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?



  1. Cubs, now that would be wonderful to see, you have been very busy rescueing the birds and hopefully the chicks are all OK. It seems to be all happening on your patch.

  2. I used to make this Nigella recipe years ago and I had forgotten it too,it is so good for this time of year. I'm so glad that you helped that poor baby robin to recover especially after being caught by the dogs. Sarah x

  3. It's a wonder you've got anything else done i.e. eating with all the excitement with the wildlife. Spring watch have had a busy day too. x

  4. I was so hoping for a short video of you seductively licking the cooking spoon and smiling suggestively at the camera...Nigella style. ;0} !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Your garden is very busy indeed...what busy birds, feeding and growing. I love barn owls..what a lovely thing to see.
    On my walk (actually my third) yesterday - my husband and I saw a Wedge Tailed Eagle scaring up all the parakeets out of the trees and it had the magpies in quite a tizzy. He flew over in a leisurely style...caused a complete stir and flew off. All the birds twittered for some time...very Rhubarb and Custard style...I guess they found it terrifying and exciting all at the same time....
    Love to you...glad you are back to doing more regular blogs...I love reading them. xxx

  5. Goodness me, it's full-on wildlife drama at the moment isn't it. We've been watching Springwatch and the constantly open mouths of great tits. Somehow they are being reared by a blue tit, poor thing, she's got confused somehow and now she's trying desperately to keep these big chicks filled up. I'd also forgotten about the Forgotten Pudding, but you're right, it's divine. I shall make one again soon, the strawberries are starting to ripen. Well done on the goldfinch and robin rescues. My neighbour had a baby blue tit land in an empty watering can a couple of years ago. Of course he couldn't get out and had to be helped. CJ xx

  6. I googled the recipe after your comment on my blog and remembered I had it in a book somewhere. I'm looking forward to the soft fruit being ready to make it. We looked after (briefly) a baby robin many years ago which we named Oscar. He disappeared after a couple of weeks of being feed meal worms I do often wonder if he got away safely. My current ward is a blackbird with one leg. He cope admirably and feasts on the pears I put out for him. Rocky tries his hardest to scare the birds off, naughty dog though I did giggle at Ted and Poppy's exploits. Quite a few honeybees this year here but not as many bumbles xx

  7. I so enjoyed reading this and looking at all your wonderful photos. No baby bird rescues needed here - yet. I especially love to see all the young come down to the pond for a bath and brush up. Barn Owls are one of my favourites. Watching them fly low over a field of stubble in the evening gloaming is one of my highlights. Hoping to see Nightjars soon. We had a walk planned for last week but it poured with rain. Also I wanted to tell you I saw a Painted Lady feeding on my Sweet Williams the other day. She stood out really well against the white flowers otherwise I don't think I would have spotted her. Lots of damselflies hatching but no dragonflies yet. Always a treat to see you here CT.

  8. The pudding looks delicious and perfect for the first summer fruits. That is great that you've been rescuing the baby birds and its lovely to hear that you've so many fledglings about. I hope the bees find a suitable new home. There are many swarms around here and I do hope those not picked up by beekeepers can make it through all the heavy showers.

  9. Gosh, you have been busy with all that rescuing! What a lucky robin to have survived all that trauma. You make me want to rush out into the garden and watch the birds - sadly, the pollen count is so high here today that 5 minutes spent dead-heading the roses has given me sneezes and itchy eyes. Maybe a cup of tea and a bit of 'through the window' bird watching - a slice of your Forgotten Pudding would go down a treat too! xx

  10. Fantastic images from a wonderful time of year. Well done on helping out the baby birds, poor little Robin chick what a day indeed. I've seen lots of blackbird chicks recently and a few Herring gulls have nests with 3 chicks-so far so good.

  11. We have blue tits nesting in our garden wall just outside the landing window, so it is a great temptation to waste time just watching. Mum and Dad are in and out all day feeding hungry mouths. It can't be long now before they hatch and I really don't want to miss it.

  12. What a lovely week of nature, not seen as many tree bees this year, have another nest of bumblebees in the roof, sadly blue tits abandoned nest.
    Old man noted to us that there was a Hedgehog in the garden and have had some lovely moths over this past week.
    Hope the book is coming on and you are looking forward to the summer holl's.
    Take care Amanda xx

  13. Wow it is all go chez CT Towers isn't it! Countryfile has nothing on your garden right now with so much coming and going and so many different animals doing their things. It is good that you are there to care for them. I will always think of you in two regards, T&P - of course! - and then as the bee rescue lady. You are though the anything wildlife rescue lady and I am sure that is why they come to your garden. They know they will get help! Hope you have a good weekend with the wildlife!

  14. I could have done with you just now - saw a brown butterfly fitting about in a rather moth-like fashion on the chalk meadow. Couldn't get a pic. A lady stopped to ask me what it was. We discussed the difficulty in identifying brown butterflies (and brown birds). Hey ho. Another corker of a post, CT. I love the thought of you as Nature Woman, rescuing all and sundry (another book character perhaps...). I've not made the Forgotten Pudding before - it sounds (and looks) fabulous. How wonderful to see a barn owl. Have a super weekend. Sam xx

  15. We have baby birds Hastings style - Herring gulls on the roof. The babies are pattering about now. We have been awake since 5.30 as the screeching parents keep the local magpies at bay.....

  16. That picture of the baby robin in the hand absolutely warms my fingers are crossed as well. You have a huge heart - that is evident by the way you write about these beautiful creatures :)

  17. Hey CT,
    On Sunday I had just sat down after putting Pops to bed. I was contemplating the tv when something in the front garden caught my eye. A whirlygig blur of feathers bouncing from shrub to shrub and then to the ugly palm tree. I slowly opened the front door to investigate further, and spent the next half hour entranced by the spectacle of a couple of fledgling wrens and their parents. The little ones were obviously practicing their flying skills, until Mum herded them into bed inside the fronds of the palm tree. It was simply wonderful. And I never even knew a nest was there!
    Leanne xx


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