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

12 April 2015

FIRST FOAL OF 2015 AND MARCH BITS AND PIECES


Hello from the Dartmoor stranger. So much has happened and when I've posted, I always think of the things I didn't tell you about. A lot can happen in two weeks. One VERY important thing is that my glucose meter is here at last. It is, as I hoped, completely life changing. I can scan my arm, which has a strange looking white plastic disc stuck to it, any time; OB even scans me while I'm driving which is a massive relief as I felt so vulnerable in the past and would often have pulled over to do a blood test, which was very inconvenient. I discovered that the reason the National Health won't pay for it is that is has yet to be passed as okay by NICE. Once it has, it has the possibility to reduce complications in many, many cases, saving the NHS millions for a very modest outlay. Sounds sensible doesn't it? If it's sensible, there's a strong possibility it won't happen.

Right, on with some photos. I saw the first foal a couple of days ago. First for me and for its mother who I remember as a foal herself about four years ago.....very distinctive hair. 


The March bits and pieces start with a series of the Golden Plover flock who are in their breeding colours now. I've never seen them like this here before:





One of our resident Buzzard's in flight:


Meadow Pipits of course:




As the crow flies:


I was going to call this post 'Home Birds' last week but had to put it off as time ran away with me and other things came up. All these were in the garden, which, incidentally, has changed a lot today. I've been re-modelling an area under the very lovely inherited Acer under which absolutely nothing will grow, including grass. I've scraped off an inch of top-soil today...well more like rubble mixed with the clay from the failed turf we laid a few optimistic years ago....and covered it with the chipped wood from the beech limb that you may remember collapsed a few years ago. Thank you kind neighbours for the donation. It would have cost a FORTUNE to buy it for such a big area. I can't tell you how much I ache!

The Nuthatches are definitely nesting in our box, which is fixed to the side of OB's play house up on stilts. We were having lunch in there the other day and the birds were tapping away with the clods of mud they kept bringing in. Here's one of them in the tree waiting for me to vacate the area:


Sparrow's bum:


Male Chaffinch with a beauty spot:


Female Chaffinch in the rain:


Thrush -0 not brilliant but all I could get; they so rarely come to the feeder:


Blue Tit:



I have tried and tried to get a shot of the Nuthatches feeding that isn't blurred, but they're so busy frantically chucking out all but the Niger seeds from the feeder that I have failed:


Then they turn their backs on me:


I'm not sure if this is a deformation of this Chaffinch's foot or something stuck to it. I've blown it up but still can't tell. He seemed fine but the weight of it must be wearing....update.....CT tells me what it has is 'bumblefoot'; what a brilliant name. Not a brilliant thing to have though. Thanks CT:


What's this one looking at I wonder?


Trigger's winter coat is falling out rapidly:


Jack's remote control spray collar has not been a success. When it works, it's brilliant, but it doesn't always work so you can never be sure whether he's ignoring it or whether it's malfunctioning. I rang the manufacturers and they're sending a replacement.....



It doesn't seem to hinder his athleticism: 


Cobweb on a frosty morning:


A sea of mist:


Moon above that Frosty morning:


And the sun in the East:


So, I started writing this on Thursday and it's now Sunday. Can I publish tonight? I'll try my best.....

Other news........OB managed to suppress his tics for over 12 hours a couple of days ago. Amazing. He was completely exhausted from it but what an achievement. We've dubbed it a temporary cure on the basis that he can, to all intents and purposes, appear to be without it when he needs to. We tested it out at the cinema last week watching 'Home' (I fell asleep; a very expensive snooze), and he made it through with no tics AND enjoyed the film. He went surfing for the first time on Easter Monday and stood up almost every time. Pictures next time. The dogs had a fabulous time too. 

Although Jack's frenetic barking at the fence continues in the absence of the spray collar, at least I managed to stop him escaping from the garden with some strategically placed roof tiles amongst my hastily constructed but ineffectual palisade on top of the wall. Phew - something is working. 

The Easter holiday is over from tomorrow, so I might possibly get  more done. However, my mum is taking more and more of my time as her health deteriorates and I'm very behind with the painting next door. I'm under pressure to finish so..........until next time, here are the dogs, one of whom seriously needs that haircut and the other is wearing his useless collar in a very heavy frost for the time of year. Have a great week....or two. Miss you all!



52 comments:

  1. I am overwhelmed by the beautiful bird photos.
    The Blue Tit has me entranced by his colors.
    But I think the Thrush is very beautiful also. Love his angry little face.
    Your close-ups are so clear.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. There was something about the light in the rain that brought out rhe colours on that Blue Tit Parsnip - so vibrant. x

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  2. It all looks wonderful, particularly the misty photo.

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    1. I usually get rubbish shots in the mist Kath - I think it was far enough away!

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  3. When I saw the word Dartmoor I had to come over and say hi. I am in California so that is quite a ways to holler :) I love the romantic idea of Dartmoor and ponies, and your bird closeup photos are excellent.

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    1. Thanks Terra. Always happy to have a new visitor.

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  4. The bird pics are their usual breathtaking selves.
    Glad things are looking up for you!
    Jane x

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    1. Thanks Jane. I'll be visiting you later I hope. I have no idea what everyone's up to! x

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  5. The new foal looks so like it's mum...lovely photos of them. What's happened to Trigger's tail?!..or was it the angle. Glad you have your glucose meter, anything that makes life easier whilst monitoring your blood sugar has to be a good thing.

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    1. I hadn't noticed the tail Ann! He's flicking it I think. When I first got him, his tail was almost non-existent and, even after years of hard brushing and maintenance, it's still a bit thin. At least he has one now though.

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  6. The moon shot is cool. They all are.

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    1. I almost didn't put that moon one in but it seems to be the most popular one.

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  7. Wonderful photos as usual, Em. On a more medical note, good about your meter and OB's tics. I love the moon shot.

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    1. It looks much better with the dark grey surround than it did in Microsoft photo editor, or whatever it's called.

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  8. You are sounding a lot more upbeat and that is good news. The bird pics are awesome, that zoom on your camera is brilliant! Have a good week x

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    1. You too my dear. We MUST get together soon. x

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  9. You have such cool birds visiting. Love the foal, and congrats on the tics...it will only get better.

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    1. I've just read OB your message and he was really pleased - thank you!

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  10. Brilliant bird photos. Brilliant photos completely, really! Good to catch up with you. Life has been hectic here too, with Tam down for the past week, so it is back to normal today. WHAT a difference your new Glucose meter is making. I hope that NICE pass it - or would that be TOO sensible?

    Good news about OB controlling his tic, and I'm not surprised it is exhausting for him. Keep up the good work OB.

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    1. It would definitely be too sensible BB! OB is really chuffed at all the messages of support - thanks for yours. xx

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  11. Lots of wonderful photos. Love the foal. The Chaffinch's foot looks indeed bad. Wonder what it is.
    As Always I love your photos of the landscape especialy the one with the moon and sun.
    Whising you all the best,
    Roos

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    1. I haven't seen that Chaffinch since Roos. I hope it's okay.

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  12. Lovely to read that you are still on Planet Earth - but I do know how it is - with so much to do sometimes Blogging has to go. However, it is lovely to see you back and to look at your fantastic photographs - that chaffinch's foot is interesting - it does look a great handicap - pity it hasn't the sense to wash it in water than at least if it was removable the foot would be clean.
    Glad to hear how well OB is doing - please congratulate him from me. The will power he needs to go for twelve hours is tremendous - but tell him that each time he does so it will get a little bit easier.
    Love that little foal - the first of many photographs I hope. Please also about your monitor thing. Such a lot of information in your post this week!!

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    1. No more foals yet Pat but I'll keep looking!

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  13. I am glad that things are going so well with your monitoring and for OB, you must both be so pleased! I hope that the good things continue. xx

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    1. Thanks Amy. I do love that photo of you in your little icon! xx

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  14. What are you using to get such detail, looks like a two billion millimetre lens! *looks at mobile phone sadly*

    I love the blue tit with his gelled back hair, like David Byrne of Talking Heads

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    1. It's a Nikon Coolpix P600 and the lens is 4.3-258mm. I don't have the ability to carry the weight of an SLR with different lenses or my pictures might be a lot better - a bridge camera it has to be.

      I still listen to a lot of Talking Heads. Making Flippy Floppy is a particular favourite. Perhaps I should play it out of the window when that Blue Tit comes back.

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  15. Lovely to hear from you, I'm glad you've not fallen off a tor!
    As usual your photos are breathtakingly beautiful and I'm jealous yet again of the nuthatch. Congrats to OB and thank goodness you have the meter thingy at last.
    Take care

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    1. I fell over the fence this evening - VERY embarrassing as it was witnessed by a neighbour. Even a hot bath hasn't hit the spot. You take care too!

