Saturday, 6 June 2015

Elusive visitors...

Long time - no blog post....
We usually have a hiatus around this time of the year, there is just so much to do in the garden and the meadow...
especially now that the potager has reached maximum size.
All this means that we are just too exhausted, by the evening, to concentrate on little more than holding knife and fork for eating... and more drastic... holding a glass straight!

But what we have had over the past few days has got fingertips to keyboard at last...


I was on my way out into the meadow on Wednesday morning to rake up some fresh cut grass for the "maggot"....
and as I drew near the  five old "trognes"....
the big old pollarded willows...
I heard thumping noises.

Hard thumping!!

Now, Richard's son Eric has been having great troubles with their brand new irrigation system since needing to use it in earnest...
his wife told me it had broken down seven times on the first day!!
So, I thought that there was another problem and he was using the age old remedy...
whacking it hard with a length of wood!!!

But, as I walked forward more, the thumping was no longer in line with the pump house....
it was more and more to my left and slightly below me...
energetic woodpecker or vole with a Kango?
I crept forward very...verry.... verrry..... verrrry slowly....
and saw a large woodpecker thumping its white bill against the rotten wood of the nearest old willow...
hold on... white bill?
Black Woodpecker!!!!
And, sure enough "breeep"... and it flew up onto one of the trunks in the sky...
and sat there, looking at me...
and what did I have to photograph this wonderful bird with...
a wooden rake!!
Then, casually, it flew over the longère... "breeep-breeep... breeep-breeep... breeep-breeep"...

Well, that was very nice... thought I.... and carried on to do the raking I was meant to be doing.
I mentioned it to Pauline when I got back so that it could be recorded on Faune Touraine.
"I've been hearing them all week" says she...
"Oh?" was my response!
Pauline is way better at identifying birds by sound than me... a severe short-sightedness from an early age made her a "Bird-Listener"....
rather than a birdwatcher...
and she hasn't abused her ears with rock music through headphones either!!
Since a cateract operation corrected that, she's been able to watch them more clearly too!
But, I've lost my microscope that talked!

A slight pause in the tale, here...


Posted by Tim

5 comments:

Susan said...

ooooo exciting! Can't wait for what's next... Nesting? Visiting the birdfeeders?

LaPré DelaForge said...

Fortunately, Susan, the feeders are empty and ready to be taken down and cleaned...
with the way that one was using its huge beak, it would destroy the feeders in no time...
no, it was most definitely after "witchiti" grubs... possibly proto-Stanleys.
I am typing up the next bit at the moment!
Tim

K said...

As I have difficulty identifying sparrows, I've no idea what this might turn out to be. I would love to have Pauline in the garden telling me what the different birds are as I rarely get a good look at them. It is their song that I hear and some I am sure must be so distinctive to those that know. It must be lovely to sit in the garden and say "Oh, listen to that ...". Amelia

LaPré DelaForge said...

Amelia,
Rather like your knowledge of bees the ability to identify birds or other insects is accumulated over time...
and aided by guides and the knowledge of where else to look...
and as Susan often tells me...
how to look!
To watch birds, just take a birdguide, a pair of binoculars, a chair, a table, a bottle or pot of your favourite tipple into a shady spot in the garden and sit quietly and let the birds come to you.
In your case, you'd better choose a spot where there are no flowers...;-)
And, better still, sit there with Kourosh and listen to what he identifies....
but, to identify birds by sound alone...
I just wish now I hadn't gone to all those concerts when young...

A good pair of binoculars is a must and my Pentax Papillo that focus down to 50cm are perfect for both birds and insects...

And, thanks to your two blogs, I can now identify bees much more successfully / accurately...
and I will be learning more from the Water Vole site I found looking for a particular image for today's post about "Ratty".
Tim

Kev Alviti said...

My friends always assume I know the different birds and trees for the vaguest description. I do know most but not all. Sometimes I have to go home and look them up and pretend I didn't! I guess that's the best way to learn though!