Friday, 8 June 2007

Evening stroll

It’s Friday night and I had planned a bit of light entertainment here – perhaps a film? Unfortunately time does not stretch as we’d like it too – maybe next week. However, our garden did have a little unexpected activity tonight – in the shape of a guinea pig having an evening stroll.

My teenage daughter, you could guess she was hosting the reindeer slipper, got two guinea pigs for her birthday. Tonight one, Dora, was very interested in the daisies in our lawn. Usually she goes out into an enclosed run but, hey, I thought we could let her loose and see what she did? She was drawn to the edge of the grass for some reason – how did she know it was there? Well, that is a question I have absolutely no answer for.

I stood, ready to catch Dora if she strolled too far – she was picking up considerable speed. It was the camera or the pig – as a parent I felt I should choose the pig. My assistant cameraman was unfamiliar with my camera, hence the red eye, but got the shot I asked for as you can see above. However, we do have another shot of Dora as you can see below and she really is quite a cutie.

Have a fun weekend- whatever you do!

4 comments:

Clare said...

Hi,
Found your pages when googling for bluetit fledgling survival, so was surprised to see a guineapig! However, I am a bit of a guineapig enthusiast so that was a good sign.
We had a nestbox full of babies, it seemed to be at bursting point, but on Wednesday I only saw 3 leave the nest, and sadly, one of them appeared to have hit the frame of our guineapigs' outdoor run as it landed and was clearly dead. The other two were being fed on the ground by the parents but a few minutes later they had gone and there's been no sign of any adults or babies since.
How do the young survive, as they seemed so helpless there on the lawn, and apparently unable to fly? Can they really fend for themselves?

shirl said...

Hello Clare,

Don’t worry - young birds seem very resilient from what I have seen in my garden. Sadly though, some do crash land on their first flight – but into your guinea pig run :-(

Once young birds have fledged the parents can be seen feeding them – I think the idea is that they take them to feeding stations so that the young birds see where to find food for themselves. Often, but not always, parents continue to feed their youngsters who can be seen following the parents with open mouths.

What about blue tits? Well, last year we saw five young in out in our garden who all came to the feeders together – we never noticed the parents feed them at all. They did seem more unaware of danger – but by keeping together they had safety in numbers. We enjoyed watching them all and they did appear to learn how to survive very quickly. Perhaps you will see them return to your garden. If you have feeders you could put out sunflower hearts - they love them!

As for being able to fly – I think it is instinctive so don’t worry about them. We weren’t lucky with the chicks in our Camera Nestbox this year but if they did fledge, as yours did, in the last week we would have seen them practising flapping their wings inside the box!!

You were quite correct, Clare, in not expecting to see a guinea pig here! I have been writing since November and finding the whole blog thing very interesting. Recently, I read of a business blogger who choose Friday night to do something a bit different and he wrote and displayed photos of squid! He thought it a break from the usual blog and it was something he was very knowledgeable on. I thought it an interesting idea – make Friday nights unpredictable! What a surprise then for me, also, for this post to bring a blue tit query with a guinea pig enthusiast. Welcome, I hope you return.

doug and jackie said...

This is the last post on the blue tit saga! We opened our two boxes today and found four little corpses in each one. These had probably perished for the sake of the successful fledglings,whom we havn't seen since they left.I think they must have died at the same time as the second box were far smaller and they flew later. On thinking back I reckon it was when the night temperature fell to around 5C. Enjoy this lovey weather we are going to tackle the overgrown lawn which we left for the sake of the bluetits' tranquility

shirl said...

Hi again, Doug and Jackie

I am very sorry to hear you lost so many chicks in your Nestbox – especially when all looked promising. It is quite upsetting to see the little limp bodies but it seems the smaller the bird/animal the more young they produce. Also, the size of the species in turn reflects the number of young produced – an elephant will have only one and some fish will have millions.

So, Blue Tits may lay more eggs than perhaps can survive as an insurance against losses. However, it is not unusual for all the chicks to survive - nature really is quite amazing. Usually the dead chicks are removed by the parents so no disease etc harms the other chicks. I would take a guess that they were all almost ready to fledge – the older chicks went first and as the rest were the weaker and younger they sadly all died.

It was a lovely, very warm, day yesterday to get your lawn cut – we were painting trellis and it dried pretty quickly. This morning the weather doesn’t look quite so promising. We need to get our lawn cut too – hope it is dry later.

Happy Gardening.