Saturday, 30 June 2012

A Palette in the Garden

What, you may well ask, is the connection between an artists paint palette and a floral display. The answer can be found on The Poke, one of my favourite sites which brightens up this dreary world we live in these days. As it says in their header - Time Well Wasted.

The idea is a brilliant piece of lateral thinking and I love the finished product.
What am I rabbiting on about? - look HERE.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Friday at the Flicks - Juvenile Collared Dove - Rainy Day

When the juvenile Collared Dove visited a few days ago I managed to shoot a couple of pieces of video:

A few shots from yesterday - torrential rain - fast moving clouds - Penny paddling - muddy sunset where the clouds were more shades of brown than reds and oranges.

Both videos have soundtracks made with music apps on the iPad.
SketchSynth 3D lite for the Dove
Loop Twister for the rain.

For those who are interested - one way of getting the sound output from the iPad to the PC is to use a gizmo like the Behringer U-Control UCA222 which takes the sound from the earphone socket of the iPad and sends it to a USB port. It is powered from the USB port so needs no extra batteries or power supplies. On the PC I use the program Audacity to record the sound and save as an mp3 file:


The photo shows the iPad running the app Loop Twister and the Behringer unit is the red box on the right hand side.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Typical English Summer Weather?

Today didn't turn out quite as expected. I thought it was going to be a fine day and was hoping to visit Covenham Reservoir. The morning started out a bit on the damp side and there was a cool breeze for much of the day.

Suddenly, about 3.30 in the afternoon it got so dark I had to switch the room lights on. Then the rain started accompanied by thunder and lightning which got closer and closer. The rain became heavier until it was like a tropical storm.


This continued for about three quarters of an hour in which time 0.85  inches (22mm) of rain was recorded. As a result my lawn which had been free of standing water started to become a lake.


These sorts of short sharp storms are not rare in the summer months but I usually expect them after many days of glorious sunshine.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A Visit to the Charity Shop

I have been meaning to take some stuff to the Fen Bank Greyhound Rescue charity shop in Alford (Lincolnshire) for some time. Today we managed to lever that one from the Round Tuit pile. It was another warm day, cloudy to start with but gradually brightening up. Penny was as good as gold and sprawled out on the back seat throughout the journey through the back roads.

When we had parked up the first thing was to let madam stretch her legs so we walked through the car park which led to a track which went on for a lot further than my legs would take me.


Plenty of butterflies and day flying moths but not one would stay still long enough for a photo session. As we passed one field all the residents wandered over to say hello.


In fact two of them strolled along on their side of the fence and kept us company until we had passed their field. I think we strolled about half a mile and then wandered back to the town centre. I had three bags of stuff so Penny waited in the car while I took the first two and then she went with me on the final trip.


Once again she was fine inside the shop and was rewarded for bringing things to sell. The reward was food of course. While we were there I bought her another soft toy to play with. (Thanks for the tip Matron) This time it was Freddy the Fox:


All in all another satisfying dry day out and it looks as though it will be dry with temperatures in the low 20s C again tomorrow.

I did a bit of searching on the net today.
It would appear Penny raced 22 times, came 1st once and 2nd on four occasions.
Her birthday is 8th July, when she will be four years old.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


We haven't done much in the way of walkies since Penny arrived. Mainly short walks while she got used to a new environment. Then she injured a paw which needed resting, easier said than done with a four year old greyhound, and bathing with saline solution. Also the weather has not been conducive for long walks as it has been so variable with constant sharp showers but that gave time for things to heal up.

Yesterday we walked to the next village to visit the post office. Sounds a long walk but actually it's only half a mile away, if that. Today was overcast but warm and more important - dry - so we went for a walkabout round the village. Not very inspiring on the wildlife front but great to get out and enjoy some fresh air. Having walked round the back of the church and heard a Chiff-Chaff at last we headed down an old lane, more a dirt track than anything.

The way we were going:
Photo 26-06-2012 10 55 33

The way we had come:
Photo 26-06-2012 10 52 00

Nothing much of note but Penny really enjoyed sussing out the rabbit runs and all the other interesting smells.

On the way back we passed the field where there are usually horses. Penny wasn't the least bit interested in them and fortunately as the field was higher than the lane she couldn't see the rabbits which hang out there.



After a short rest I though I had better cut the grass before the next batch of rain comes through. While I was doing that madam was hurtling around the garden at full speed. At one stage she disappeared under the leylandii hedge, let out an ear splitting cry and came rushing out. I have no idea was made her cry out. A thorough examination showed no injury. Evening walk OK. Appetite - normal food vacuum cleaner mode. A complete mystery.

(First two photos from the iPhone, the rest from the TZ7)

I was still having problems uploading to YouTube. I tried Firefox, Opera and the dreaded IE and though the router activity lights were constantly flickering nothing seemed to be uploading. In desperation I actually looked at the YouTube help pages and found one useful bit of advice - use Firefox in Private Browsing mode - that worked and the little video above uploaded in reasonable time.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Hedgehog Visitor

As far as I can tell I still have at least one Hedgehog visiting every night.

