Monday, 18 May 2015

Of Bullfinches, Moths & Flowers

Woo Hoo! I have finished my exams!

Well, one exam, to be precise. I had one hour this afternoon in which to write TWO essays, one on the loss of forest cover, keystone grazers and apex predators since the Iron Age and how it had effected forest ecosystems, and the other on the development of the environmental movement globally since the 1950s. So that's 5 minutes to read each question properly and plan the answer, 20 minutes each to write them and 5 minutes each to check them at the end.

My arm ached like mad by the end and my hand felt like it was probably going to fall off (it didn't though. Phew).

I celebrated by taking a group of the first years out to look for butterflies. Despite the wind we found one Small Blue and one Green Hairstreak, which they'd never seen before so they were happy bunnies and Quite Astonished at how tiny both flutters are :o) 

By way of Encouragement to my studies and revision when energy was flagging after a fortnight of learning things by heart, Mother Nature sent two beautiful birds to our garden over the weekend. Two birds whom I hear often but rarely see, and certainly never so close as this.

Please may I introduce you to Mr Bullfinch.....






He is happily eating the tops off dandelion flowers (well, the seeds, which we call clocks). I hadn't observed that behaviour in them before and it is evidence, if any were needed, of the value of dandelions to a garden. He's ignored all the other flowers in their favour :o)

They aren't birds that come to garden feeders and they tend to be quite shy and inconspicuous, despite his beautiful colours, so you'll imagine my smiling delight when this morning he returned and brought his wife with him. He'd obviously told her that the dandelions in the garden were just perfect, so she'd come along to try some herself...

Male Bullfinch

Female Bullfinch

Mr and Mrs BF
Lovely things, aren't they?

In addition to the Bullfinch Pair, I was also treated to a couple of Nice Moths who came visiting. We are yet to get into Really Spectacular Moth Time (June/ July/ August) and there are some I would have expected to see by now who haven't yet appeared (cool nights probably the culprit there), but even so, any moth is a Welcome Moth in my book, so here are an Alder Moth and a Small Square-Spot...



I have to get up Very Early and bring the moth box in soon after dawn these days, because the Garden Birds are all working so hard feeding their demanding infants, and view the moth box as some kind of free buffet (especially the Robins).

We've Small Feathery Children hidden away in nests all round the garden at the mo. There are Great Tit Children squeaking away in one end of Sparrow Terrace, Sparrow Children squeaking away in their hole in the wall of the house, and Robin children, Blue Tit Children, Nuthatch Children, Blackbird Children, Dunnock Children, Wren Children and Pigeon Children in the trees and hedges round about, while Jackdaw Children are Being Noisy in the chimney and Great Spotted Woodpecker Children are Being Silent in the hole in the old oak tree. And this is without mentioning the five goslings on the lake and the baby moorhens in their nest on the bank, or indeed the Kestrel Children who are Goodness Knows Where because I only see their daddy sitting high up on the telephone wires staring down intently at voles.

Frazzled parents come to the feeders looking thin, bedraggled and exhausted. I know how they feel :o)

Nuthatch Parent   

Dunnock Parent

GSW Parent
I am feeling a tiny bit cross with the Jackdaw and Magpie contingent of the garden- one of the almost-full coconut halves vanished from the garden over the weekend and it wasn't until I saw the jackdaws trying to undo the other one and make off with it that I realised what had happened.

Very Clever but also Very Naughty :o(

Watching the birds feed their children has been a necessary affirmation of life to me, because we got some pretty terrible news over the weekend. The daughter of some friends of ours was involved in a bad car accident last week. Of the four of them in the car, one died, two have been seriously injured and she herself had to be rushed to hospital for emergency surgery and has been left paralysed from the waist down.

I wonder if I could trouble all you wonderful people for a prayer/ a sending of thoughts/ healing/ well wishes to her and her parents? I am a firm believer in the power of positive thought, so if you can spare a drop of energy for them I know it would be very much appreciated. I am just praying that the paralysis isn't permanent, but we'll have to wait and see. She's only in her twenties and is a sweet girl.

Sorry to end on a sober note. I think, if anything can be read from this, where life changes so completely in such an instant, it is probably to make sure you are living your life to the full and very best of your ability, telling people who matter to you that they matter and making sure that every day holds a smile and some laughter.

I'll leave you with some flowers from the garden, Geums. which are flowering Like Mad right now....


All the best to everyone,

CT :o)





29 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear the news of your friends' daughter and the others in the car. Such a tragedy, I do hope she is able to recover. I can't imagine how her parents feel, my heart goes out to them all. Well done on finishing your exam, it does sound gruelling. That's not long at all to write two essays. I hope it all went well, I'm sure it did, you've worked very hard. Do you have more years of study ahead? Gorgeous photos as ever, it was especially nice to see the bullfinch. I used to see them regularly when I was little, but we hardly ever spot them now. The biggest boy has only ever seen one once. Sending you a cyber hug. CJ xx

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    1. I've spent much of the weekend thinking about her poor parents too. She's being moved to a specialist spine hospital which is near us but further from their home and they expect a 6 month stay. It has really, profoundly shocked us.

      Thank goodness for nature which lifts the spirits even in the face of such upsetting news. Glad you enjoyed the bullfinches. You may already know this but a small bird seen flying off with a white flash on its rump is almost always a bullfinch- I see them most often that way. They also make a soft coo coo call xx

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  2. What terrible news, their poor families, sending them well wishes. Thanks you for the lovely photos of the bull finches, I have seen some at the top of the garden but they do not come close. I was watching a jackdaw and magpie attacking the bird feeder this morning, they don't fly off with it but I often find it on the floor.

