I haven't blogged for nearly three weeks..... I think I lost my blogging mojo after the babies died and the weather changed. Now, some days, dovie-wise, it just seems to be me and Cloud..... the other birds are around of course, but the huge flock of the summer has gone - died, dispersed....I don't know.
My last blog left Bertie, the wandering cat that doesn't below to us, on the doormat eating a rabbit. In the morning there was absolutely nothing left - not one messy blob. In the garden I found a very short piece of leg or something, and that was all - thankfully! (more about Bertie in a minute)
I still go to the poultry farm to get the bag of mixed wheat/flaked maize I like there, but I am saving money on all my grain as I'm using about half the quantity I was. I buy my free range eggs here too - I like picking my own! See the small blue one (45g) with the huge one alongside - that biggie weighed 115g but I was a bit disappointed it was only a double-yolker!
We had some very pleasant October days and the tree of paradise turned red and gold...
and Lucky and Charm starting billing and cooing again! Here Lucky gets henpecked!
Lucky and Charm getting a drink
Charm then decided the back nest box would be better and stayed in there for hours on end on several days running - but nothing happened and I wasn't sorry. I don't want more babies at this time of year. Last year Sky and Summer reared babies in the autumn, but Summer was a better mother than Charm.
On Sunday 27th Oct we were predicted a terrible storm and I was worried about how the birds would suffer. I know some parts of the country were badly hit, but here in my little corner of Surrey it wasn't too bad in the end.Very windy and a few local trees down - plenty of debris of branches etc - but my cote stayed up. In the morning only about 88 birds were on the roof - sounds a lot to you maybe, but far far fewer than normal. Grace, Charlie, Cassidy, Dolly and Bandit were some of the regulars who made it - but Fennie, Lucky and Charm were not there.
The birds - morning after the storm
Monday 28th - The one day in the year I had to go to London and it would be after a storm with trees on the line and cancellations. But it was my sister's 60th birthday tea at The Ritz so I had to see if I could get in, and actually the train was only delayed 8 minutes and I got into London early - so stopped off at Trafalgar Square to say hello to Nelson, and visit The National Gallery. For me, visiting Trafalgar Square can never be as enjoyable as it was when I was growing up and then again when my girls were little and you were allowed to feed the pigeons that crowded there. According to Wikipedia there were 35,000 pigeons at their peak, but sale of grain was stopped in 2001 and the feeding of the pigeons was banned entirely in 2003 - due to the birds being considered a health hazard. The day I went there were a few pigeons - amusingly sitting on the statue of the blue cockerel which is the current artwork on the Fourth Plinth - but looking rather miserable. I walked past some jumping into the rubbish bin to look for food, and had to turn my face away as it wrenches my heart to see them. We had so much to eat at The Ritz that I wrapped a piece of cake in my hanky, and crumbled it surreptitiously on Waterloo station for the few pigeons that fly in and out there.
The storm, the wetter weather and the shorter days have meant that Lucky and Charm are no longer considering having a new family. They came back a day or so after the storm, along with some of the others who were missing, including Fennie.
Thursday 31st Oct - Halloween. I was ridiculously pleased to see a bird that I didn't recognise at first - who is this dark pigeon with a red ring? Of course! Wow, it is Pandora! I haven't seen her (or him) for weeks (literally) and she is obviously managing excellently well. For any new readers, or if you have forgotten, Pandora arrived in my garden in August, with dried blood all down her front and a horribly broken beak - but she survived, with a bit of help from me, and I am so happy, really so happy, that she is still alive, and managing to eat perfectly well with a somewhat shortened beak.
Remember Patience? The pigeon who had a hole eaten out of her by the sparrowhawk - I'm not seeing her now, or Autumn or Destiny - both birds hatched in my cote and seen up to this summer. But I don't give up hope of seeing them all again.
Saturday 2nd November - another 'lost' bird was with the morning flock - white dove with a blue ring - it can only be Bianca! I haven't seen her for many weeks too! Maybe dirty Ricky was with her and no longer dirty as I didn't see him, but he was only recognised by his very grubby front and the fact that he was always with Bianca; he had no ring. I wonder where these birds go to eat when they don't visit my garden, and where do they spend their time?
Back to Bertie - on 17th October the lady who 'owns' Bertie stomped up the path..... He's not here, I said (because he wasn't).....she handed me a piece of paper, and stomped off again. The letter she gave me made me furious - I was spitting feathers, if that is not sacrilege to use as an expression on a dove blog! I spent the whole evening composing a reply! She accused me of tempting Bertie away and more besides....and described herself as a 'lonely old woman' (she's only 67 and perfectly fit) It wouldn't be right to copy the letter out here, though it makes interesting reading, so I will refrain. I took my carefully worded reply to her house the next morning, and dropped it through the letter box. I was hoping it would be enough to stop any more unwanted visits from her, but no, two days later on a pouring wet Sunday she again turned up on the door-step to enquire if he was with us. I let hubbie answer the door - he is 6'4 and big too, and standing on the door step looking down he probably looked intimidating to a small woman, and I don't think he was particularly welcoming!
The truth of the matter is - Bertie does visit and I don't turn him out when he comes in to see me. Sometimes he will stay for a quick stroke and then he just turns round and goes away again, and sometimes he stays for a few hours. She has asked me not to feed him, and I don't but that doesn't stop him visiting. I would say I see him every other day - and sometimes several days in succession. This last week he seemed to be with me quite a bit - on Wednesday morning I was up early ready to leave the house at 8.15am to go to look after my granddaughter, and Bertie arrived at 7.30am. When I left the house, I made sure the door from the kitchen through to the rest of the house was shut, and therefore he only had access to the kitchen. As I walked down the path, I turned to see his little face pressed up against the cat flap - from the inside. Oh well, I thought he is bound to go home as I am out all day. But at 3pm when I came home, he was still in the kitchen - despite no aga on or any home comforts like a snuggly chair, so I thought I'd better take him back to her. I put him in the travel box and drove to hers, but there was no answer to my knock, so I thought I'd drop a note through the door saying I'd brought him back so she realised hopefully that I am not trying to keep him - which as I pointed out in my letter, I could've done when he was first 'lost' by not putting up the ad on the lost pet website. Anyway, I found I had no pen in my bag, and as I'd seen a lady in the next door house looking through the window, I thought I would just knock on her door. I had now released Bertie (or Babar as she calls him) from the travel box, and he followed me up the next door's path. Two ladies opened the door......and Bertie walked in, without a by your leave.....'Is that Elvis?' one of the ladies said. 'Umm well the lady next door calls him Babar' I replied. 'Well' she said 'Some people round here call him Elvis.... it's definitely Elvis!' I explained why I had knocked - that I was bringing him back because the lady 'owner' was getting upset about him visiting mine all the time. 'Oh' said one of the neighbours 'He's not hers anyway, he belongs to a neighbour at the back here!'.... Well I didn't end up finding the truth of it all.... Bertie/Babar/Elvis is a wandering cat and no doubt will continue to visit me (and I hope he does) even though next summer he might prove a great nuisance with the nesting doves.
I bought some lovely turtle-doves today - not birds, gloves! from a super online site. These gorgeous fingerless gloves - some cashmere, some not - are great for this time of year, and all made from recycled jumpers. They will even make your own old holey cashmere jumper into turtle-doves for you for FREE - you just pay the postage. Do have a look - they make great gifts, and easy to post too (and no I'm not on commission, I just love them!) - useful soft fingerless gloves
I will definitely come back and write at least one more blog before Christmas, but at the moment there is little to write about.
To be cont....