Wednesday, September 23, 2009


My thanks, as ever, to Angit for directing me to the website. Go there, blowse yourself all over, and get with happy crap.

Friday, September 18, 2009


My rehabilitator friend, Deborah, faces the biggest challenge yet - to nurse a recently-fledged Nightjar back to health. It is apparently uninjured, but is seriously underweight and seems reluctant to take food. Deborah has tried various insects and insect mixes, and we finally came up with the idea of feeding live insects caught in a mothtrap. The bird still wouldn't voluntarily open its gape for the wriggling prey waved in front of it, but seemed pleased with the prey items once Deborah had forced its gape open. We still don't know if it will pull through, but in the meantime, I can tell you that it is a joyous experience and a privilege to have this bird sitting in the palm of your hand.
Nightjars, closely related to the American Nighthawks, are often known as "goatsuckers" from the age-old belief that their huge gaping bill was designed to enable them to suckle on sheep and goats after dark. I love the Turkish variant - รงobanaldatan - which translates as "shepherd deceiver".

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A short sweet thread from the Cambirds group

In, Gavin P wrote:
A Hobby shotting over Cambourne yesterday evening was a nice surprise.

In, jake allsop wrote:
"shotting"? Either a vowel or a consonant has gone astray here, Gavin!

In, Richard B wrote:
Probably the vowel, given it was over Cambourne.

In, Mike N wrote:
Must've been a Wildvowel with all the gravel pits around... Sorry, I'll leave now ;-)

Cambourne, for those who don't know, is a modern development and considered soulless by many.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

From yesterdays Bristol Evening Post:

My thanks to Angit for the following:


Outside Bristol Zoo is the car park, with spaces for 150 cars and 8 coaches. It has been manned 6 days a week for 23 years by the same charming and very polite car park attendant with the ticket machine. The charges are £1.00 per car and £5.00 per coach.

On Monday 1 June, he did not turn up for work.

Bristol Zoo management phoned Bristol City Council to ask them to send a replacement parking attendant.
The Council said, No! "That car park is your responsibility."
The Zoo said, No! "The attendant was employed by the City Council... wasn't he?"
The Council said, No! "What attendant?"

Gone missing from his home is a man who has been taking daily the car park fees amounting to about £400.00 per day for the last 23 years...!

£2,400.00 a week…Tax Free!!

I was wondering how to supplement my meagre pension income.....

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pallid Harrier

This bird is a mega-rarity in Britain, with only a handful of records of wandering birds. So, imagine our excitement when one was spotted on Haddenham fen a couple of days ago. I - and a few other local birders - had never seen one before, so it was bins and scopes to the ready, scan the fen, and finally locate it gliding and swooping in marvellous acrobatic flight. It's still in the general area, but I don't think I will go and find it again. I had my blood pressure checked this morning - 80 over 120, not bad for an old scrote - and I don't want to take any health risks where birds are concerned. Or women on tractors for that matter.

Cute kids, cute birds

We also took my Kiwi grandsons, Joseph and Matthew, with us on Barn Owl expeditions, and here they are holding owlets and looking slightly bemused, but I think they did enjoy themselves. Matthew above, Joe below.
You will gather from this that I have had visits this summer from both sides of the family. They've all gone back now, leaving me with poignant memories and an incontinent Zebra Finch for company. Ah well, that's the way it crumbles, cookiewise.

What's for dinner, dad?

When Peter W and I checked one of our Barn Owl boxes a week or so back, we found EIGHT prey items in the box, uneaten, not surprisingly as the young owls already had full bellies. Clearly the parents are experiened hunters. The rodents are of several species: wood mouse, field vole, common/pygmy shrew and water shrew. I leave you to sort out which is which.
Talking of owls, we took my eldest granddaughter, Sophie, with us on one or our expeditions, and here she is, proudly holding an owlet in her hands (It's ok, she is legally covered by our licences!).

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Spotted stripy bum

My spotted stripy bum (the free translation of its scientific name, Taeniopygia guttata) is cute, but definitely not cuddly. You can't tame zebra finches, you can't teach them to talk, they won't greet you with a smile, they won't fly up to you and give you a kiss on the ear. In fact, the nearest they get to recognising your very existence is to assail your eardrums with a shrill piping call accompanied by a quick poop on the furniture.
Why, then, I hear you ask, do you have the damn thing in your house? It's because it's real owner can't stand it. She was in her local pet shop when the owner said they were going to put the bird down because it had something wrong with its middle toe. So, D, being a soft-hearted lass, "rescued" it, and I eventually agreed to look after it for a while out of the kindess of my heart.
My son asked me recently if I intended to get another dog. The answer is no, but I am beginning to wonder if I could get a collar round stripy bum's neck and take her for walks on a short lead. The exercise would do me good, but I have to say, I don't like the idea of having to carry a poop scoop round the fields of Haddenham. So maybe not.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A little friend

I used to live alone. I don't mind alone, though I don't like lonely. Not to worry, I now share my house, and she's a little cracker. Voice a bit raucous and penetrating, and she has a tendency to do little poos everywhere. But I don't mind, a small price to pay for beauty, as Butch Cassidy said, though he was talking about a bank, not a defecating zebra finch. She's cute and feisty,. but she is not finger-tame - what female is? I am not sure how long I will keep her - I am looking after her for a friend - but while she's here, I am trying to enjoy her company. At least she's someone to talk to.

Friday, September 04, 2009

A note from North Wales

You, my dear friends, are not the only ones to get in touch. Mrs Trellis sent the following:

Dear Mrs Scrote, she writes, well, dear, you HAVE been quiet lately! I am sorry to hear about your anus horribilis. My husband, the late Mr Trellis, suffered from the same complaint, bless him, but I don't want to go into the details. Suffice it to say that he would absent himself for about an hour every morning and would then reappear bent double. Still, his malady had one positive side-effect - he managed to read the whole of War and Peace during his morning absences. I remember him coming back one morning and saying "Well, I'm glad that's over!" I think he meant the War, but he was often vague about details.
Anyway, dear, I hope you will soon be back to your old self. To be honest, I haven't been feeling myself lately either, which makes for a very dull life.
Yours in sisterly solidarity
Blodwen Trellis, Mrs, widow, retd.