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Posts Tagged ‘wild birds’

Weather Report and Christmas!

gardens-2392Well as you can see we were in Grey Land for a time, well actually weeks.  All we had were cold, damp misty mornings with no sun and if the sun did come out it was literally just before it set!  So when Michael finds himself wondering why he has another really bad cold……

My friend has told me that the hospital was going full-out with people who had the ‘Gripe (flu) from children through to us oldies.  Then it rained which made it damper but finally the sun came out.  Then of course it was cold at night as well as in the day and one evening Michael sneezed……..

Pleased to say he is on the mend sitting in the kitchen where the fire is and its warmest working for the first time in weeks sitting at the table and on the lemon and honey with the odd Lemsip and Frenadol to help beat this lurgy.

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So how was your Christmas? we spent a quiet day at home and on Boxing day we went to dinner with our friends to Carpe Diem as we did last year.  The decor had changed but the ambience hadn’t it was classic, slightly opulent and cosy all at the same time.  The food was excellent and served with an easy that comes from good staff in an excellent restaurant. And as usual we took a look at the birds and animals as we left, our friend fed the swan and parrots and how could we not say hello to the Big White Mouse……

Grey Land and Radar Traps

Right New Year – Happy Belated New Year to everybody – For years every new years day we have driven to the coast this year was no exception. So we headed for the pass in the hope of leaving grey Land behind us and we did.  However, those sneaky Mossos had put radar traps every so often up and into the pass all we knew was that at the beginning of the run up they put up a warning and you saw the first one very clearly, after that if you were a speed merchant the new year was going to cost.   We were driving in thick mist and sometimes could not see very far in front so it was a good job that in these conditions we drove under the speed limit as every so often I would spot a camera.  If you could see the accidents that happened over the holidays you would have crawled up and over that pass.  Anyway, once over it we found the sun, beautiful warm glowing sun.

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We drove into Tarragona and stopped near the beaches before finding a typical Catalan restaurant where we had lunch.  Now they have done some sand sculptures and people were milling round taking photos and generally admiring them.  Unfortunately some were slightly damaged by the rough weather that had gone through but as you can see they were still works of art.

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Then we drove home back to Grey Land and if you think I am kidding THIS is the entrance to it…. That cloud that the road disappears into is the start of the other pass and as we climbed it got really foggy again it’s what you get for living in mountain ranges and valleys.

A Brief Round Up Of Other Events

You know I am always telling you about the pigs, well we were coming home one night and as we turned into the track there was a WARTHOG!  Now we could not believe it either but after Googling it we were right.  Description: lower back legs, mane of hair, little sticky up tail and went like the clappers when it saw the car.  I have often said we don’t know what we share the forest with and I am now convinced this is the little sod that has been after the saffron bulbs.  Good news the Robins are back, now the boys have someone else to shout at when the robins aren’t having a go at the redstarts or blackbirds. So that’s it really not a lot happened but the year is young.  When it gets a little warmer I shall be out sorting the garden and finishing the wheelbarrow tub bulbs and geraniums in there.

Oh and the other thing Michael has done is put an add out for Clearing In The Forest by M D Bosc if you see it click and take a look won’t cost you anything and who knows you might like the story…..

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

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Well 2015 is closing fast only a few hours to go then a new year begins, strange how it happens every 12 months….  But seriously I would like to wish everyone a Healthy, Peaceful and Happy New Year. 

Christmas in the Forest

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Ok now for some serious stuff.  This little chap as you will know is a white Wallaby and looking cold even though he’s been around for several years. “been around” brings me to the Big Cat…. IT’s BACK!!!!  not our small wild one but, we think the Lynx.  We heard it last night when we were turning off the generator, Michael thought it was a large Boar out there but boars don’t make deep growly grumbling noises.  So this morning we got the camera in and took a look but all it had on it was the car going and coming and an old boy walking up the drive.

Up here at night you develop a sense of something being around be it humans or wildlife, and for the past few nights we have felt a ‘presence’ now we know what it is. So I no longer have to creep forward towards the generator shed torch in hand in the hope of seeing the wild boar, they’re not here and we now know why.

