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BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others

Dave the Gnome 06 Jul 22 - 04:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 05 Jul 22 - 12:13 PM
Donuel 04 Jul 22 - 08:36 AM
Dave the Gnome 04 Jul 22 - 08:27 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Jul 22 - 08:05 AM
Steve Shaw 01 Jul 22 - 06:19 PM
MaJoC the Filk 01 Jul 22 - 04:00 PM
Neil D 01 Jul 22 - 04:10 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Jul 22 - 03:42 AM
Jon Freeman 01 Jul 22 - 03:18 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Jul 22 - 02:37 AM
Steve Shaw 30 Jun 22 - 07:23 PM
MaJoC the Filk 30 Jun 22 - 05:53 PM
Jon Freeman 30 Jun 22 - 05:36 PM
MaJoC the Filk 30 Jun 22 - 05:29 PM
keberoxu 30 Jun 22 - 03:01 PM
Geoff Wallis 30 Jun 22 - 02:05 PM
Steve Shaw 30 Jun 22 - 02:01 PM
MaJoC the Filk 30 Jun 22 - 12:18 PM
Jon Freeman 30 Jun 22 - 08:44 AM
keberoxu 30 Jun 22 - 08:07 AM
Senoufou 30 Jun 22 - 07:46 AM
MaJoC the Filk 30 Jun 22 - 06:16 AM
Steve Shaw 30 Jun 22 - 05:15 AM
Senoufou 30 Jun 22 - 04:03 AM
Senoufou 30 Jun 22 - 04:02 AM
Dave the Gnome 30 Jun 22 - 03:35 AM
Senoufou 30 Jun 22 - 01:39 AM
keberoxu 29 Jun 22 - 06:17 PM
Steve Shaw 29 Jun 22 - 06:03 PM
Steve Shaw 29 Jun 22 - 06:01 PM
Senoufou 29 Jun 22 - 07:01 AM
Dave the Gnome 29 Jun 22 - 05:32 AM
BobL 29 Jun 22 - 03:48 AM
Senoufou 29 Jun 22 - 03:29 AM
Neil D 28 Jun 22 - 08:11 PM
Senoufou 24 Jun 22 - 04:56 AM
keberoxu 21 Jun 22 - 11:02 PM
Senoufou 15 Jun 22 - 02:35 AM
keberoxu 14 Jun 22 - 09:37 PM
keberoxu 09 Jun 22 - 04:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 May 22 - 09:36 PM
Donuel 31 May 22 - 08:45 PM
Senoufou 31 May 22 - 02:21 AM
keberoxu 29 May 22 - 09:07 PM
keberoxu 28 May 22 - 05:16 PM
Senoufou 28 May 22 - 02:32 AM
keberoxu 27 May 22 - 10:01 PM
Senoufou 16 May 22 - 02:29 AM
keberoxu 11 May 22 - 09:09 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jul 22 - 04:09 AM

It's not red clover, it's heal-all (prunella vulgaris) A very useful medicinal plant so I think I'll collect some :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Jul 22 - 12:13 PM

Full of what I think is red clover at the moment. I quite like it :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Donuel
Date: 04 Jul 22 - 08:36 AM

Nice yard too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 04 Jul 22 - 08:27 AM

Stan and Hilda having their breakfast :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Jul 22 - 08:05 AM

Stan and Hilda returned again this morning with another female in tow! Stan's plumage is looking worse for wear but with 2 ladies to see to I'm not surprised :-) All 3 were very hungry and ate 2 lots of corn and a serving of bread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Jul 22 - 06:19 PM

In the last few years we've had lots of jays. I kind of like them, but I suspect them of stripping the beans out of my broad bean pods. They're probably responsible for the hundreds of oak tree weeds sprouting everywhere in my garden. Oddly, there are no oaks for miles around...


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 01 Jul 22 - 04:00 PM

Thanks for the link, DtG: jackdaws they is, or near offer [OI!!! -- ed]. Case tentatively closed.

.... which led me onto pictures of Magpies ("Oh, we know what those are," says Herself), which reminded me of hearing a poem about them on the wireless, of which all I can remember is:

They are crows who have won the pools
and strut around all day in their dinnerjackets


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Neil D
Date: 01 Jul 22 - 04:10 AM

Keberoxu, grackles will have blue on their necks and back of the head, but from any distance, it's hard to see the blue. Even from forty feet I need binoculars to make it out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Jul 22 - 03:42 AM

I reckon so too, Jon.

