Thursday, 19 August 2010


most odd thing this morning: we were doing our stroll up to the chooks (I'm a little slow having injured my leg: some idiot threw my ball and didn't bother telling me an 18" drop to encounter, not best done at full speed); as we went under one of the birch (Betula pendula - silver birch) trees there was a pitter patter sound not unlike rain, and some drops fell on our heads. Well it wasn't rain, it was some of tye growing flock of goldfinches up high eating the seeds. Considering how many seeds scatter the ground I am surprised any left to nibble. She says it reminded her of hearing crossbills on Ynys Môn/Anglesey. Well I wouldn't know about that.
The goldfinch flock has been growing from about two dozen a few weeks ago to perhaps 50 in total at times. Usually we meet them of a morning up at the chook run as they take off all a twitter from the vast knapweed patch. See knapweed above.
Here is a goldfinch from a few years ago that stunned itself by flying into a window. It recovered.

A brief quote from Gilbert White, that other naturalist of similar name to myself:
August 19th 1791: A second crop of beans, long pods, come in. Sweet day, golden eve, red horizon.  Some what of an autumnal feel. 
The robin was singing his head off here, this morning, right old harbinger of winter to would agree that we have an autumnal feel, especially as above mentioned birch tree has been shedding leaves for more than a week.

Carduelis carduelis
you will find a description and recording of its song here

Centaurea nigra
lesser/common/black knapweed, knob weed, hardhead
cornish: pederow/pennow
cymraeg/welsh: y bengaled
irish: Cnapán Du · Deutsch: Schwarze Flockenblume · Español: Garbansón · Nederlands: Zwart knoopkruid

Friday, 13 August 2010

Bad weather forecasts

Inspecting the hay. A bit late really in August, a lot of plaintain. All the dock have had dock beetle, so much less in evidence. Nice bit of knapweed weed here.
On my morning stroll up to the chooks I frequently see some two dozen, possibly three this morning, goldfinches rise up in that twttery flittery way from the large kapweed patch (perhaps quarter of an acre).
Anyway back to the hay. The weather forecast which ever website was looked at said fair weather, they were WRONG. There are many hay fields cut around here. they get damp. Not even warm or properly breezy. Perhaps some will be saved in a form of haylage/silage in plastic wrapped big bales.

the dried yellow rattle seed heads seen here.
And below a reed rattle - two damp patches in the field have reed clumps. She made a reed rattle from some of the wilted reeds, apparently it worked well, no cracking. Her grandfather was a hedger and thatcher...and other sorts of farm worker, he taught her this little technique. The same as basic corn dollies.