Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Blooms and babies

How about a little less chat and some action instead for this month’s blooms? Or… do you fancy seeing my baby photos first? Decisions, decisions… so many garden stories…. have you time for a cuppa? Go on… this one’s an easy read.

Okay… are you sitting comfortably? Let’s begin with one of the volunteers that help keep my garden in shape for my Garden Bloom Day postings at this time of year… the Hedgehog.

This little guy and his friends enjoy feasting on slugs and snails… so very welcome visitors are they! I encourage them to return by offering water and extra food sources like sunflower hearts, crushed and whole peanuts (not salted), dried mixed fruit and sultanas. It’s a fair exchange don’t you think?


So many birds are visiting with their young at the moment too. Babies… are all around! Blackbirds, Starlings and House sparrows have brought their newly fledged young to the feeders. I can barely keep up with the demand on sunflower hearts!


Last night (after 9pm) I was delighted to spot a newly fledged goldfinch too… easy to spot any newbies as they peck at the plants until a parent pops over to feed them. Perhaps I’ll get baby photos of goldinches one night. I hope so.


Ah… I wonder if you recognise the cute and fluffy baby in the photos above taken yesterday? This is a young blue tit that perhaps fledged a little on the young side. It left the nestbox almost a week ago.


Yep… I did say nestbox! I am 99.9% certain that these two juvenile Blue tits above came from our Arch Nestbox. I had been hearing chirping from this nestbox when feeding the guinea pigs in the hutch below. I had also noticed this noise increase as Mum arrived and left!

The chirping pitch had also changed to suggest the birds were getting bigger and that there were less of them than at the start. I had no camera in that box to know how many hatched or how many fledged.

Last week, as I was standing at the kitchen sink filling up water bottles for our guinea pigs, at around 9.30pm, I spotted a head peak out of the entrance hole to our Arch Nestbox. The female had been feeding her young. Initially I thought nothing of it until I saw it happen again and again.

I have never seen a bird fledge from a nestbox except on television. I became pretty sure what was happening in front of me. My hands were wet and no cameras were at hand anyway.



The bird finally came out of the box and landed on the top of the Arch just below. I went outside to get a closer look. It flew across towards my hedge and landed on the roof of the bird table. It didn’t wait long and off it flew to one of my neighbours larger trees and I didn’t see it again.

On Sunday, I thought I spotted one or more blue tit juveniles in the garden. The parent (Mum I believe) was seen feeding them. Was this our young birds returning? I have no idea if the bird I watched fledge is in the photos above or below. However, I am pretty sure that this female was the one from our nestbox and she was still feeding her young.



I’m sure you’ll agree that the young do look quite small and vulnerable but that does seem to be how many are when they fledge. I walked to within a few feet of one of them. So, for the moment they have no sense of threat… not that I intended them any harm. Here’s hoping they will get bigger and stronger… it doesn’t take long. Then they just have to get gardenwise now!


Okay… time for the monthly celebration of flowers in the garden… with a few foliage shots too. I’ve joined Carol and many others with a June Bloom posting. Let’s start with my front garden… not baked with the sun this time. It was raining here yesterday… of course its sunny today :-)




Through the garden gate... and the mood of my partially shaded back garden cools you down on warm day but warms you up on a cool and wet day as the foliage covers it like a blanket. This is the area to the side of my house and this video has a finale with my now blooming wisteria...




Through windows... I look out on to the back of my back garden, a narrow but long strip. It is here that I watch the birds at the feeders, the bees buzz around my plants on a sunny day and visits by hedgehogs and bats as the day ends. This videos ends with a special home for wildlife… the hedgehog house my daughter made finally sited in my garden yesterday...




My plan was to end this posting with a few teasing words about more hedgehog stories to come…. which there are! However the tease is on me now as looking out my window I can see a rose (shown in bud in my third video) starting to open! I am thrilled about this as it didn’t flower for me last year (in its first year)


So above, here we finish this posting with a wonderfully scented bloom of the moment, Rose Mdm Alfred Carriere, flowering fashionable late for Bloom Day. That's lucky too as I am posting a day late too (as often the case) making my posting the 141st! Wishing all particiapants a belated Happy Bloom Day :-)

Wishing everyone else, time to enjoy the flowers/blooms in your garden this week. Happy gardening, Happy Bird watching and Happy Widlife watching too!!

All videos shown above were taken in my garden on June 15th 2009. All photos above have been taken above during the last week.

33 comments:

Little Brown Job said...

Lovely shots of the Blue Tit Shirl, still o sign of our little prickly garden helper.

ConsciousGardener said...

