Bobby back to the clinic where he has been so far over the weekend. How empty the building seems without a hairy monster reminding when I should be going out to get some exercise, or telling people off for walking too close to his territory.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Friday at the Flicks

This first video was taken a while ago when we had a particularly wet day and parts of my garden started to disappear under water. In spite of the weather the birds still had to find food. Starlings and Blackbirds took advantage of the wet grass to hunt for worms and grubs which had been forced to the surface.

Yesterday this years brat pack (Starlings and juveniles) made their first appearance.

Finally, even on dull days the birds still sing. This Song Thrush was perched on the highest point of my Leylandii tree for ten minutes.

Great Tit Nestbox:

The parents continue to feed their ever hungry offspring. It looks as though six of the seven eggs were viable which is better than last year when only four out of six hatched and fledged.

The live video feed is HERE. Yesterday I had problems with the feed as I tried out a couple of well recommended alternative firewalls to replace my usual, Zone Alarm. Unfortunately both stopped iTunes recognising the iPad and the second actually altered the settings in the router which stopped the live feed. That took me quite a while to track down and fix. Everything should be back to normal now.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


A couple of nights ago, when the Moon was at its closest, I took a few shots. These were hand held though I did rest the lens on some fencing to give a bit of stability.

Close view: (cropped)

Wider view which tended to over expose the Moon to get some detail in the foreground. Emphasised using the ReDynaMix plugin in Photoshop Elements.

Great Tit Nest

Yesterday I counted six gaping beaks as they reminded the parents they were hungry. I wonder whether the final egg will hatch. The parent birds are kept busy enough feeding them all as it is.

When available the video feed from the nestbox can be seen HERE. There are times when I have to switch it off as it slows down other uses, especially uploads, with the computer.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Macro on Monday - Great Tits Feeding Babies

Well, I made a mess of last week's Guess What to start with. The plant I chose is growing in a thick hedge nearby and I had it fixed in my mind for days that I was looking as a Holly bush but no, I was wrong and gave a misleading clue to start with - sorry to all who were confused. It was in fact a Mahonia which fortunately was correctly identified by Keith, Jan and Wilma who thoroughly deserve the   gold star  this week.

P1030654 copy    P1030656

That will be the last Guess What for some weeks while I concentrate on the goings on in the Great Tit Nestbox. Many thanks to all who have had a go at identifying the various objects over the past months.


It is hard to tell whether there are five or six baby Great Tits in the nest now. My guess is five. They are keeping Mama and Papa very busy feeding all those hungry beaks. Here is a bit of video from this morning: (It took over 2hrs to upload this short clip to YouTube this morning!)

I will continue with the streaming video as often as I can. I have to turn it off if I want to copy any clips from the DVR as the computer can handle only one video input at a time.
The live stream can be found HERE.  It will mainly run from about 7am to 8pm local time, sometimes longer. From about 9pm to 10pm I switch over to the Hedgehog camera as one often visits during that time.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Feeding the Offspring

Yesterday two of the Great Tits eggs hatched which kept both parents busy finding small enough food for such tiny beaks. I was able to capture some of the activity on the DVR which gives a clearer picture than the streaming video: One time both parent birds arrived with food and they seemed to stare at each other wondering what to do next as ma had food in her beak and pa usually hands over his food for her to give to the babies. Notice how both adults carefully keep to the edge of the nest so as not to stand on the youngsters.

Live streaming video HERE. It takes a few seconds to appear.
It looks as though five of the eggs have hatched now - two more to go.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Mrs GT is a Mum

Some time this afternoon the first eggs hatched in the Great Tit nestbox.
Now there are two babies to feed.

Here Mrs GT is eating the eggshell:

Great Tit Eats Eggshell after Hatching

Video feed can be seen HERE. (approximately 7am to 8pm British Summer Time)

The video feed is quite small. The way I see it  a bit larger in IE is to increase the page magnification in IE to 150% then right click on the video and change the zoom figure to 200%. A similar trick in other browsers should work in the same way.

Photo taken from my monitor as I can't take snapshots from the video feed while it is sending streaming video. Mr GT has just given Mrs GT a tiny grub to feed the babies.


Friday, 4 May 2012

Friday at the Flicks - Experimental Nestbox Live Video Stream

Since I changed my router I have found that I can now stream live video from the Great Tit Nestbox.

Click HERE to access the stream which should open in a new window. It may take a few seconds for the picture to appear. I'm not sure yet how long or how often I will use this facility. Experimental as yet.

One thing I have found - unfortunately the video will not show on iPads or iPhones as it uses Flash which is not available on these devices. Camstreams are developing apps for Android and iOS and hope to have them available in a few months time.

If you have problems viewing the video stream on a PC or Mac have a look at the Camstreams help page HERE,

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Changes All Round

First, an apology. In a Senior Moment I mis-identified the plant shown in yesterday's Macro on Monday so I have changed the clue on that post.

No wonder the weather is one of the main talking points in this country. It can be so changeable. Sunday - raining all day. Monday - wall to wall warm Sunshine. Tuesday - awake to damp, dull conditions.

Today I change my broadband router. My present one is not wireless so to connect the iPad I have used a USB add on wireless connection which seems to have stopped working. Fortunately Zen Internet pre program the router with the information for it to connect to them straight away. All I have to do is work out the settings for the iPad and an internet radio.

Zen is far from being the cheapest internet provider but I have found their service and help to be second to none with UK based problem solvers who know their system inside out and go the extra mile to sort out any problems, not that there are many problems that need solving. When I compare their competence with Tiscali (taken over by Talk Talk) where any problems had to fit in with the script on the screen in front of them otherwise they just did not understand or have the ability to help I can only conclude that you get what you pay for.

After I had been with Zen for a while I found out that they regularly come out top ISP in the Which? report and I fully endorse that conclusion.  My main reason for choosing Zen in the first place was their monthly contract rather than the usual yearly ones. After my experiences with Tiscali I wanted to be able to change provider quickly if things went wrong but happily that thought has never crossed my mind with Zen.
Related Posts with Thumbnails