Jack’s Walk

This must be where the bluebirds live. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I occasionally circumnavigate a small wooded area that lies behind our local middle school. It’s an uninviting, snarly sort of place, all tangled with vines and thick with underbrush, so we’ve never ventured past the perimeter, until today, when a do-goodness adventure invited us inside.

“Mommy, you’re going to need a garbage bag,” Jack called out as he ran ahead.
“Right here,” I said, reaching into my pocket for a poop bag.
“That’s gonna be too small, Mummy. We need a big bag to clean up this mess.”
As I got closer, I could see that he was right. The entire area was littered with aluminum cans, discarded water bottles, and bits of paper. I sighed and reached into my inside pocket for a reusable shopping bag.
We began by walking around the woods, and after one pass, my bag was nearly full, and I had that do-good kind of feeling. Next, it was time to work our way into the brush, and I called out,
“Bubba, where is the easiest place for me to go into the brush? Someplace not too tangly. ”
“Over here, follow me,” Jack said as he led me into the little woods. Once inside, we were met with a few surprises. First, we found several well trampled paths and open spaces, none of them visible from the perimeter, So… a hiding place.
Then, there was the stuff we found – beer cans (lots!), 2 empty liquor bottles, cigarette butts, used condoms (ick!) and condom wrappers, a used tampon (again, ick!), a single black sock and a disintegrating striped towel. So… a make-out place.
Jack and I spent the next half hour, picking up trash. I used a poop bag as a glove, and it wasn’t long before we had the place looking spic and span. After that, Jack and I hauled our trash to the school garbage can where we sorted our recyclables and tossed the rest. It took us nearly an hour to manage the job, and my gross meter was maxed out. By the end, I was feeling tired and sore, but positively glowing with do-goodness.

“Mummy, why do people throw things on the ground? The garbage cans are really close, why don’t people use them?”
“Most people do put their trash in the garbage, Bubba. In this case, I think it’s because they were kids doing grown-up things, and they were afraid of being caught.”

“Well, I think that if you’re too young to clean up after yourself, you’re too young to do the grown-up things,” Bubba said as he set out toward home.

“Yep, I agree, Bubbs. I agree.”

Monday Mercurial: Duck, Duck, Goose!

The usual residents on any pond are mallards, who I think are underappreciated for their beauty, both male and female, just because they are common. Makes me wonder if people who live in places with colourful parrot that make us ohh and ahh see them the same way as we do with out local wildlife.

Anyway, mallards also feature in the best known German children’s song: Alle meine Entchen (all my little ducks):

It’s a 150 years old and will probably last at least another 150 years: It features animals, is easy to sing and play and describes something even city kids may see and know.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

We also got a pair of Egyptian geese at the pond. While originally coming from, you guess, Egypt, they are now pretty common around Europe. They can cause trouble in places where humans like to spread on laws they consider THEIR lawns, but are for the rest harmless.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Yellowhammers Visit.

I had this visitor a few weeks ago, but the light was bad and I was unable to identify the species. Luckily my biologist friend was able to forward it to an ornithologist who was so very kind and identified the bird for me. So when yesterday they returned in good light, I knew what I am looking at.

The ornithologist also sent some bad news with the identification. He confirmed my subjective observation that there are significantly fewer birds. Some species are actually becoming rare – the whole genus Carduelis for example (greenfinches, goldfinches, siskins). This winter I have not seen a single specimen of these three species, whereas in previous years greenfinches and siskins came in flocks counting dozens.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full

And yes, we finally had a few cms of snow. This week seems to have been the actual winter, what we had before was merely agonizingly long and dark fall.

Baby Eastern Spinebills

Something special from Lofty today.

I thought that it’s about time I added some spring cheer into the blog. Attached are pictures of the Eastern Spinebill chicks nearly ready to leave the nest. I first noticed them as I brushed under our snowball tree and they made a thin piping noise. Carefully pulling down the branch to see into the foliage must have made the babies think that a parent with a meal had arrived. The first picture includes the parent that was too quick to catch in a second photo. The next day the chicks were looking much readier and a couple of days later they were gone, leaving only a pile of baby feathers on the ground below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_spinebill

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved