Friday, 28 March 2014

Thank God It's Friday, and Moths and Garden Birds

Has anyone else had a flat-out week?

I was so knackered last night I went to bed at 9pm before L, who was upstairs watching Russel Howard's Good News (judging from the giggling that kept issuing from the study). This is an essential use of space if you have teenage children as it means you get to watch the programmes you want in peace and aren't subjected to Jimmy Carr's 9 out of 10 cats, for example.

I felt better this morning, refreshed and rested, and was up and out early to bring in the moth box before the sky opened and more rain fell. I had gone out to the check it last night, forgetting that wherever I go, Poppy goes too, and sure enough, she came along and started EATING MY MOTHS!!!!!

I had to explain (sternly, which she pretty much ignored), that the moth box was not some elaborate and expensive means of procuring her a selection of mothy snacks. Luckily I managed to rescue the moths that were fluttering (half-chewed and soggy by this time) about on the ground, but then had the problem of having several small damp moths sitting on the fingers of one hand, while with the other I tried to restrain a very excited Jack Russell puppy. It was not easy.
Ted learnt very quickly last year that moth are  not for chewing. I fear it is going to be a longer road with Poppy.

Anyway, despite the weather and coolness of temperature, the garden was alive with small fluttery people whizzing about the light and this morning the box contained 60 moths, which seems a lot for the time of year.

There were all the usual March suspects- Common Quaker, Clouded Drab, Hebrew Character, Small Quaker, Oak Beauty and March Moth. In fact, there were 25 Common Quakers and I now understand my mothing chum Martin's exasperation of a few days back when he said he would cheerfully scream if he saw another Common Quaker.

I am feeling much the same.

Common Quaker

Common Quaker

Common Quaker

Common Quaker

Hebrew Character (bet you thought that was going to be another Common Quaker, didn't you?)
The Garden Birds are fairing well and I have been making good use of my new birdsong app. After dropping L at school this morning I met up with Mrs M and we took the dogs out for a long walk across the fields. We got drenched of course, but that was by the by. While we were out we heard a bird I keep hearing here, which proved it wasn't a water bird as I'd thought. It makes a kind of high pitched rolling sound, a bit like if you roll your r's with your tongue.

When I got home I went back over all the species I know we have round about and listened to their calls on  the British Library's  useful recordings database until I found a match: Greenfinch, which was both satisfying and pleasing, because although I glimpsed them very briefly in the garden a couple of weeks back I haven't seen them since. But they are clearly still here. It demonstrates nicely what a useful skill being able to ID a bird from it's song is. 

I suspect the reason they've not been feeding in the garden is that the mild winter means that food is more plentiful than usual  (as per the RSPBs Garden Birdwatch Survey's findings).

Here are some snaps taken at home this morning....

Male Blackbird

Bluetit

Bluetit
 
Mrs Sparrow, off the nest briefly for some lunch

Lovely Robin

The other good bit of bird news here is that a male chaffinch has just arrived in the garden, so I am hoping he will be a Suitable Husband for Bumble. He is Rather Handsome so there's no reason why she shouldn't be smitten, even with her poorly foot.....


Potential Mr Bumble....?

The vole's been busy at work in the garden, scarifying the moss by the path to the front door (this makes it sound like he's a new garden employee). Anyway, M is thrilled about it, because patches of our lawns are more moss than grass. Let's hope I can off-set this Useful Behaviour against any potential Vegetable Chewing Allegations that may occur later in the year.....

 He seems to be pulling the moss out of the grass between the nettles on the right and the daphnes on the left in the pic below and dumping it on the path. I am wondering if it's actually being used for nest lining purposes, in which case perhaps Mr Vole is actually Mrs Vole and Vole Children are on the way? I'll keep you posted....


The green house is getting a good work out, with various seeds snug in their beds of compost. M's veggies are on the way and my wildflowers are starting to appear too. I did have a small fit this week when the white dwarf buddleia I'd ordered last month finally turned up. Fifteen Quid and honestly it's the size of a 5p coin. M couldn't stop laughing when he saw it, particularly since I found some in the local garden centre a couple of weeks back that are ten times the size and less than half the price. Grrrrr. It had better bloomin well not die (or be eaten by, say, a vole....). It's far too tiddly to survive by itself outside at present, so it has been re-potted into a plant pot and tucked in with compost. 
Every night I go in to the greenhouse and talk to all the plant people growing there. Perhaps it's just as well we don't have neighbours....