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This cat arrives every so often when weather conditions are strange he didn’t come last year but it has been so dry this year  (we have had one real storm). It is possible that the river has become a watering hole and possible hunting ground, and could explain why we haven’t seen any boar  around recently just foot prints on the track, but if we are lucky 2016 could give us a sighting –  the hunt is on!

The Weather

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Well what can I say, last spring it was sort of wet but nothing like normal. The summer was very hot with no storms,  and now it’s foggy, damp and misty.  This is a picture of the valley around midday, if the sun comes out its only for a short while but you have to admit it turns the landscape into a Japanese look a like.  This is not normal though, there has been a lot of mist along the Ebro Valley which runs from up near Santander right down to the Med. We have also seen tremendous flooding and wild fires along its route which is not comforting.  Even now there are wild fires up north, but we think they have been started deliberately.

The Boys

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Another addition to the farm are these two ‘erberts.  They are a constant source of amusement and provide a calming effect after a stressful day (which can and does happen on a farm).  They are still squabbling over bits of wood, paper and anything else that one has and the other one wants.  Even after buying them a larger cage which can be wheeled about they have escaped and are currently trying to dig a hole in their nesting box.  As I told them you do that and you will fall through the floor, waste of time one just looks at me while the other keeps pecking at the wood.  Some people keep cats or dogs, us we keep a pair of noisy escapees.

The Garden

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Well this is an ever-changing environment.  Ideas come and go – mostly go – because I start off with wanting to put something in one place then when Michael and I start it evolves into either something different but almost what we planned or we don’t like the look of it and start over again.  So a very brief update.  The tyre garden has been finished and planted up with bulbs,  what was going to be a new bird bath is now a new bulb planter (the gang and Michael didn’t like the look of it) so change of plans.  Round behind the house we have started landscaping a small area making stone beds planting bulbs (because they don’t need much water in summer)  and paving the washing line area.  Walls are being built to stop the water – when it rains – from washing earth down onto the patio and the garden away.  The tree garden is still being done having trouble with the water tank for the bird bath but that’s nothing.  most everything else is normal winter work.  I shall be posting a proper garden blog when and as things are finished.

ME!

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Its been a bit of a roller coaster year with my health. I can say that the medical people over here are looking after me very well.  My Blood Pressure still goes up and down but I am being monitored regularly.  They are keeping a watch on the prostrate and kidney, but apart from getting a little tired now and then I am fine.  Our first holiday in years set me up for the year and was a real treat, something I had always wanted to do see the Comarque and the white horses.  A drive round the corner into the South of France and there they were. Nothing stressful, no airports, ques, trains, strange hotels and the other stuff that went with my twice yearly medical’s before.  We could stop as and when we wanted and my wife shared the driving as usual.   I still play petanca though not as much and have not been in as many competitions, but I still enjoy my afternoons.

I am now learning Spanish at school twice a week, which helps me and keeps the old brain ticking over.  Still writing, I’m on my latest novel set in the middle ages so it’s a lot of interesting research keeps me occupied for a while.

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Well that’s about it for 2015,  we are meeting friends for drinks tonight but not going for a meal this year.   Keep safe everybody  see you in the New Year   Bon Fiestas.

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well the past few weeks have been quite entertaining one way and another.   To start with there was Sam who’s job it was to stalk my wife while she was in the garden. Then came Boris Blackbird, a selection of blue and great tits, the black caps, Bobbin Robin, Inspector Thrush and the rest of the gang.  So I have decided to introduce them to you and the ones I have no pictures of are being stalked……

 

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I will start with the newest member Sam.  Sam is a Black Redstart identified by my friend @KierstienRowlands who has unwittingly given my wife and Sam hours of fun with the RSPB birds finder.  She sits in the FF Zone playing the bird calls and when she puts the black redstart on there Sam goes potty thinks he’s got competition.

 

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Next we have “The Gang”  Bobbin, Boris, Dangerous Dan, Elsie and the rest.  I have decided to start keeping an account of the characters up here, they are both entertaining and fascinating.  You never know what you will find when you step out of the door in the mornings or see during the day and evening.   They all congregate around the water bar and still shout and holler when the tank needs filling.  Although if my wife got hold of a few they would have smacked bottoms  digging in her garden is a real no no lol.   Mind you they just stand and look at her so I really don’t think they need worry, however Hunny Bunny might just have a problem.  Wife planted a new rose-bush  two days later one side of the bush had been dug away.  The roots were fine who had done it?  Early next morning we saw the culprit a small rabbit nestled in the dip, needless to say the dips filled in and the bunny sits under one of the water cubes.

This is one of the reasons we love this farm, snakes and all, oh when I was up the top terrace I saw one sunbathing, and no wife was in doors wrapped up she has the flu.  I have been trying to get a tree next to the house to ‘fall down’.  We are not allowed to cut them down but if they fall down ie., still attached to the roots that’s ok, even when making a fire break. So I have cleared the slope of scrub exposed the roots in places and the wind has been howling and blowing a hooley up here – the tree?  still standing!  Mind you if it falls sods law says it will fall across the washing line………..

The bulbs are out in the garden and after the cold its nice to see some colour.  Anemones, crocus, hyacinths, violas, violets, with the tulips, freesias, and dwarf iris out it’s quite a show. the only problem I have just now is that when I am working on the olive trees I come across piggy/goat prints in the ground (not always sure which is which).  But I don’t know where to place the camera on the tree I am currently clearing or the next one along little devils are camera-shy so I have to be crafty.

©  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well they say good things come in three’s and yesterday was no exception. The first came when I opened up my mail and found a note from Kindle I can afford to buy a coffee this week.

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The second? well that was an important discovery or a problem depending on which way it’s looked at. Yesterday it rained! not heavy but just enough to water the plants, dampen the ground and make my wall building go in fits and starts. Anyway, there I was standing in the kitchen looking out at the forest past the ‘Little House’ when a movement caught my eye. I was sure I had seen a bird or something go into the wall (hence could be problem), so I stood there cuppa in hand and waited. Yes sure enough it was a bird. Not just any bird, but Dangerous Dan McGrew punk crest included, now I know spring has arrived.  As I watched I began to define him and Mrs McG as they came and went to the nest. Every now and then Dan would perch on the wire that leads to the wind genny look around then fly to the wall so all that could be seen was his backside.

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So I called my wife, she was so excited that Dan had ‘moved in next door’ that out came the camera and these pictures are the result. I know they are a little hazy but they were taken from the kitchen through the anti Sid netting so all in all not bad. Mind you, she is convinced that Dan is camera-shy as there seem to be more of Mrs McG. We are not sure whether because of being busy they are building or there are chicks as it looks like there’s a worm in her beak.

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Now it has taken her a while but at last we think this ia a picture of Dan and we are hoping that this will be a regular yearly occurrence. So once the winter comes again I will have to make sure that the back wall is in good condition and not being invaded by the bird developers.

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As for the ‘Wall Walker’ we have not as yet seen him, but I have seen that Hissing Sid. I was going out to start my building the other day and there he was as bold as brass sunbathing in front of the flowerpots by the front door.  Now normally I say ‘live and let live’ but an adder is an adder and he has had a bite at my wife plus he was too close to the house for comfort and safety. So I picked up a length of metal and went to ‘see him off’, but he must have sensed me coming and whizzed off, nasty little git.  He has obviously forgotten his agreement with the gang – to stay in the forest not near the house or else…- really must have a word with Bobbin about it.

Living here has its good and bad sides Sid and the odd scorpion are the bad side Bobbin, Dan, Boris and the rest are the good side. Add to that the views from the windows and patio and well its a writers paradise.

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And this picture? well that’s another story. Oh and I almost forgot the third thing that happened was Vincent Dignan has placed me on his list of superb-authors.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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I recently had a conversation with Farmer John regarding 001 Claude Pheasant.  It seems that acting in a James Bond film has seriously gone to Claude’s head, he has got himself a bit of a ‘bird’ problem & Farmer John wondered if I could offer some advice.

It appears that one morning Farmer John answered his door to find a worried Claude furtively glancing over his shoulder. Farmer John noticed at once how Claude seemed to have lost a bit of weight. So he asked Claude what the matter was and Claude said women!

He had been showing some hens the pictures that make up his portfolio and they just swooned.  Well of course he took full advantage of the situation and now regrets doing so.  It seems the ‘ladies’ won’t leave Claude alone and it is costing him a fortune in seed as they expect to be taken to be best restaurants just like other ‘bond’ girls.  Well as Farmer John said what could he do? Ummm  tricky situation.

