Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Feathered friends

This stretch of superb weather has brought the garden and local wildlife on in leaps and bounds, lets just hope that our summer hasn't arrived early and this is it for the next few weeks. Ever the optimist, I'm hopeful that we'll have a long, balmy summer, stretching through to September, how fabulous would that be.......

I'm always waiting in anticipation at this time of year for the arrival of the swallows. The house and sand martins have been here for a good few weeks, darting around in the sky. I checked the diary from last year, they had arrived on 2nd of May, a year ago today. We were getting ready to go to the local farmers market on Saturday when I spotted the arrival of the our first swallow, sat on the telephone line chattering away. Such a fantastic sight, and a feeling that summer is just around the corner. We have the remains of a few nests in the eves of the stables but since we've lived here none have ever nested there. Maybe this year we'll be lucky enough to have them as guests over the summer.

The warm weather has been kind to all the young birds that we have too, the feeders are constantly covered in tits and finches, we even get regular visits from the woodpecker. We have a couple of blackbirds and a thrush constantly bobbing around on the lawn hunting for worms so they must have nests close by in the hedgerows.
While in the workshop yesterday morning fishing out some screws to go with a pinboard order, I could hear the constant tweeting of what sounded like a young bird, I assumed it had maybe fallen out of it's nest, so I went to investigate. To my delight, I found a mother dipper flying back and forth to her young fledgling perched on a stone in the middle of our burn. It slowly followed her down the burn, carefully flying from one stone to the next. She kept returning with beakfulls of food for it. Our ducks were quite intrigued and followed them all the way down the burn! I heard it again in the afternoon and amazingly managed to get some really close up pictures of the baby, looking very fat and fluffy!
On the domestic fowl front we are getting very close to hatching day with our french cuckoo maran, hopefully this Sunday or Monday we'll be hearing little cheeps of chicks from underneath her, I'm so excited. A hen takes around 21 days to incubate fertile eggs, believe me it's been the longest 3 weeks ever!
After our disastrous attempt at moving our little duck and her nest, we managed to find the other nest with 11 eggs in it, tucked underneath a tuft of grass in our neighbours garden! I took advice and moved the eggs into a little coop and have sat one of our broody bantams on them. Duck eggs takes around 28 days to incubate, so we'll be at the halfway mark this Friday. Fingers and toes crossed that they hatch, I'm so looking forward to playing surrogate mummy this summer.


Victoria May Plum said...

I'm also an optimist, and I am convinced that summer is here to stay!
Lovely photos, they have really brightened up my morning.
Victoria x

Anonymous said...

How lovely is that baby dipper!? Very exciting to have all these eggs waiting to hatch too.
I love swallows. In the summer I stay in the west coast of Scotand looking after some holiday cottages. The barns there are full of swallows and their young. Their antics are hilarious. After a while there are less and less of them as they start out for Africa. It always makes me a little sad to see them go.
Annie x

carolyn said...

Nothing much sweeter than baby birds, good luck with your hatchings.

Alison said...

This time of year is great waiting for the first sighting of swallows and house martins and watching my pair of wrens building their nest and then feeding their young in the bush by my office window at home.
I hope those duck eggs hatch.
Alison x.

Nonnie said...

Oh that picture of the little babe is so gorgeous. I love reading about the wildlife in your garden. Makes me long to escape London. Looking forward to seeing cute pictures of furry chicks in the coming weeks. I'm keeping fingers crossed for you that the duck eggs will hatch. So exciting for you!
I'm definitely optemistic for a long warm summer.

Ragged Roses said...

Fingers crossed for a long warm summer! That bird picture is beautiful, it is such an exciting time of year for being outside and enjoying it all. Good luck with the ducklings and the seedlings.
Kim x

Sarah said...

Brilliant Piccy! I LOVE the bird shouting! - Looks just like a minature town crier...!!!

Primrose Hill said...

Well after a very foggy and dreich morning the sun is coming out! Yet another glorious afternoon, shame I've got so much sewing to do!
Sadly, our little drake has gone missing, not sure whats happened to him, no piles of feathers anywhere? One of the female ducks has gone off and laid ANOTHER nest, what are these ducks all about?
I'm really chuffed with the picture of the dipper, I just sat really still in the middle of the burn and fired off loads of snaps, while getting a rather wet bottom in the process!
L x

Anonymous said...

This is so exciting. I can't wait to hear about the new baby fowl.

Two things.
1. Would you email over the image of the sponge cake so I can post a picture of it on the side bar posting. I will give you photo credit it.

2. What digital camera are you using? It looks terrific. I am in need of a digital camera to post pictures on my blog and website.
I would love the quality to be as good as yours is. Would you please Let me know the name and style number of the camera you are using?
robin sherwood frecklefarm blogspot.

Marie said...

Hi Lisa

Aren't swallows amazing - they make that incredible journey from Africa each year and reappear as the weather improves.

I love the baby dipper! Hope that the hatchings are successful.

Marie x