THE RAMBLINGS OF A STRUGGLING ARTIST ON LIFE WITH TWO TERRIERS, A PONY WITH ISSUES AND OTHER WILDLIFE AND BIRDS THAT CROSS OUR PATH

7 July 2014

CUCKOO AND A PAPER WASP DISASTER


Look who I saw this afternoon as I came home with the dogs, drenched from a torrential shower whilst wearing what I thought was a waterproof smock thing. It was like wearing tissue paper and I had to get back....glad I did or I wouldn't have seen Young Cuckoo here.

 


Last Thursday, we noticed a football sized paper wasps' nest in OB's play house, or 'den' as he'd rather it was called these days. It was right next to the gate into the garden so potentially really dangerous; we have a friend with an epipen. We had to make the difficult decision to call someone to deal with it. He turned up at 8.00am on Friday morning, stuck something long and nozzley into the nest and ran for it. £30.00 for the privilege. This is what was left on the ceiling after it fell off:


And this is what fell to the floor. Very sad but fascinating to see its structure and the beauty of the paper they make with wood pulp and saliva.






My 50th birthday rose is flowering; it smells divine:


 Woundwort, which I like to cultivate in the garden:


Geranium Splish Splash:


Astrantia Major now in full flower and falling over:


Red Astrantia of some kind....


Sword Thistle:


Heath Spotted Orchid:


Keeled Skimmer female; I was falling off a tussock in the marsh as I took this so it could be better. They're much more difficult to see or capture than the blue males:


Four Spotted Chaser Dragonfly:


Wandering Glider Dragonfly I think - great name:


A new foal, the colour of biscuit, so that's its name. Female I think. 





Tertia scratching her tummy on gorse. This ritual went on for a while:


Diamond:



 Very late lamb born out on the moor:


Calf with mother's nose. I nearly cropped the nose off but thought better of it.


The juvenile Blackbird from the last post:



Stonechat with quarry:



Singing having eaten it:


The Pipit of the post:


We go the Great Ormond Street on Thursday so are travelling up and staying with an old college friend of mine in the Barbican. The dogs are staying with friends on their farm. A long drive but worth it I hope. I'll report once we get back so, until that next time, here are the dogs in show poses, like they'd ever win anything. 



60 comments:

  1. Em, those pictures are superb- seriously good. I have not yet managed to photograph a cuckoo, even though we get lots here- you must be delighted! x ps- I'm pretty sure I've got the right Poppy pics so will email them over to you this week :-)

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    1. Thanks CT - I can't wait to get to grips with Pops!

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  2. I have sympathy for everything that lives outdoors, but not wasps! Especially not a nest on the garden gate. A man comes round once a month and dispenses with the nests foolishly built since a month ago. Not very bright little things.

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    1. I try to be right on about them - I know they do a fantastic job but they also sting me regularly and fill our local bakery in a scary way in September!

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  3. To see a cuckoo - WOW. We used to hear them every year right through May and June, but not any longer - very sad. And all the other birds that we never get to see in our arable farming landscape.
    It's always a treat to see your pictures, hope all goes well at GOSH

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    1. They seem to frequent the fringes of the moor here. I've heard them in other places on the edge of Dartmoor too. The youngster just squeaks by the way - not evocative in the same way at all.

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  4. That rose is beautifully preserved for 50 years!

    That bird does not look anything like the bird in my clock.

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    1. How true Joe. We need to have words with the Swiss.

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  5. The dogs win hearts...and that is all that matters. At first I thought the cuckoo was a bird of prey,until I saw the face. Biscuit is a lovely looking foal!
    Fingers crossed that the GOSH visit is a good one.
    Jane x

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    1. They fly like a bird of prey too - fluttering like a kestrel. x

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  6. A superb post, Em. The cuckoo pics are incredibly good. Do hope your time in London goes well. I've been up in Scotland ... possibly not too far from where you were at one point ... though we didn't see any Pine Martens!

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    1. That Pine Marten was such a fluke. very, very pleased it happened though.

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  7. AMAZING pics - I haven't seen or heard a cuckoo outside of Spain for years.

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    1. Thanks Tom - none in Bath I imagine.

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  8. Beautiful nest but I don't want to be near one.
    The new pony better be a female with that curly tail and pretty dot on the forehead.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I wonder what the paper would be like for drawing? I might have a go Parsnip.

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  9. No cuckoos in this country, so I had never seen even a photo--quit fascinating the way the wing feathers lay over the back like a tailcoat. We have cowbirds--nest stealers--and not at all handsome.
    My favorite photos of this lot would be the dragonflies and the beautifully spiky thistle.
    Had to look up woundwort after noting the mint-like stem--the leaves do look similar to stinging nettle.

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    1. They do don't they? Luckily they don't sting as I have a lot of pulling out to do at the end of the season.

      I love that tailcoat look too - especially in the one from behind where you get the full length of its tail feathers. I've found some North American Cukoos....have a look at this page:

      http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/browse_tax/22/

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  10. It must be a desperate itch to scratch your tummy on gorse. Ouch!
    Good luck on Thursday x

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  11. Loved Biscuit - how pretty she is! We'll all be thinking of you at GSOH and hoping it is not too stressful for OB, and makes progress on helping him. Wonderful photos, thank you

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    1. He's quite excited about it. I think the idea that someone might actually understand his condition better than him is very appealing.

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  12. Nice captures as always dear Em. xx

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  13. National Geographic quality! Love the lamb.

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    1. Isn't it sweet? Those chunky legs!

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  14. Hi EM Wow! The Cuckoo shots are superb. I have never managed to photograph one yet! Love all the birds shots especially the Stonechat with food. The close up shots of the wasp nest are wonderful and would make a good painting. All the best at the hospital and looking forward to hearing good news on your return.