That's enough rambling for now so I'll leave you with a pic of Poppy. I'm a bit worried she doesn't have eyes any more as I can't remember the last time I saw them....


Sleepy Pop

  Wishing you all a Good Weekend,

CT :-)

14 comments:

  1. Now, Now , no screaming about the Common Quakers it will scare off all the lovely birds and interrupt Poppy's nap ;)

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    1. I know I shouldn't really complain- I do love all the moths. A little more variety wouldn't go amiss though...

      Poppy has now woken up and is trying to eat L's after-school biscuit...No rest for the wicked! Hope you've got some warmer weather now? :-)

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  2. I'm really sorry but I did laugh at Poppy eating the moths! x

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    1. You and everyone else here, Em! (apart from me of course. I even left M (who was out last night) a note telling him to accompany her on her late night pee in case she ate a load more). x

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  3. I wonder what the nutritional value of a moth is? I wonder the same about flies because Tybalt is very fond of flies.

    Yes, it has been a crazy mad week and I am glad it is weekend time, too! Phew! (Times twice. Nay thrice!) xxx

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    1. We won't go into moth nutritional values on this blog thank you- it will only encourage Poppy. Ted ate a bee last week and it stung the inside of his mouth. I had hoped that would be lesson learnt, but this afternoon while he was sitting on my lap in the garden watching his dad dig out a tree, a bumble strayed perilously close to his nose and the only way I could stop him snapping at it was to keep my hand round his chops! Flies are a more sensible snack on the whole, although probably more disgusting that moths or bees. xx

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  4. I have a similar moth problem - only mine is with a robin! He/she hasn't yet appeared this year but no doubt it will soon cotton on that I've started trapping again!

    My husband would like a vole like yours - he never stops complaining about moss in the lawn!

    Sorry to hear about dwarf buddleia - I've been caught out like that before now :( I'd love one of those too but whenever I've seen them anywhere they are extortionate.

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    1. I had that last year with the blackbirds. Too clever by half....

      More vole/ moss activity evident this morning. If they have children I'll ship some over to you!

      I went back to the garden centre today and got the other white buddleia which is huge and cost £7. Much more sensible :-)

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  5. I just love reading the list of moth names, never mind seeing them. I almost thought we'd get a post where Poppy hadn't done something naughty....oh but she is cute.
    I need some 48 hour days to get through all that I have to do right now... feeling very very tired and weary.
    I've had Greenfinches in the garden at last and have managed to get some photos too. I hope you get some vole babies, it'd be lovely to see them.

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    1. Too much to hope for a day without Poppy doing something naughty! I agree about moth names- M thought they would also make good names for beer :-)

      We all do too much I think, life if busy isn't it? Hope you manage a peaceful week and time to re-charge the batteries.

      Great re your greenfinches, ours have been calling all day close by but not yet visible. And I'm keeping fingers crossed for vole babies too! x

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  6. What lovely photos. Had to smile at the availability of Common Quakers - and their keen-ness to be trapped as well! I hope your shrunken Buddleia baby grows and I don't blame you for buying the bigger bargain one - just in case.

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    1. Much as I love all the moths and enjoy seeing them, I am looking forward to a few new species appearing now :-)
      The new (bigger) buddleia is going in the recently opened up patch where I am expecting great things of it come the summer!

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  7. Oh no - Poppy must think that you efforts to attract moths have another purpose altogether! I've not seen Harry go for moths but spiders are definitely not safe here.
    I love all the birds - I'm even more impressed now with the bird song app.
    Vole babies would be wonderful!

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    1. Poppy could not understand why she wasn't meant to eat the moths - Ted just looked at her in a kind of despairing way. I'm afraid I'm not a great fan of spiders so I can understand Harry eating them...
      The app has been soooo useful- my id count has gone up by three this week thanks to it.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x