Wednesday, 8 June 2016
Of Bees And Baby Birds
At the risk of encouraging an online reputation as a consumer of puddings and very little else, I give you the above : a Forgotten Pudding. Have you tried/ made one before? This one came courtesy of nigella and is basically a meringue put in when the oven is at 220 and then switched off and left to cook very slowly throughout the night. The resulting creation is little short of heaven (especially when smothered in vanilla cream and topped with fresh fruit). Licking the spoon and gazing seductively at the camera (should there happen to be one present whilst you are cooking- it doesn't happen to me all that often I confess) is, of course, optional. I found I managed to make it Quite Well without.
We have baby birds and bees coming out of our ears here this week. All sorts of bees and all sorts of baby birds. It's rare for me to get through Spring without at least one small feathered creature turning up and asking for help. So far this season there have been two. First, the Small Goldfinch you'll see in my hands in the pic. They are nesting in the wisteria and he fell/ flew out. After checking him over and looking in vain for his parents, I managed to persuade him to get off my hand and hop down into the bushes to await their return. This was somewhat hampered when he flew back out of the bushes and on to my knee, but we got there in the end.
Second, was a baby Robin who had an extremely rough day yesterday. It started badly when he flew into the patio door and stunned himself. M put him out of dog reach on the patio table (forgetting that Pop likes to climb on the table to stare at the fishermen) and forgot to tell me. The baby duly recovered and, unbeknown to me, hid by the garage where the rats nest, so of course when the dogs showed an interest I assumed it was a rats nest and left them to it. After several hours, they emerged triumphant with a small brown speckled baby robin clamped in their jaws. Pop snatched him from Ted and then dropped him when I bellowed. Scooping him up I was certain he was a gonner, gasping with beak open and eyes shut, little heart racing and utterly limp in my hands.
I sat beneath the Willow tree and whispered a prayer that together the tree and I might save him. Twenty minutes later he opened his eyes, shut his beak and hopped upright in my hands. I put him in the same place as the Goldfinch (who by then had disappeared, hopefully reunited with parents) with the same level of difficulty because warm sheltering hands are preferable to a cold shrub apparently, and left him some water and grub because the poor soul hadn't eaten or drank all day. I checked this morning and he's gone too. Fingers crossed.
Apart from these two there are blue tit, great tit, blackbird, and coal tit children in the garden all screaming for food from anyone who'll listen. The Blue tit's Child did Quite Well in almost persuading a Great tit to feed him. I wish I'd had the camera to record the look of momentary confusion on the Great tit's face as he contemplated this small, blue, demanding feathered thing. The Coal tit's parent got stuck in the greenhouse and required rescuing (although between you and I I suspect he went in there for a moment's peace) and I had to perform emergency surgery on a Red Damselfly who eclosed out of the pond with two of his wings stuck together. I am proficient at this operation, having performed it last summer on a Broad Bodied Chaser Dragon so I knew what to do and with a little gentle persuasion the wings sprang free and non-wonky flight was achieved.
On the Bee Front, there is currently a small-ish swarm of honey bees waggle dancing on the wall outside the back door literally as I type. I've not seen a waggle dance performed close up before and it did make me smile. They rush round and round in a circle waggling themselves energetically. Apparently, they are absolutely certain that a hole in the bricks in the wall (which they seem to have forgotten they considered and rejected a few weeks back) is the most des res for bees around, and I rather suspect more of them will turn up to attempt moving in before nightfall. This sort of thing happens here on a fairly regular basis and I tend to let them just get on with it - once they've had enough they generally move on elsewhere.
My clinic roof is currently playing host to a nest of tree bees who land on the wall and waddle charmingly up into the roof in a fairly constant stream. The nepeta and salvia buzzes with early bumbles and carder bees by day, and a huge swarm of Silver Y moths by night. The latter turned up this week after flying over the sea. I think it'll be a good year for them. We also have thirty Small Magpie moths living round the pond who flit about at dusk like a small cloud and the moth box this week yielded four Poplar Hawks and one Elephant, so things are hotting up.
It's been a fabulous week for wildlife here already, possibly topped off on Monday by the appearance of a Barn Owl, who floated across the lane right in front of me in the gloaming as I was seeking a pair of yowling, shrieking Tom cats. There is something about Barn Owls. Badger Cam has also come up trumps with several badgers romping about, scent marking, gobbling up peanuts and scratching for the camera each night it's been out. I await cubs :o)
Hope all are well?