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    1. Thanks Margaret. If YOU haven't got a shot I do feel pleased! We're very lucky to be in a cuckoo zone on the fringe of the moor here and I got lucky.

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  15. I've never seen a cuckoo (in the flesh) and think they are still on the RSPB Red List in Kent where numbers have declined so much in recent years.
    All the pics are fabulous but I particularly love the ones of biscuit - very cute!

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    1. I hadn't until I moved here Sue. Just faint noises in the distance!

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  16. "Dartmoor Ramblings" has been included in the fourth edition of our Thinking of Christmas Gifts in July 2014 series. Be assured that we hope this helps to point many new customers in your direction.

    http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2014/07/thinking-of-christmas-gifts-in-july-2014_8.html

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  17. Excellent shots as always Em, especially the cuckoo, and the foals they are gorgeous, I have heard the cuckoos this year but never see them.

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    1. I only saw an adult a couple of times when they were around and then only at a distance fluttering away.

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  18. The wasps nest is amazing to see isn't it. It is sad that it had to come down, but as you say, you really cannot take any risks with someone who has an allergy of this kind so better safe than sorry! xx

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    1. Absolutely Amy. It would have been really dangerous when they swarmed in the autumn too. x

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  19. Brilliant photos and well done on the cuckoo photos - they are superb. I've never managed to get a photograph of one. Love the astrantia - I treated myself to a red one recently and can't wait for it to flower. The wasp nest is amazing - a shame it had to be removed but you just can't take risks. Good Luck with the Great Ormond Street visit - I do hope all goes well.

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    1. I bought another Astrantia at a plant sale on Saturday. Another 'Major' but I don't think you can ever have too many. They're so beautiful and in the wildflower book too so they must be okay.

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  20. Your new camera is really taking gorgeous photos for you!

    I have never seen a Cuckoo before and was thrilled to see what they looked like. Shame about the wasp nest, but being allergic to their stings I know it is best it is gone.

    LOVED the foal photos! Biscuit is beautiful and I loved the one scratching his belly on the gorse. You really should draw them, what great subjects! Loved the sheep also. We don't see many like those here, they really are beautiful.

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    1. Feel free to use any of the photos for you own purposes Gail. Just let me know if you need a bigger file size.

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  21. Love catching up on all the happenings, Em. Wasps fascinate me, but in a "not-in-my-backyard" kind of way, so I understand about the fumigation. Those Stonechat photographs are stunning! They capture the bird perfectly and would easily represent the bird in a field guide or nature book.

    I often meet people at work who are about to embark on 'garden tours' of the UK, and I always rave on about your blog and the strange and wonderful plants you grow, not to mention all the intriguing mosses and lichens that grow around the place too. I do my best to represent Dartmoor travel options down here in Australia :)

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    1. Hi Christian, funnily enough, I picked up an Australian couple this afternoon on the road; they had turned the wrong way out of a footpath using a very bad map from the, apparently world famous, Gidleigh Park Hotel. I drove them up onto the moor and off they went, looking very excited. Thanks for your recommendations!

      I always find the field guide pictures really unhelpful so maybe they should start using amateur's work. A Stonechat really does look like that!

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  22. I've never seen a cuckoo. That wasp nest is a marvel.
    Love Biscuit's fuzzy foal ears, and all the other beautiful photos.

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    1. Isn't he sweet Terry. If you could pick them up and take them home, the garden would be very full.

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  23. ...came over from Jerry... You live in a most beautiful place, you're very fortunate, but tell me, what kind of dog is that? He looks like a treat.

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    1. Hi Shadow and thanks for visiting. The first dog (Jack) is a Patterdale Terrier/Jack Russell Terrier cross and the second (Snippet, the scruffy one), is a Patterdale Terrier/Lakeland Terrier cross. Snippet is more of a treat than Jack at the moment but we're getting there!

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  24. The wasps nest is beautiful, I have never seen one up close! Thank you for that. Stunning photos as usual x

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    1. I hadn't seen one either Chickpea but I'm not sure I would have paid £30 to do so either! x

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  25. Marvelous series of photos Em, loved them all as I always do. Thanks for my birthday greetings :)

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    1. I wonder how old you are Denise????

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  26. The wasp nest was very cool. Scary but cool.

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    1. It really was! Lovely to have you visiting; I shall pop over and see you now....

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  27. Very, very sweet photos from the lamb and the ponies. Love it, but all the other photos are stunning too.
    Take care
    Alex

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    1. You too Alex. I hope you're having a good weekend.

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  28. Super cuckoo shots. I used to love listening for the cuckoo in the spring.
    We don't have them here.
    Scary/beautiful wasps nest...I'm highly allergic so would resort to chemicals too!
    Loved seeing the pups.
    Happy summer!

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    1. It must be really unnerving being allergic like that. I assume you carry an epipen? Happy summer to you too and a wasp free one I hope.

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  29. Lucky you Em to see that young cuckoo - and also the wasps' nest. Sad it had to be destroyed but they are pretty lethal in the wrong place. Love that birthday rose - is it Gertrude Jekyll? I have her in my garden and she smells glorious, especially in the early evening. I have that astrantia too and I love it.

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    1. Sorry it's taken me a while to get back on this - I lost the label but found it buried under adjacent leaf litter. It is Rosa Multiflora Platyphylla or 'Seven Sisters Rose' apparently. As I say, I'm not big on roses but this is very lovely. I'm going to have to ring them to ask about pruning though. I have no idea what to do with a rambler!

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  30. Wow how lucky you were to see and photograph the cuckoo and also the wasp nest. Another fantastic post! Sarah x

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    1. So lucky Sarah. I haven't seen it since and I wonder if it's flown the nest now. The real parents are long gone. x

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