Month: May 2018

Mr & Mrs Blackbird chillin out wiv worms and stuff

Mr & Mrs Blackbird visit the back garden several times a day.

Mr Blackbird is always digging up a fat tasty worm.

Mrs Blackbird appears to be visiting not just to eat, but to take time out, as if in need of a welcome rest. Maybe she’s got a full nest of chicks on the go now, so requires a little breather.

The back garden has become her perfect place to come and relax, unruffle (her feathers) chill out.

Filming: Hazel Brown; Vid: Ian Nisbet

A pair of blue tits and a flashy Goldcrest

Infrequent visitors to the garden back in the winter: a pair of blue tits.
Chased off the feeders by that little Stokesy Robin. And that Brenda Blackcap.

And an even more infrequent visitor: a tiny Goldcrest.
In and out like a flash ( came in with the Long Tailed Tits back in February)

Here he was, there he went.

If you’d blinked you’d have missed him.
Luckily gimlet-eyed Haze didn’t blink.

The blue tits, like the great tit, appear to have gone. Won’t visit again for a while. But they’ll be back in the winter.

Filming: Haze Brown; Vid: Ian Nisbet

A No Nonsense Great Tit

A great tit has appeared on the feeders this month.

Dashing in, lashing on, flashing off.

Gives a little toot in the wisteria to let you know he’s about to jump in, jump on.

Very business-like, purposeful, intentional. A no nonsense sort of chap. Gets the job done.

Peanuts are what he’s after. Peanuts are what he pecks.
Peanuts are what he gets.

Update: Hasn’t been seen around this week. Is that him gone?

Filming: Hazel Brown; Vid: Ian Nisbet

Skylark Inspiration

Skylark May 2018 edit

As we left the beach on Dawlish Warren, walked up onto the Bight, the incessant trilling and fluting song of the skylarks filled the air around us.

Dropping down into a small open hollow, we lay ourselves down on the mossy scrubland and gazed up into the bluest of skies, where we soon saw and heard skylarks on the wing, high above our heads.

We watched them fall out of the sky, dropping down, still singing, wings flapping as they dived … then seeming to stop in mid air, hovering for several seconds, the song louder now, they gently glided to the ground.

One’s and two’s perched on dead stalks and twiggy shrubs to give a magnificent performance of full song.

This exhibition of sky diving accompanied by their amazing songs continued for another two hours! A great day out!

Illustration & Text: Hazel Brown

Two Linnets

Not just one linnet. But 2 linnets. On Dawlish Warren.

Ivor Cutlers girlfriend Phyllis King wrote a little poem about a linnet.

A Linnet

Sky fragile as ancient porcelain
Slender a pale bird on a bramble
Still as evening air
A linnet I breathe
Knowing only the sparrow by sight
What bird so perfect
Could have another name?

Phyllis King
(From the Ivor Cutler album- Jammy Smears)

We made a little vid about this Linnet poem on our other blog 3 years ago.

Vid: Ian Nisbet

Heart Urchin

We picked this up on Dawlish Warren sands.

Heart Urchin 2 May 2018

No idea what it was. Small, fragile, delicate. Intriguing.

Turns out its a ‘Heart Urchin’. Or to give it its more prosaic name ‘sea potato’.

Here’s an heart urchin still alive.

Heart Urchin

And looking kind of ‘urchin-like’ in that picture.

The paper-thin casing (we found) is what remains of the heart urchin in its ‘test’ form.

There were dozens of them on the beach. Casualities of the storms that blew across the Bay back in March possibly.

We collected 3, but 2 didn’t survive the vagaries of my trouser pocket and were crushed into fine particles.

This one, fortunately still in tact, sits on the windowsill in Haze’s kitchen.

Heart Urchin 3 May 2018

(PS: The stitch-like threading vaguely reminds me of the American softballs my mom used to sow together back in the 70’s)

Skylarking on Dawlish Warren

Laid out flat on our backs on a sunny Saturday afternoon in the middle of the Bight on Dawlish Warren, watching and filming skylarks.

This one obligingly stood on a stalk

Skylark 4 May 2018

And from about 50 feet away, let us film him singing

Skylark 2 May 2018

We pointed cameras up at the skylarks as they sang high above us, vainly attempting to follow them as they fell out the sky; but couldn’t get clear film of the exhiliration we were seeing.

We stuck at it all sunny afternoon long. Stayed still, stayed patient, as one after another of these skylarking skylarkers came flying and falling onto the scrubby buddleia bushes around where we lay.

Enthralling. Utterly delightful.

Skylarking: Hazel Brown & Ian Nisbet