We had a surprise visit from the ducks (Stan and Hilda) this morning which was nice. An extra wood pigeon arrived too and there was some sort of pigeon shenanigans going on but, not being privy to pigeon etiquette, I have no idea what.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 01 Jul 22 - 03:18 AM

I should think so, Dave. This RSPB page gives a distribution map and says:
Hooded crows can be found in N and W Scotland, N Ireland and on the Isle of Man, where it replaces the carrion crow. Outside the breeding season it is found across the breeding range and is also found, but scarce in E Scotland and even rarer down the eastern side of England. Most of the winter visitors come from Scandinavia.
I’m guessing they might occasionally stray a little further than that, say into Cumbria but I’d also guess that your chances of seeing one in most of England is virtually nil.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Jul 22 - 02:37 AM

I believe the ones in our Yorkshire garden are Jackdaws but I am willing to stand corrected. They certainly look like the pictures on the RSPB website. Dark bodies with a grey hood while hooded crows have pale bodies with dark wings and hoods.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-teachers/schools-birdwatch/birds-to-look-out-for/whats-that-bird/crows-and-jackdaws/


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 07:23 PM

West Oxfordshire means that they are almost certainly not hoodies. Gotta be jackdaws, I fear...


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 05:53 PM

West Oxfordshire.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 05:36 PM

Hooded crows and carrion crows can interbreed and I guess that may lead to unusual markings? Where in England are you MaJoC?


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 05:29 PM

Not jackdaws, folks: we have Mr and Mrs Jackdaw plundering our lawn (she's slightly lighter), and they're smaller than the inkwell crows; and neither are anything like the picture in the Wikipedia page on jackdaws. One clue: I remember hearing "If there's one rook, it's a crow, but if there's two crows, they're rooks" --- and there's a very noisy rookery (or many crows' nests) atop the copse behind the school.

I'll ask around at church, to see if there's a bony-fido ornothologist in the congregation. I'll report results as and when there's results to report.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: keberoxu
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 03:01 PM

So that's what jackdaws are.

The blackbirds that I have grown up with in the northeastern United States,
I believe they might be grackles.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 02:05 PM

Jackdaw, MaJoC.

Both female and male starlings feed their chicks.

Simple difference between starlings and blackbirds - starlings flock together and blackbirds don't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 02:01 PM

Hoodies?


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 12:18 PM

Just to chuck another sabot in the gears, there's a species of crow in England with strange markings which I see whenever we go to church. Their heads look grey at the back, but black at the front, as if they've been bobbing for worms in the inkwells at the nearby school; or perhaps they've got chalk-dusted by being hit from behind by an accurately-thrown board rubber while gossiping in class (as crows will).


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 08:44 AM

It looks like you have several birds that can be called blackbirds in the US but none are our Common (Or Eurasian) Blackbird


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: keberoxu
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 08:07 AM

Thanks, Senoufou, for the tastefully indirect instruction
that the iridescent black birdies are the starlings,
and the grackles/blackbirds, while thoroughly black,
are NOT iridescent.

You don't have to be able to spell iridescent
in order to see and recognize the quality
on birds out on the grass in the sunshine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Senoufou
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 07:46 AM

Oh Gawd Steve! They'd better wheel me off to the knacker's yard! hee hee


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 06:16 AM

> The fledgling just stood there

Apparently that's normal procedure. First the mother brings the worms to the nest; next, when the fledgling can fly, she shows it where the worms come from. After that, she does a flit, and the fledgling has to work out what to do next for itself.

.... Apparently our alleged PM hasn't progressed beyond the second stage yet, but that's a rant for an entirely different thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 05:15 AM

Try "iridescent." I feel your pain... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Senoufou
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 04:03 AM

Gah! It's iridesecent. Stupid woman! I'll demote myself into the Bottom Group for spelling!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Senoufou
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 04:02 AM

I'm going to give myself a detention and extra homework! There's only one 'r' in iredescent. Tut tut.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 03:35 AM

One of my daughters saw something funny the other day. A female blackbird unearthing worms for a fledgling. The fledgling just stood there staring at the wriggling worms with its beak open :-D


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Senoufou
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 01:39 AM

