Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Soay Sheep, Seagull Chicks and Other Things

Soay Sheep Update

I didn't tell you that some idiot let their uncontrolled dog chase the Soay Sheep earlier this month, one ran off towards the cliffs and had been stranded for a couple of weeks. 


We have spoken with the rangers regularly (who really do look after them) and they hoped it would scramble back to the flock eventually. However on Friday the RSPCA winched the sheep off the cliff and the RNLI came out to give them support. So I'm very happy to say all 11 are back together again.



Brixham Farmers Market Sunday

I went off to the farmers market this Sunday as I haven't been for a long time. Last time it was full of stalls selling cupcakes! However I'm really pleased to see it's coming along nicely and the variety of stalls was much improved. I met Elizabeth and Steve Westcott from Mrs Westcotts Honey Products in Brixham and bought a lip balm which is so soft, and a delicious honey, apple and apricot chutney. Elizabeth teaches bee keeping for beginners in Torquay and also writes for the Devon Beekeeping Magazine. I bought quite a few items and was so busy chatting and buying that I didn't get any photos and I'm quite cross with myself. 

Seagull Chick Time

Well all the sitting and waiting has been worth it, as we now have more and more chicks on the rooftops. In the image above the Herring Gull has its nest over to the right of the photo. I'm worried as you can also see 2 Black Backed Gulls sitting near their nest on the next house along. They are brutal birds and will kill the Herring Gull chicks given a chance, so I'll be watching out regularly and hoping it doesn't happen.


Here you can clearly see the nest and hopefully the 3 chicks. It's not the best quality image as it's quite far away.



Here's another family with 2 chicks across the road.

Springwatch is doing a very nice piece on the urban gulls in Bristol and I think it's important to show people these beautiful birds up close, pairing for life and being such good parents, instead of stealing chips! 







Birds in the garden

After a few years of hardly a feather, with the garden beginning to mature and fill out, I am starting to see the fruits of my labour. I've had plenty of birds stopping on the new trees, some regular pigeons and house sparrows in the birdbath.

This pigeon stops by every lunch time and I have bought pigeon feed for her. She sits and waits for me, but is still not quite brave enough to stay whilst I fill the table.


One of many Wood Pigeons that visit every day. They are great fun to watch and have some difficulty manoeuvring from the roof of the bird table onto the tray below. They have perfected a move which involves sliding down the roof edge on their feet and at the last minute they fly and land on the tray....sometimes they don't make it!


A Blue Tit has discovered the coconut feeder and comes every day to feed on his/her own. I'm really hoping they will bring chicks along eventually.  I have had to wire the coconut feeder as we have a resident crow that defends everything in the garden. He very cleverly uses the string to pull the half coconut up to his feet and then eats the lot. So I now wire it instead and it's proved too difficult for him.


I do love these little guys, its so entertaining seeing them take a bath. I just managed to catch these two yesterday through the living room window. We have plenty of Sparrows here in Brixham.


Lacewings

Has anyone seen any Lacewings this year? I looked them up and it seems they like damp gardens, which is probably why I don't have any here. We used to have at lot where I lived before, they would hibernate in the house. I'm really having to get used to the different wildlife here.


On holiday this week with Hubby....and look at the weather! We had planned to go off to Cornwall today, but the forecast was not good at all. So we are at home sheltering from the wind and rain and looking forward to a fish and chip supper in Brixham..Hurray, no cooking! Hopefully we will go on Friday or Saturday...my camera is already packed.

Welcome to new follower Em Parkinson from Dartmoor Ramblings showing how beautiful Dartmoor is. 

18 comments:

  1. I loved this post Suzie, packed full of lovely things. The first pigeon pic looks like a stock dove to me, we have a couple here. They are very shy. Loved your sparrows (as you know, I have a soft spot for them!) We usually get lacewings here but I haven't seen any yet. Oh and I nearly forgot to say how gorgeous those gull chicks are. I'll be keeping my finger's crossed they grow up safe. CT :-)

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    1. Thanks CT. I'll try to get more images of the chicks are they grow, they are fun to watch but also heartbreaking as roof tops are not the best place for little chicks with big seagull feet. There's a lot of sliding and tumbling.