Shirl, your garden rocks! Love the videos, I'm going to have to add you to my side-bar! It looks lovely and lush there...wanna trade! Hahaha

Joe said...

Hi Shirl,

Congratulations for the nestbox sucess. I remember the day that the Great Tits fledged from one of our nestboxes last year. It really is so pleasing to know that you have provided a home for a family of birds. Great pics too by the way. We have a couple of Blue Tit fledglings too, but they came from a nest in a garden a few doors away. They seem to be able to feed themselves now and are often feeding from the nut feeder.

I was thinking about moving our camera nestbox from the wall of the house to the end of the garden where they would be less disturbed by us. Hopefully we could get some roosters in the autumn.

Loved the blooms too. I have some flowers to chat about in my next posting too. Looking forward to more hedgehog stories. :)

Mike - Fenphotography said...

Great post Shirl, you are so lucky to have hedgehogs visiting, nice shots of the young too.

Scattered Gardener said...

Hello Shirl, what wonderful planting you have in all your gardens. I enjoyed the music you provided too! Belated Happy BloomDay.

Jean said...

I love your bird photos and your videos! It's such a joy to watch the young birds fledge and try their hand at feeding themselves. We've got lots of red-bellied woodpeckers and house finches fledging right now.

garden girl said...

Hi Shirl! It's so good to finally get back to visit and catch up with your garden and it's inhabitants.

It's heartwarming to see the success of the blue tit mama and her fledgling brood.

Your garden is breathtaking as always - I loved the videos!

It's a relief having Spring Fling behind me, and having the chance to catch up and get back to normal life, including catching up on news around the blogosphere!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

What fun to see the little ones maturing. I've only had starlings nesting here this year. I finally took the bird house down.

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

Wow!
Wow!
Wow!
Your video just knocked my socks off !!
Really impressive work...you amaze me.
Also great garden designs and flowers.

Love the babies !!

urbanextension said...

I really loved the fledglings and hoggie. Thanks for putting this together, it must have taken you ages. I'm finding it hard to photograph everything in the garden at the moment, let alone blog about it as well! Jane

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Hi Shirl!

Where to start commenting?

Love your babies, they look so cute.

Great vids of your front and back garden. Your Wisteria is gorgeous, mine has finished flowering weeks ago. You had to show those blue poppies of course and the thistle in case we wouldn't believe you're in Scotland. ;-)

And congrats on both the new hedgehog house, it looks great and I hope you will find new tenants for it soon, and on the first rose from Madame Alfred. She flowers here too in great profusion and will do the same for you as well soon. I saw her in Sissinghurst too, such a great rose to have!

BTW your orange primula is doing great and it was fun to read a comment from your daughter on my blog.

shirl said...

Hi there Paul, CG, Joe & Mike :-)

Paul - Thank-you! That’s a cracking one you got at your feeders… the starling too. Oh… but I do have a soft spot for the blackbird juveniles. Give the hogs time… if you build it they will come ;-)

CG - Thank-you! Thanks for popping by too :-) I don’t do videos every month but it’s a wonderful way to look back at the garden and a great way to share too. You might guess that I have fun making the vids. Here in Scotland my garden usually looks lush even during dry spells which we’ve just had. We’re lucky that way. Thanks for the link :-D LOL… a trade… perhaps not…with my Scottish fair skin I’d completely melt ;-)

Joe - Thank-you, with not knowing what was going in the nestbox and after it being a few years since we’ve had home-grown babies I didn’t want to jinx it by saying too much, too soon! I agree it is great to know your home has helped a family into the world :-D Ah… it’s a real pity you didn’t get anything in your new camera nestbox (maybe next year) great though that you are seeing some blue tit juvs visiting your garden. It’s your call about moving your nestbox but as for it being disturbed the only nestbox location that has yielded young in my garden is above my guinea pig hutch (which gets noisy activity when I’m cleaning it and chat as we talk to the guinea pigs) and above my (sticky) back door which can be very noisy to close properly. So I’d say the noise can’t always be a problem for nesting birds. Yes, hope you’ll get roosters too… you definitely feel like you are caring for a bird then when you see it tucked in there on a cold night :-) Great to see you are enjoying the plants too and I’ll look forward to your posting on them! Yes… got more observations on the hedgehogs for you :-D

Mike - Thank-you, we really are I know and its fantastic that I can get photos too. The one above I was especially thrilled with as there is a story behind that little hog. I have it as wallpaper on my phone now :-D Thanks, these were quite rushed juv shots and not with the lens I would have used although I am still delighted with them. I had been photographing the installation of the new hedgehog house at the time when I heard their pleas for food. I looked up and saw them on the tree branch. There was no time to get another lens. You’ve got some fantastic juv shots on your blog at the moment, thanks for sharing them :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Scattered, Jean, Garden girl and Robin :-)