Uploading to Flickr and YouTube has become a real pain for a while now with even a small file taking hours to transfer to YouTube. Not just on the odd occasions as may be expected but every time I try to use them. I wonder whether others have been having similar difficulties. Uploading to Photobucket still works as normal.

Yesterday I altered my settings for comments. At the moment it will not accept comments from anonymous writers. This has been forced on me by an influx of anonymous spam comments which are purporting to advertise payday loans. First there was just the odd one which I could delete but the numbers have been increasing daily. Although each is slightly different they all seem to point to linefeed dot org

A Whois search for linefeed dot org reveals the following information:
Registrant ID:1164_3836092
Registrant Name:Moniker Privacy Services
Registrant Organization:Moniker Privacy Services
Registrant Street1:20 SW 27th Ave.
Registrant Street2:Suite 201
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Pompano Beach
Registrant State/Province:FL
Registrant Postal Code:33069
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.9549848445
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:+1.9549699155
Registrant FAX Ext.:

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Wings on Wednesday - Juvenile Collared Dove

There are lots of juvenile birds visiting the garden at the moment. About a week ago I spotted two juvenile Great Tits. Unfortunately they wouldn't stay in one place long enough to photograph them. I am hoping they were two of the youngsters which fledged from my nest box.

This morning there was a juvenile Collared Dove resting on the beam which holds the seed feeders.. I think it had only recently fledged as it looked unsure of its surroundings and what to do next. It was startled every time one of the smaller birds landed nearby. A juvenile lacks the black collar of the adult and the iris in the eyes is brown. That will turn red as the bird matures.

At first I photographed through the kitchen window.

Juvenile Collared Dove 4372

Then I moved to photographing through the conservatory window - single glazed so introduces less distortion. Finally I went outside. Though slightly apprehensive the bird let me get quite close for some much clearer shots.

Juvenile Collared Dove 4379

Juvenile Collared Dove 4375

Eventually it flew down to the ground to find some of the seed which the smaller birds drop from the feeders.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Garden Spider

I was tidying up a pile of wood when I spotted this large spider.
I assume it belongs to the group of sheet web spiders:




Overall length would have been 35 to 40mm
Taken with the TZ7

Friday, 15 June 2012

Friday at the Flicks - Bumble Bee

Only one video this week. A large Bumble Bee spent many minutes investigating some chives which had gone to flower. These plants are self sown in the edge of the lawn and seem to be regularly visited by bees so I let them grow. Filmed with the Lumix TZ7 hand held only a few inches away from the bee which was too busy to take any notice of the camera.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Wings on Wednesday - Bumble Bee

While I was cutting the grass this morning I noticed this bumble bee resting on the lawn. Earlier on the Sun had been shining but by this time it had clouded over and the temperature had dropped. I guess the bee was waiting for the Sun to shine again or having to generate the temperature needed to get its flight muscles working - somewhere around 30C.


It stayed in the same place for about half an hour before flying off.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Getting to be a Regular

The Grey Squirrel is becoming a regular visitor to the garden

Grey Squirrel

Today it had just come down to ground level as Penny went out the back door. I have never seen a squirrel move so fast. At first it took a wrong turn and shot in the greenhouse. Fortunately for the squirrel Penny had gone round the greenhouse and it managed to escape. Though the squirrel left the garden in short order it gave Penny plenty of exercise as she hurtled about for several minutes trying to find out where it had gone.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Friday at the Flicks - Squirrel eats Seeds, Rook Wants Peanuts

As well as invading the bird table a local Grey Squirrel decided to help itself to some seeds from one of the bird feeders:

This Rook spent over four minutes trying to get at the peanuts in the feeder. Fortunately the various curves on the bracket fooled it. At one stage it looks as though it was attempting to remove the top from the feeder:

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you wherever you may be.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Wings on Wednesday - Bread

From time to time I put a slice of bread in one of the feeders.
As often as not a corvid will drag it out and drop it on the grass.

If you are a Jackdaw then you pull off beak sized pieces.
If you are a Blackbird you pull off beak sized pieces.
If you are a Starling you grab the lot and fly off with it:

Untitled-3 copy

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Monty the Pillow

Monty the Moose becomes Monty the Pillow

Monty the Pillow

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Penny Meets a Hedgehog

Every night when Penny goes in the back garden for a last look round she hopes to find a Hedgehog. If they have been about she rushes round, nose to the ground, following the scent trail. Last night she met up with one. A first she tended to be a bit rough but soon settled to just being inquisitive.

Penny Meets a Hedgehog

As soon as she was let out this morning Penny went straight to the place where she had met the Hedgehog, hoping it was still there.

 Hedgehog P1030706

Friday, 1 June 2012

Friday at the Flicks - Fur on the Bird Table

As I switched on the video monitor to check for any Hedgehog activity last night I spotted a Grey Squirrel on the bird table. It was having a long leisurely breakfast before going off to explore the seed feeders and eventually being chased away by Penny.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.
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