Whilst Claude was telling his woes to Farmer John the ‘ladies’ in question turned up and sat on the fence preening themselves whilst they waited for 001 Claude. It seems they think Claude actually is a special agent, obviously did too good a job.

Poor Claude Farmer John really felt sorry for him so he asked the ladies their names.  The lady on the left (partially hidden) is called Hot Hanna Pheasant (HH Pheasant her family have a place in Arundel)  whilst the lady listening to Farmer John is called Lady Upforit Pheasant (LU Pheasant her father makes porcelain items).  Farmer John & I both had to admit the ladies are both well-rounded and rather tasty.

Well the only advice I could offer was to take a leafy out of Stanly’s activities. Claude should take up contracts then he could afford as many meals as his ladies could eat.  That did the trick, 001 Claude found a contract taking out a couple of woodies who were running riot in the salad garden. The result a large dish of seed in the ‘Under Stool’ restaurant as often as he wants.

With the hope the Bond films will contact Claude.

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The other day we were sitting drinking coffee on the terrace when Bobbin Robbin paid us a visit. He landed on one of the plant pots then hopped down under the table.  I said ‘hello what are you up to?’ but he ignored me and hopped towards my wife and the following conversation took place.

Bobbin Robbin: Peck peck

My Wife: Hello Bobbin what do want?

BR: It’s all right for you humans you can get a drink anytime you want but there is no water up here and we birds are thirsty.

MW: So what do you want me to do?

BR: Build us a Water Bar so we can have a drink

MW: Is that all?

BR: Well if it was big enough for the odd bath it would be even better.

MW: You cheeky bird and when would you like this built?

BR: Oh no rush anytime today will be fine.

Thus the conversation finished. I was surprised to see my wife rise and wander off to look for a suitable dish. How does that bird do it? I must remember to ask him.

Anyway I had some wood to cut so I left them to it and went up the field. When I returned I found that not only had a water bar been installed but cemented in place and filled.  Then the trouble began.  The Great Tits had decided that bar would also make a good bath and promptly proceeded to prove just that.  There were several birds in the tree and some on the ground shouting the odds about not being able to get a drink. When at last the bird finished there was no water, so a great deal of tweeting went on until the bar was filled again.

Now every morning there is a lot of shouting and hollering until the bar is filled again and as I say to my wife “you built it and filled it your problem” and at 7o’clock in the morning that is a sound fact.

Here are a few of the regulars who drink at the Water Bar:

When Big Blue arrived the others gave him a wide berth but he just had a couple then flew off.  You should have heard Bobbin then all returned to normal.

Then just as I thought I’d seen it all this happened.  Bobbin hopped onto the Water Bar looked directly at my wife with the camera said “thank you we really appreciate the Bar”  then flew off.  You see birds are grateful.

Bobbin Robbin saying thank you

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Since I have not been doing the driving into town I have been able to sit in the passenger seat and watch the river while my wife drove. It was during one such trip that I noticed a heron standing in the same spot at the end of an island several days running, still as a rock looking for his dinner. He looked fit and healthy standing tall and still, until that is Monday, when I noticed he was out in the river up to his bum in water, why I remarked  did he have to move from what looked a perfect fishing site. My wife who when we were home in the UK chased several Herons from our fish pond, remarked that probably being true to form he’d been a right erbert and eaten all the fish in the shallows.   She hoped he could swim as there are some rather large cat-fish in the Ebro he’d make a nice snack for someone…

It has been some days now since I have been down the river road but the other day I saw Erbert sitting on some weed head tucked into his shoulders looking very sad. I did wonder if he had eaten all the fish in that small area of eddies, but later that afternoon things became clear. The petanca courts are by the river and I noticed a large flock of cormorants being buzzed by a fish eagle, who obviously  did not appreciate their greedy ways. So hopefully Erbert has an ally in him even albeit a strange one.

For several days now we have not seen Erbert at his usuall spot and were wondering if he had eaten all the fish there, however, we noticed the river has risen and his ‘perch’ was underwater.  So imagine my surprise when at the petanca courts I glanced across the river and there on the other bank with some Egrets was Erbert, like a swan in a duck pond.

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