I actually find the starlings quite funny to watch. Several 'mums' descend with all their young in tow. Each baby starling stands beside mum with its beak wide open, and the poor 'lady' stuffs sultanas and bits of bread down each gaping mouth while all the offspring scream loudly for more. They have a funny waddling gait when they cross my lawn, and I do like their shiny, slightly irridescent black plumage.
I'm delighted Steve to see all the sparrows (house sparrows and tree sparrows) and they've made nests in the bushes around my garden. They love the wild bird seed and the bread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: keberoxu
Date: 29 Jun 22 - 06:17 PM

I still get blackbirds and starlings mixed up with each other.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Jun 22 - 06:03 PM

yet to see


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Jun 22 - 06:01 PM

Don't knock your starlings. They are a very vulnerable species, under threat from all sides. We used to get lots of them on our feeders and in the fields over the fences from our house. We still get a few in the fields, though not in the joyous numbers of yesteryear. It's several years since we saw one on the feeders. A few years ago we'd get a big flock of sparrows every afternoon. In the last year I've seen one pair of sparrows on one day only. We used to get droves of greenfinches every summer, every day. It's late June and I have to see see greenfinches at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Senoufou
Date: 29 Jun 22 - 07:01 AM

Goodness Dave, that list of birds tallies exactly with the species I get on my front lawn every morning! I'm always pleased to see sparrows, as they've been scarce until recently.
'My' starlings are 'yobs' too. They descend in droves and grab all the sultanas. But a gorgeous black-headed gull comes down on its own to have some of the bread.
I've noticed the jackdaws/crows are bloomin' greedy. They scoop up as much as they can get in their giant beaks, fly on to my roof and gobble it up. The other birds are a bit scared of them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Jun 22 - 05:32 AM

We call our resident starlings 'the yobs' due to their behavior. The duck visits have ceased for this year I think, as the latest batch of eggs have probably hatched. The sparrow hotel in the front hedge is still open for business and going strong. Blackbirds must have had chicks as whenever our cat, Molly, is out, Mrs Blackbird sits on the gutter screeching her head off. Not that Molly would be able to catch anything anyway. She often sits right under the bird feeder in the back while the yobs fight for bits of fat ball 3' above her :-S We have some new residents in 3 huge wood pigeons. It is funny to watch them balancing precariously on the bird feeder. Jackdaws are back after a bit of a gap when their nesting willow tree was removed. Mrs G is trying to get one tame enough to feed close to her and having some measure of sucess. The other day she put some stale fruit cake out on the lawn and after about 2 minutes the sky went dark as we were inundated with starlings, wood pigeons, jackdaws and black headed gulls. With the odd little spadger trying to run off with a tasty morsel :-) We do see the odd tit and finch round the back but I think it is generally too busy with other birds!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: BobL
Date: 29 Jun 22 - 03:48 AM

Sounds lovely, Neil. Wish I could say similar. However at this time of year my feeders just get stormed by delinquent juvenile starlings en masse.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Senoufou
Date: 29 Jun 22 - 03:29 AM

That's a lovely collection of birds and other creatures Neil! My neighbours worry that I'm encouraging rats by putting out wild bird seeds (which I buy at the supermarket), bread and a few sultanas on my front lawn. But the birds eat the lot up by noon, and there's none left for the rats.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Neil D
Date: 28 Jun 22 - 08:11 PM

We recently moved to the country and put out bird feeders. So far our guests include sparrows, house wrens, starlings, cowbirds, cardinals, grackles, crows, blue jays, mourning doves, two kinds of woodpeckers (the redheaded one is especially pretty), robins, killdeer and ruby throated hummingbirds who have a separate feeder. We also have a big fat rabbit and a squirrel. Who knew they would eat bird seed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Senoufou
Date: 24 Jun 22 - 04:56 AM

Apparently the BamBam statue is completed, and is going to be exhibited at the Royal Norfolk Show next week (Wednesday and Thursday) After that, it will be set in place outside The Fox pub.
But many of us are worried it will be vandalised.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: keberoxu
Date: 21 Jun 22 - 11:02 PM

We have two young cock robins fighting with each other every day
over the same bit of territory in and under the trees.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Senoufou
Date: 15 Jun 22 - 02:35 AM

We had a 'Mad Cow' on the loose yesterday, roaming about on the main road (the A1067). All the farm animals around here are expert escapologists. (Or could it be that the farmers' fencing isn't up to scratch?) Nobody seemed to know who Houdini the Cow belonged to, but a kind farmer rounded her up and got her back in a field.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: keberoxu
Date: 14 Jun 22 - 09:37 PM

It's about time for me, when I drive to the dry cleaner's for my clothes,
to look out for the Canada goose and her goslings by the pond.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: keberoxu
Date: 09 Jun 22 - 04:57 PM

I just spied a turtle! This while I was driving my car.
On the side of the road, as I hurried by at the speed limit,
stood a rather stout turtle staring across the road, or seeming to.

