Saturday 20 May 2023

...birds, bees, flowers, trees...and a dog

  • It took a while to happen this year, but the arrival of the bluebells and the Accidental Poppy in my front garden a week or two ago made it official - Spring has properly sprung! This poppy, with its gorgeous orange flowers, has appeared in the same spot for three years now, so it's technically no longer Accidental, but a Regular Feature - and I couldn't be happier to see it return. I also cannot imagine more perfect companions for it than the bluebells, which seem to be growing thicker and  spreading  further every year. They  complement each other perfectly, and have been making my heart sing every time I open my front door. 
  • Further afield, I was walking the XXSCat dog through the woods last week, enjoying more bluebells, plus wild garlic and wood anemones, when I was struck by the Deep Thought that, "Wood Anemones look really similar to Clematis". This led me to wonder to myself if they were related. So when I got home I Googled it...
...and it turns out that they actually are! As far as I can see, the main difference between my Clematis (on the left), and the Wood Anemone (on the right), is the size of the flowers and the number of sepals...and the fact that the Clematis is wallpaper-ish by inclination, whereas the Wood Anemone is more carpet-like. I was so pleased with myself for spotting the family resemblance and learning something new. I really hope that the Clematis/Wood Anemone connection isn't actually Common Knowledge!
  • I have to admit I'd never have spotted the familial likeness to a buttercup, though. If you know what you're looking for then, yes, the features are there, but that bright sunny yellow is so different to the muted cream, pink and pale green of its cousins. I spied this one on a Magical Mystery Tour at the park with the XXCat dog this week. Rather than me telling her which way to go, I let her be Pack Leader and followed obediently in her wake. We paused for a few minutes to check out a big patch of broom, absolutely covered in bees. You could hear the humming from several feet away.
Then on past my favourite whitebeam tree, across the field (carpeted with daisies and edged with speedwell)... 
...a brief detour into the woods,  past the lake, around the playground, and up the hill towards home. Such a funny, bossy, determined little dog, and a very conscientious Pack Leader, setting a steady pace, checking over her shoulder to make sure I was keeping up, and waiting patiently for me when I fell behind. 
  • Girlie, the very tame blackbird, is a daily source of  delight at the moment. 
I stand just a few feet away from her when she comes for her mealworms, and tell her how lovely it is to see her, how beautiful she is looking, and what a clever bird she is. She is sometimes accompanied by a very handsome, but timid, male blackbird ('Sonny') who watches nervously from the safety of the hedge while the two of us catch up. Yesterday he perched on the corner of next door's garage roof and sang to me for a while, so I'm hoping our friendship will deepen over time.
Both have taken to having gloriously splashy baths in the rainwater bowl provided for their enjoyment. Here is Girlie, flapping her wings and fanning her tailfeathers. Just after she flies away there is the briefest glimpse of Sonny (following from the right).