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  16. A gorgeous series of photos. Your birds are the same as in my hand.

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  17. Lovely foal, superb shots of the G/Plover and the Pipits.
    Stunning frosty morn scenes as well.
    Take it easy Em.

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    1. Glad you like them Roy. You are my harshest critic so I take your praise very seriously!

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  18. Beautiful set of photos, the feel to the landscape is completely different to were I live so it's nice to see.
    Fiches do suffer from foot problems and growths on there legs.. BTO have some information here
    http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/gbw/gardens-wildlife/garden-birds/disease/warts
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks Amanda - I went and had a quick look and then read CT's comment. Seems like they get some pretty nasty stuff. Great name bumblefoot isn't it? xx

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  19. Oh Em, it does sound like you need a holiday :o) Cracking bird pics as always- the thing with the chaffinche foot is called Bumblefoot, an infection they are prone to. Well done to OB xx

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    1. Thanks so much CT. What would I do without you? xxx

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  20. What a fantastic set of bird photos Em. Love all the close ups. Dartmoor and its animals look stunning as always. Great news about your glucose meter and OBs achievements-that's fantastic.

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    1. Thank you - much appreciated! I've passed everyone's encouraging comments on and it really does help him. There are times when it becomes a chore!

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  21. I'm so glad to hear the glucose monitor is working so well and OB has had success too. Your bird pictures are fantastic, I have been trying to capture them but they move too fast! Sorry to hear about your Mum, do hope you can find some time to look after yourself too. Sarah x

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    1. It's difficult isn't it. Birthday pending so I have every intention of spending the day on my own in Exeter with clothing on my mind......xx

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  22. Scaly leg, and tassle foot all are names for an infection of highly contagious (bird to bird) parasitic, Knemidocoptic mites. It is common in many species of domestic and wild birds, but especially highly social species like finches. Canaries, budgies and finches in captivity all can contract it, but under these conditions it is very curable. Bumblefoot is strictly speaking a condition that raptors and some other birds get, especially those in captivity. This Staphylococcus bacteria caused disease appears as open leisions on the foot pads, is very painful and unless treated with antibiotics can be fatal.

    I love your European Golden Plovers and so many other pictures in this post. Snow is melting fast now, days are longer and temperatures rising. I sure hope you can get the powers that be to lighten your burdens for the glucose monitor. All very best wishes to you Em! Mark

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    1. Tassel foot is a brilliant name too. Not sure which I prefer. However - not nice for the birds in question. This one doesn't seem in pain and is walking well on the affected foot, bit for how long I don't know.

      So pleased to here of your receding snowline! Best wishes to you too.

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  23. A beautiful set of photos - they are all gorgeous but do love the Blue Tit pictures and lovely to see the first foal this year. Great news about the glucose meter and OB controlling his tics. So sorry to hear about your mum - from experience I know how difficult and time consuming it can be.

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    1. It certainly is and so depressing watching someone you love decline so quickly. There's nothing of her and she doesn't seem to want to change things whilst paying lip service to trying to improve things. These things are sent to try us!

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  24. Dear Em,
    What a splendid post on all sorts of counts. Good health news for you and OB - obviously less so for your mother.
    But such wonderful pictures giving me a blast of English spring.
    The first foal!
    So gorgeous - and as to your bird photos - bliss.
    Am finally going to get back to England in May.
    Lots of love from New York where we finally are getting a few daffodils!
    x

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    1. How exciting you're coming here. I'm sure you have a tight schedule but if you happen to be in the area, do come for a walk! x

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  25. Hi. I stumbled across your blog when I started my blog about Dartmoor. I can see how much learning I have in front of me if I am to make it as interesting and entertaining as yours. Congratulations! I am an amateur snapper and feel I have to congratulate you on the quality of your pics. Can I ask what equipment you use? You clearly have an eye for a good image and lots of camera skill. I look forward to coming back to your blog.

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    1. Thanks Graham. Will pop over and look at yours right now.....

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    2. I can't seem to find it anywhere which is a bit weird. There's just a page with your name and some origami! Anyway - I use a Nikon bridge camera...a Coolpix P600. Great zoom, shame about the macro but you can't have everything.

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