Scattered - Thank-you, I enjoyed seeing your plants and I also like your planting combos too. LOL… I do have fun picking the music for my videos and try to edit them in time to the beat too. Of course once they are processed and the image becomes less smooth the music does lose out a little too. LOL… I never sit still making them ;-) Thank-you, and a belated Happy GGBD to you too :-D

Jean - Thank-you, I was thrilled to capture a photo of these birds before they grow up. The videos, are fun to do and I am always delighted to get feedback on them - I ocassionally narrate them too! Yes, it is always funny to watch the young birds try to taste everything from a leaf to the wood of an arch and even when they taste real food (initially) they don’t seem to realise it… they soon do of course :-D Brilliant that you are seeing birds fledge in your garden now too. I’ll take a guess that the woodpecker young are as noisy as the starling young!

Garden girl - I agree, it is great to see a nest success story. She worked hard to try and feed her family all by herself. Thank-you, you know how much I enjoy making the videos. Glad the Spring Fling went well but I can imagine the work that goes on behind it. Even without it catching up on blogs at this time of year can be tricky. I am delighted to see you whenever :-D

Robin - It is, this has been my first glimpses of these young birds so I can imagine they were pretty small when they fledged. Pity, the starlings took over your garden again. Real pity you had to take your bird house down too. That was a beautiful bouquet from your garden and I can imagine how much you are missing getting time in it to be with the plants, birds and butterflies too. Your time there is precious now. All time is precious as you know only to well. Hope your Dad can be made more comfortable. Belated birthday wishes to your son too… time does fly doesn’t it. My daughters are around the same ages as your sons – just a little older. Thinking of you :-)

shirl said...

Hi there Patsi and Jane:-)

Patsi - Thank-you! Your comment did make me smile :-D Good job I didn’t chat through the video too then – I considered it but that does take more time as you can imagine especially as I chuckle etc at my blunders! Thanks, I am always moving plants around and many designs don’t stay that way long. That’s the fun part for me and I can’t imagine gardening any other way :-D Yes… I love those babies too but wonder how they’ll get on in very wet days like today. If Mum were to look in our nestbox with a camera and see it empty they could all dry out in there! Loved the full car boot in your latest posting… that made me smile too :-D

Jane - Nice to see you again, I can imagine that your work with the wildlife trust and your website for them will keep you very busy indeed. Even without all that it is tricky to get the time at this time of year to visit all the blogs you’d to like far less sort photos and post regularly. I try to make a point of posting when I can rather than when I ought to. That way I still enjoy it… just have to work on making my postings and comments shorter! Mm… not sure I can do that… I do try ;-)

shirl said...

Hi again Yolanda:-)

Oh first off… apologies for my lack of comments on your blog recently - although daughter did made a change didn’t it :-) She missed out that Tara had a diploma though!! Clever dog... silly daughter :-o

Okay… I’ll be back later to take time over your Sissinghurts posting but glad you had a great trip and you’ve a new camera now too! Excellent you’ll be able to share even more from all the wonderful garden trips you make :-D

Oh… the blue tit babies were so sweet especially when they puffed up their plumage so close in front of me as if they already understood what a camera was! Do you think they were trying to show their best sides?

Glad you enjoyed the videos… you nearly heard me chat through them too but didn’t have time for all the blunders… it can be nerve racking! Oh yes I am really enjoying my wisteria now but with the rain today the foliage will grow too and soon the blooms will be hiding behind it. It am so thrilled that this plant is now regularly flowering in my garden :-D I thought of you and your trip to Scotland when I filmed my blue poppies and the deep orange red primulas I bought after meeting up with you. That was a fun day :-D

I also think of you with Madame Alfred and I would never have bought it without seeing it in your garden blog! The blog shopping power of the internet… the list just gets longer :-D

Thanks, fingers crossed for many more blooms on Madame Alfred and a first tenant in the new hedgehog house… we would all be thrilled about that :-D

Re said...

Gorgeous babies!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The picture of the hedgehog is so good Shirl. I love seeing the wind blow through your blooms. It makes me feel like I am there. Happy GBBD, happy summer.

Anna said...

Beautiful babes and blooms Shirl. I have a nest in my allotment lean to where my tomatoes are growing ! A wren I think but could be wrong.

Sue said...

Watching the birds is fun! I am tickled to have a wren family join the other birds in the neighborhood.

I loved your videos! Seeing some of them blowing in the wind made me feel I was right there with them. The way they were put together was quite creative.

Liz said...

