Long Tails TWTW # 110

Greetings! As I write this there are long-tailed tits in the tree outside my window again. They’ve been regular visitors, normally coming at the same time each day. Looking for insects in the tree and then checking out the bird feeders before getting on with their day. Love ’em.

We also had a buzzard fly-by – the local gulls were not impressed but the buzzard really couldn’t care less.


I filled in a “wellness” survey from my local council this week. It asked all sorts of questions about lockdown 3.0 and other things. It was a bit of an insight into what the council considers and doesn’t consider to be wellness.

Part of my mental wellness has been to massively shift what finds its way into my twitter and other social media feeds. On twitter I’ve been using lists much more, and have now curated an artists list so that I get some beautiful images to look at. If you’re interested in adding it you can find it here. I’ve printed out a few of these pictures and pasted them into my journal.


I watched a bit of the US Presidential Inauguration ceremony this week. The Bernie Sanders memes have been pretty much all over the internet this week but the poet Amanda Gorman was the show stealer for me. You can read / watch her here.


Reading. I read Colin Dexter’s Daughters of Cain this week. A good Inspector Morse mystery, and although I’d worked out what had happened there was a nice twist to story towards the end that I didn’t spot. This is one of the later Morse books, and Morse’s health is beginning to fail and the tv series is starting to show much more in the character of Morse than in the early books, pre-tv series. In those early books, Morse is a slightly different character to the later ones, not in a bad way and it doesn’t detract from the story but if you read the books and watch the tv shows it is noticeable. It’s also interesting how the “young Morse” tv show – Endeavour – is picking up on some of the interactions that appear in the books but again the character of the younger Morse is very different to how he appears in the books later in life.

I bought this box set secondhand in a charity shop back at the end of 2019, when I was still doing regular trips down to Somerset to visit a client. Those days seem like such a long time ago now. I hope that charity shop has managed to keep going during the pandemic, it was quite small but always had some interesting stock and fantastically friendly staff.


Watching. We finished our Game of Thrones binge with the final season. If you haven’t seen it I won’t spoil the plotlines, but I didn’t enjoy how it ended.

We’ve also been watching reruns of Endeavour (see reading above), although these are reruns they’re new to us, I’m not sure why we never watched these when they were originally broadcast.



Work. Another quiet week overall, although the allotment talk I mentioned last week has been confirmed and I had a second enquiry. It got me thinking that maybe groups are thinking that there won’t be much in-person speaking happening during the main part of the year for these things (Spring and early summer) so there might be mileage in online talks for at least part of their membership.


Allotment. We’ve had some shed break-ins on the allotment site this week. Last year the site management installed CCTV because there had been some thefts, and then they extended the system because the thieves simply moved to parts of the site that weren’t covered, and that’s exactly what has happened this time. I was skeptical about the installation of the CCTV and it’s one of those things that you can’t prove how many thieves it has deterred and how many have simply just worked around the placement of the cameras. I’ve been lucky and my shed has been left alone – not that there’s anything much in there worth stealing – but the plot below mine had the door removed from the shed but nothing taken.


That’s all I have for this week. Take care and stay safe.

Buzzards Overhead

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I was out at a meeting for a proportion of yesterday, when I came back I was sitting at my desk catching up on some emails, when I heard the distinctive call of a buzzard outside. I grabbed my camera and stepped outside.

There were two individuals and they seem to be having a lot of fun soaring and diving in the sky. I managed to capture a few images.

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Bird Friday

I was sitting at my desk this afternoon, looking out across the garden. We’d had a funny morning weather wise, going from bright and sunny to sleet, hailstones and squally rain. By now the sun was back and the birds active, in particular a female blackbird, picking up sticks and leaves and other things and taking them into our honeysuckle bush. I think she’s nest building as there was quite a bit of tooing and froing collecting supplies, then back into the honeysuckle, which was rustling with her presence.

The blackcaps were back again too, again two male birds, so they’re obviously sticking around.

My afternoon dog walk was also full of birds. There was lots of bird song, and another buzzard sighting. This time the buzzard was soaring overhead, riding the air currents. I manage to snap a few photos on my phone.

Finally a little robin paid us an up close visit.

   
    
   
 

Leap Day Wildlife

I started the leap day off right with a buzzard sighting at the Fort. One (large) buzzard flew overhead as I was walking the dogs this morning, pursued by 2 crows. Strangely all 3 birds were silent, and if I hadn’t been looking at the time, I probably would have missed them.

Normally the crows call out and harass a buzzard they are trying to drive away, so that it draws attention to what they perceive as the interloper.

The buzzard gracefully slipped through the upper branches of the trees to shake off it’s pursuers.

A few steps later, I also saw some fresh deer prints in the mud, another good sign.

Surprise Buzzard & Sparrowhawk

Buzzards
Buzzards

My morning dog walks are tending to be a little longer at the moment as there is no train to catch to work (at least for now). The chance to take a little longer and walk a little further is good for my mental health if nothing else. When I get back I tend to sit down and look through the job alerts that have come through, earmarking any that I am going to submit an application for, and if there is nothing else to do (the last two days, I’ve been preparing a proposal for a client), get on with the applications.

This morning, just as we were heading for home, I heard a bird of prey calling. When I turned and looked up I saw first one and then a second buzzard circling. As I continued to watch a Sparrowhawk appeared.

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I wonder whether she was hoping for some smaller birds to be spooked by the buzzards and then be able to swoop in for a meal.

Quite pleased with the camera phone photos above, cropped in google photos.

Catch Up

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve managed to post here and there are a few things to catch up with.

Allotment

 It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the plot, with lots of the seeds I’ve sown germinating and coming along well. The potatoes have shot ahead, and are now earthed up in their final ridges. I’ve got my fingers crossed that we won’t have any hard frosts because they are a little exposed. I’m sowing and planting most weeks now, and by the end of May most things should be in, and then succession sowing can begin. It’s also been a great couple of weeks for seeing birds on the plot. Buzzards, heron and kestrel have been some of the highlights.

I’ve also written and submitted my first blog for Regatta. I won a competition to write for them, in return for the exposure and free kit. Writing for them stopped me from writing here last week as I was up against a deadline, but hopefully normal service can resume. I’ll post a link to that post when it’s live.

The last few weeks have also been pretty dry, with little rain, so it’s meant hand watering the plot. As most of the seedlings are under cover this takes a bit of time, as they have to be uncovered first. Yesterday we had a lot of rain though, which has even things out a bit. Not sure what the long range forecast predicts for the next few months but hopefully it won’t be too hot and dry, and although it’s an old wives tale the Oak was out before the Ash this year.

Work

Probably most significantly in the last two weeks is that I’ve found out I’m going to be made redundant at the end of July. This is partly voluntary, so I have at least been able to make some short term plans, but it means I’m going to be job hunting soon, which I’m not particularly looking forward too, having pretty much been continuously employed for the last twenty years!

Reading

Has been a pretty mixed bag. I finished reading “The Peregrine: The Hill of Summer and Diaries. The Complete Works of J. A. Baker” which was a fantastic read. It was an Easter present, and a book (The Peregrine) that I’ve been meaning to read for some time. I have another copy of the single book, but have never gotten around to reading it until now. I’d recommend if you like nature books.