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    1. Thank you Chickpea. Startling how swiftly these things can happen. Jackdaws and magpies LOVE the coconut halves here, cheeky monkeys :o)

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  3. You must be pleased now exam over - hope it went really well. The Bullfinch pics are great, I got so excited here last year, when a pair visited a stand of dock that I left, and they picked at the brown seeds - beautiful birds. Have sent a good wish, and it does make you stop and think. My Geums are only just gaining strength enough to bud.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer. I do love to see the wild birds on wild flowers, it's why we've got so many here :o)

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  4. Sorry to hear the awful news. My cousin was in a car of four. They were all 18. My cousin and two of his friends were killed outright. The survivor is paralysed from the chest down. Life life for today but please don't be reckless x sending prayers your way xxx

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    1. How awful Rachel. I feel less and less like driving my car these days xx

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  5. Sorry to hear the terrible news. The series of shots of the Bullfinches are fantastic. So fortunate to have seem them so closely and so long. I usually see them fittingly.

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    1. Thank you Margaret. It was a joy to see the Bullfinches.

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  6. Hey CT,
    Oh I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's daughter. I shall send healing thoughts from the top of Rosewall Hill, and hope that they float off and away to where they are most needed.
    We have very busy birds in the garden too. The Blackbirds are here often, as are Robins, Blue Tits and Wrens. I also have a pair of seagulls nesting on my roof. They are terrible parents, and leave their offspring to get up to all sorts of bother. They've fallen off the roof and allsorts. I try to leave the dandelions. I actually like them very much. But then I like most weeds. Leave them be, is what I say.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Thanks my dear :o) Do you follow Seagull Suzie's blog? She used to spend her spring times rescuing infant seagulls who'd fallen off her roof in Brixham- they do sound like extremely careless parents :o) xx

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  7. Well done for getting through your first exam a lot of work to get in for one hour.
    Nice to see a Bullfinch, numbers round here seem to be a bit low this year, and YAY for the Dandelion, after my post on them I'm hoping a few more people will like them. Goldfinch love the seeds too.

    Sad news to hear, sending recovery vibes, spending a little extra time with my boy's to night.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks Amanda, I have set aside extra time this weekend to spend with our boys too. It's very easy for everyday life to get in the way sometimes.
      I'm also a fan of dandelions, they're early to flower and a welcome splash of colour in the garden here, and self pollinating too, fascinating little plants xx

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  8. Firstly congratulations on finishing your exams. Everywhere I look there are parents feeding chicks at the moment-it's so lovely to watch. I too have the same problems with the half coconuts-try wiring them to the feeder pole. I've had Goldfinches and Bullfinches feeding on dandelion seeds-so it's always good to leave some about.
    I will most definitely send positive thoughts to your friends and their daughter-I have some spare now that hubby is cured! What a terrible thing to happen to them all. Life is so fragile.

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    1. Thanks Suze :o) The wire is an excellent suggestion- thank you.
      Thank you too for the healing thoughts. And I'm relieved your other half is now all mended :o)

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  9. I will surely send all the positive healing thoughts I can. Your friends must be devastated. Life is full of such contrasts isn't it, beauty and grief.
    So glad you have almost finished your exams, I'm sure all your hard work will be rewarded. Summer time is nearly here!!xx

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    1. It's a truly awful thing to have happened, we are just keeping everything crossed that she makes a good recovery.

      Thanks re exams- have you done yours yet? Mine was OK in the end but I'm still pleased to get it behind me! xx

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    2. My exam is not till the first week in June thank goodness. So much yet to revise. Got a decent mark for my last easy though so very chuffed. Treating myself to an early night-Uni is not the same 2nd time around. ;)

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  10. You put it all into perspective CT. We don't know what's happening tomorrow or next week. Thankfully. Great pictures.

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    1. It's a sobering thing. But all the more reason to enjoy life.

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  11. I'm extremely behind with my blog reading well commenting really as I read blogs in the office. I'm so sorry to hear of the accident it's extremely sobering news with having children of a similar age & my thoughts & prayers are with all concerned. On a brighter note because you do have to have brightness fab news about your exam. Rob has his last one tomorrow & is hoping to get rollicking drunk tomorrow evening, the folly of youth & all that. I will sign the petition on your last post & will post a cheery comment on your latest one as I've already scared Mike when I snorted with laughter when I read it x

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    1. Bless you Jo :o) I'm behind with reading too... xx

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  12. oh what terrible news about your friend's daughter -- my heart and prayers go out to her and her family. [ you know i believe fully in the magic of collective prayer ;) ]

    and you're so right -- it's the affirmations of life all around us that keep us going when awful things happen...'tis indeed a reminder of the gift of this life and how we must never take it for granted.

    on a cheerier note -- i'm glad your exam is over, it sounds an absolute horror! and the sight of such a beautiful bird in your garden?! a welcome reward for all of your hard work indeed!

    i have a similar bone to pick with the grackles that pass through here in the spring...they can strip a feeder bare in minutes and are terrible bullies to the smaller birds....:)

    xo

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  13. Certainly sending healing vibes to the poor girl, I really hope she makes a full recovery. What dreadful news.

    Very envious of your Bullfinch visitors! I haven't seen one since we moved to Brittany 11 years ago. Great to see what they are eating!

    Also well done for completing your exam, though one hour doesn't give much time to write two essays!! So glad I left exams behind donkeys years ago, so I really admire you going back to studying again as a mature student. I'm behind on catching up with blogs so will get to your other posts in due course...... :-) xx

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    1. Thanks Mandy- a real shock. Am hoping to find out later this week how she is.

      Bullfinches- glorious. Have seen them most days this week. Hoping they've got children nearby. xx

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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