Lovely photos Shirl, blue tit babies are so cute! :)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Your garden looks wonderful! I wonder if I could import a hedgehog?

Linda said...

Hi Shirl, I enjoyed your video tour. Your bees seemed to be moving very fast to avoid the Perthshire rain - yes, it was raining in Edinburgh too! Your various clematis are beautiful - have you counted how many you have?

A wildlife gardener said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed myself, dear Shirl, catching up with all the goodies I've missed since I last paid you a visit :)

What an amazing array of plants you have in your garden! I admire your choice of plants, the colours, the textural qualities and the variety of foliage.

You have so many lovely varieties of clematis...great for providing all those vital insects for your birdlife in the garden.

Your wistaria is magnificent. You have definitely mastered the pruning technique to achieve all those blooms.

The last set of mecanopsis I saw in as good condition as yours was in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh...well done!

I am so impressed by your flower videos. I didn't know you had so many varieties of foliage plants, superb shrub specimens and unusual flowers.

As for your hedgehog videos...they are so professional! And that amazing palace your daughter made for them...wow!

Great to see the footage of all those chicks too, with the itsy bitsy feathers...brought a tear to my eye!

Thank you for sharing such a cornucopia of delights. It's always a pleasure to visit. I come awau feeling enriched by all you do, and all you share. Nothing is too much trouble for you, Shirl :)

ShySongbird said...

Oh! I did enjoy that Shirl, I loved wandering round your gardens via video, it really was lovely.

All your photos are lovely as always, the fluffy little Blue Tits are so sweet. It really is a great time with all the young birds around but my goodness the food is being eaten so quickly, I always seem to be putting more out!

Your Wisteria looks wonderful and also Madame Carriere, such a beauty! I don't do well with roses the only climber I have has got fed up with me and gone over the fence to the neighbour :)

Have a wonderful weekend, I hope it is sunny for you.

Carol said...

Shirl ... your bird shots are darling... well your photos are great the birds are darling! It is wonderful to create a habitat where wildlife raise their young... and call home. Lovely flowers too! Amazing Really!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I love reading your posts, Shirl... I can't help but imagine your yard to be this paradise of wildlife and gorgeous flowers!

Very fun that the blue tits probably came from your nestbox. Seems like you should be thought of like a foster mother somehow for them. :)

Midmarsh John said...

Really enjoyed watching the videos of your gardens, Shirl. What a beautiful variety of plants you have.
Well done getting the baby Blue Tit on camera. The little ones of all types of birds and animals always look so bewildered and vulnerable.
No doubt you are now watching the new hoggy mansion for signs of someone moving in.

shirl said...

Hi there Re, Lisa, Anna, Sue, Liz, and MMD, sorry for taking so long with my replies :-)

Re – I agree they really are – we’ve had new families visiting in the last few days and I captured some wonderful video footage last night :-D

Lisa – Thank-you, that is my way best photo of a hedgehog and I was delighted with it! Yes, I like sharing the movement of the blooms for bloom day and love looking back at this myself. Perhaps I should include a little piece of video every GBBD. Thanks, wishing you a very Happy Summer too :-D

Anna – Thank-you! Wow… a wren’s nest… probably quite likely as they do seem to nest in the strangest of places! It’s great to hear about the wildlife at an allotment :-D

Sue – Ah yes… I see you enjoy critter watching! I am delighted to hear that you too have a wren family… yes I agree watching the birds is fun. Creating (editing) my videos is great fun too… delighted to hear you enjoyed them. Yes, it is great when the plants blow just gently when I capture my footage. I try to make each video a little different but unfortunately through experience (of uploading in the region of 200 videos) there is limits to how creative I can be… it is way fun trying and experimenting though :-D

Liz – Thank-you! I see your latest posting has some juvenile pics too… very nice shots :-D

MMD – Thank-you… so does yours after seeing it through the eyes (camera lens) of the bloggers which visited at the Spring Fling. It looks like a great time was had by all! LOL… I see people do keep hedgehogs as pets in the US and Canada although they can’t be let out in to the wild as they would die as they are not native to you. Mm… the grey squirrels have managed rather too well after being introduced over here though. I guess hibernation of hedgehogs would be tricky in the wild with you as you have much more extreme temps than us. You are welcome to share our visits anytime :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Linda, WG and Jan, sorry for taking so long with my replies :-)

Linda – Excellent, yes glad you spotted the bees. Funnily enough the rain had litterly just stopped and the catmint was open immediately for business. Yes, my OH works in Edinburgh :-) Thanks, the clematis is becoming a plant I am warming too… I agree they are pretty… how many? Mm… perhaps eight varieties and more are coming into flower now – I love the deep red colour of Niobe :-D