I wonder if he was not a SNAPPING turtle.
My reason for this guess,
is the size of his head and neck.
Even though his shell was quite round and thick and large,
his head and neck were SO big compared to the shell
that you wondered how he might manage to pull his head inside.
Which is kind of a giveaway of snapping turtles,
all that muscle tissue in their necks and jaws.

I've never seen a snapping turtle except in photographs before this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 May 22 - 09:36 PM

We've a pair of swans with a nest by the Stort a couple of hundred yards from us, who come back and raise a batch of cygnets every year. The pen sits on the eggs a whole month or more, all weathers and no food.

The cob cruised around on the Stort nearby, regularly terrorising a duck he'd taken a dislike to. No animosity to the other ducks. Or there was a pair of Canada geese who drove him wild. I think they enjoyed his charging attacks, just hopping out often way and looking at him from the bank.

Or he'd standing the path blocking pedestrians, or having a go at the occasional dog. He's normally quite a placid swan - I think this was him being an anxious Dad.

When the brood hatched the swans shepherded them on te water as they learned to manage swimming for a couple of days, then the whole family cleared off down the Stort to a quieter part, as they do every year.   

The geese are having a more relaxed time now Mr Swan has gone, and they brought along their own brood of goslings the other day, to show them off as it were.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Donuel
Date: 31 May 22 - 08:45 PM

A windstorm blew in over Lake Ontario with 70 mph gusts over the flat expanse around Buffalo airport. Against the dark horizon I saw a bit of white speeding toward me when I looked into the terrified eye of a Canadin goose just above my head going 90 mph WHOOSH and he was down wind in an instant. This guy wasn't as scared as much as me since he was an outrageous show off.

If anyone calls you a bird brain be proud. The bird brain has a neural net organized vertically and horizontaly doubling its capacity for quick internal communication.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Senoufou
Date: 31 May 22 - 02:21 AM

I do love Canada geese! They're quite numerous here and fly over the village from river-to-lake. One group of three have a very funny system of communication while in flight. The leader goes "Onk! Onk!", the one behind him goes "Ink! Ink!" but the third one, presumably a 'subordinate', just goes "peep". We all listen out for these three going overhead, and have a giggle.
As I've said before, this village is as mad as a box of frogs!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: keberoxu
Date: 29 May 22 - 09:07 PM

A fairly large gaggle of Canada geese was grazing in the grass
this afternoon on a public lawn.
No goslings, though, at this point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: keberoxu
Date: 28 May 22 - 05:16 PM

That does seem like the happiest possible outcome to the story:
the swans are still alive and well, still hatching cygnets,
and nobody got hurt.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Senoufou
Date: 28 May 22 - 02:32 AM

No keberoxu, thankfully they're lurking around my friend's farm ponds.They have hatched a brood of cygnets but no longer seem interested in marching them along the village high street. My friend feeds the pair when she's down there and they seem to have learned their lesson and are staying put on the farmland.
But we now have escaped goats roaming around and eating flowers in people's gardens. Nobody admits they belong to them, so we don't know who to contact to come and recapture them. They seem to have chummed up with a little muntjac deer, and they wander around in a group munching away on lupins, roses and even tomato plants.
This village will never be anything other than completely bonkers.(But fun!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: keberoxu
Date: 27 May 22 - 10:01 PM

Are they back yet, Eliza/Senoufou?


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: Senoufou
Date: 16 May 22 - 02:29 AM

We're now having swarms of honey bees being found clustered under trees, patio furniture and children's garden swings. The 'bee man', who has many hives, has been busy collecting these swarms wearing his bee-outfit and carrying a smoker. He sells honey and it's delicious.
We're still awaiting the large wooden statue of BamBam the tame red deer. They collected over £3000 towards it, and commissioned a sculptor ages ago, but still no sign. I think they plan to erect it outside the village pub (The Fox).


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Subject: RE: BS: Mad Swans, blue tits, and others
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 May 22 - 09:09 PM

Oh, and here in western Massachusetts, in the Berkshires,
the Canada geese have returned,
but I have yet to see any goslings.


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