WG – Thank-you, lovely to see you again! Thank-you, I guess you don’t notice the variety of plants when you’ve had them a while and they are tucked in little corners. I have to admit I do always consider the textures and foliage of plants I add and then the colour of flower comes next. This year I am adding more bee friendly plants to my sunny front garden without adding the colour yellow… althougn I am letting pale yellow in ;-) Thanks for your kind compliment on the meconopsis and my other flowers and videos. Yes, I was thrilled to get the hedgehog house out into the garden. I have changed this area a little a few times to entice any passing hogs inside. Ah… I’ve more footage of young ‘uns when I can get time to upload it all. What can I say… your comments do mean a lot :-D

Jan – Excellent… so glad you had time to visit. You are doing a wonderful job with your blog and your postings must take quite a bit of time to prepare… they are well worth your time though. Yes, it is great to see the young ‘uns and I agree the food is going down… and down… and down! Thanks, I am absolutely thrilled that I have finally been able to get my wisteria to flower reliably. I really am not a rose person although I have been really enjoying seeing them in the gardens of bloggers. I picked the two I have, one with its colour (next posting will show this) and the other a climber (Carriere) simply to supply the blue tit parent with a supply of possible greenfly… how sad am I? However the flowers on this one were picked as they are really quite beautiful. I have absolutely no experience in caring for roses so they will have to use their own natural survival instincts in my garden :-) Thank-you we did (it was sunny again), wishing you a wonderful weekend too. Funnily enough, this weekend I am delighted to say that it isn’t sunny here and we have had very light rain… I am thrilled about this as the garden is way to dry and has been that way for ages. The foliage in my garden now looks a little refreshed :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Carol, Kim and John, sorry for taking so long with my replies :-)

Carol – Thank-you… I loved the nestful of young in your last posting. I agree, I am thrilled that parents bring their young into my garden to feed them and go away with beakfuls of seeds back to their nests too. Thank-you, you really have some amazing and wonderful flower shots on your blog but I really cannot get my head round ‘observing and documenting a twenty acre hillside paradise, which includes organically cultivated rambling gardens, fields of organic blueberries, forest, fabulous views and expanse of sky’ what a paradise you must be living in :-D

Kim – Thanks, I am always delighted to have you visit as I know you also share a love for foliage textures and colour too and can be a bit particular about which colour your put where… kindred spirits there! Thank-you, yes the garden does have a paradise of wildlife now since I began blogging and the flowers have been growing in numbers too… via inspiration from other blogs like yours. LOL… yes I certainly feel like a part of the chain somewhere when the parents leave my garden with beakfuls of food for their young. I have been looking out my window on to the feeders as I have caught up with my comments today and it really has made my smile to see how some youngsters are being fed and others are starting to show a little independence and find food for themselves now… just lovely to see :-D

John – Thank-you, I do enjoy sharing these videos and they are a wonderful record for myself too. Pre blog I recorded footage every so often but more often than not didn’t do anything with it and by accident taped over much of it. Yes… I do have a love of plants as you can see… many are home grown too. I was delighted to capture this particular family of blue tits and now we have another new family that has been brought into the garden/feeders. I agree the young do look so bewildered… fascinating to watch though :-) Again, just two young in this new family but this time I’ve caught them with my video camera… a nice capture too. The original young are perhaps visiting on their own now as I am seeing some fending for themselves which is lovely to see! Oh yes… I am mansion watching… changing things around and watching…some more :-D

HappyMouffetard said...

What a gorgeous ball of feathers p what great photos :)

Bird said...

Well I thought the hedgehog was lovely, but I think baby blue tits trump just about anything for cuteness! This weekend I watched a family of mistle thrushes fledge in a busy park - it's mind blowing isn't it? Actually seeing that first flight - or plummet! This is my first visit to your blog I think, and not my last I bet :)

shirl said...

Hi again HappyMouffetard and hello there Bird :-)

HappyMouffetard – it was, wasn’t it… we’ve seen another two balls of feathers since as well! Thank-you I was delighted to get photos of these birds. I am also thrilled to get video of another family that has visited since which you can see in my mammoth recent posting! The schools break up today and I didn't wanted to miss all theses stories out :-D

Bird – Yes, I agree and I don’t really do cute ;-) I’ve just seen your photos of the thrushes… what a treat that must have been for you! Mind blowing I agree that birds go about their lives wither we are around our not. Welcome to my blog… you’ve picked a time to visit when I have been posting less frequently so my most recent posting had been a bit of a news dump! Hope I haven’t put people off :-o Looking forward to browsing more of your blog now too :-D