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  2. I glad the poor sheep was eventually rescued and hope the idiot won't allow their dog to chase the sheep again! Lovely to see all the wildlife in your garden. My children on their paper rounds had to be careful of gulls nesting on roofs. Some of the birds would try to attack them as they headed towards the front doors. Hope the weather improves so you get away!
    Sarah x

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    1. Just about to check the Met Office for Cornwall tomorrow. Yes the gulls are protective and often make the news headlines if attacking postmen! Summer is not fully here so I'm worried about the sheep when all the tourists with dogs arrive too.

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  3. Glad the sheep was saved. What is it with cupcakes which were always fairy cakes...... weren't they? Nice to see you have a variety of birds in your garden and not just seagulls too. Have noticed a bluetit flitting about in my garden too. We have a pair of pigeons we have named Mr & Mrs Fatso (if you saw them you would understand why - its a wonder they can still fly!). One or other sits in the middle of the seed tray and flicks whatever I have put in there out on to ground.
    Julie xxxxxxxx

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    1. I had two bluetits in the garden this afternoon..it was quite exciting. Hopefully he is spreading the news to the others and I'll have a graden full soon!

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  4. Lovely photos - so pleased the sheep was eventually rescued and returned to the flock.

    Interesting to see the Herring Gull nest and chicks - hope they remain safe from the larger gulls.

    I haven't seen any lacewings yet this year but, in view of your comment, I will check some of the damper parts of the garden!

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    1. We are short on ladybirds too. I don't think I've got any hope of seeing lacewings here, however we do get cockchafers flying around the garden and they are quite spectacular.

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  5. No - I haven't seen any Lacewings either. Love the pictures of the Seagull chicks and those sheep are gorgeous.

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    1. Happily the sheep have moved to a slightly safer location. The rangers feed them every day and check on their health. The sheep know the look of the ranger and come running over to see him as soon as he appears.

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  6. Wonderful photos. I love the little Soay sheep; I do get furious when dogs worry sheep. I'm glad this sheep was rescued OK. I'm fascinated by honey products; so I'd be very interested in the lip balm and the chutney. And great to see the gulls; I'm following the Springwatch story, too. Gulls really do claim the rooftops.

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    1. Thanks Wendy. Last Springwatch tonight, it's kept me quite occupied these last few weeks. I'd love them to do Springwatch from a coastal location.

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  7. So glad the sheep are now safe and sound. I must admit I've never seen Seagull chicks before, so thanks for this. x

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    1. Thanks, I know seagull life was never something I'd looked at or thought about before, but I find them as facinating and endearing as all the other 'little' birds now. They are part of the wildlife around me and therefore part of my new life by the sea.

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  8. Hi Suzie, Living in this land locked area, I'm another one who has never seen gull chicks. I think gulls get a very bad press as do pigeons, such a shame as all birds are fascinating to me. I have Wood Pigeons in my garden which perform some hilarious manoeuvres in order to try and eat from the seed feeders hanging in the trees even though there is plenty for them on the tables. Lovely photos, my favourite is the last.

    I'm so glad the sheep was eventually rescued, that would have really worried me as I'm sure it did you. Stupid, stupid people! I adore dogs but some folk just shouldn't be allowed to own them.

    By the way, what on earth is this current obsession with cupcakes! They seem to have reached some sort of cult status! I saw one of your other commenters has noticed it too. They were always called fairy cakes, I think cupcakes is an American name.

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  9. Our dog is very well behaved but we still put him on the lead and I ask people to put their dogs on the lead in that area too. I do love wood pigeons, they often sit on the pergola in a line and have a snooze together- after they've eaten all the seed! All seagull chicks are doing well. We have plenty now all around us and some late nesters who are still sitting tight. I hope to get some better pics when they start moving about a bit more. I love my two little pigeons who come to see me every day (obviously I know they are only after the specially bought in pigeon seed) at lunch time. I just hope they dont tell their friends and before I know it I'll have 10,000 on the roof (slight exaggeration I know).

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  10. I often think that the Soay Sheep behave and look more like goats than sheep. For one thing they browse rather than graze and another is that they are much easier to raise in that unlike the common sheep they don't need shearing because they moult and one can pluck handfuls of the wool from them.Nor do they seem to have the birthing problems of the modern sheep who are not known for the easy lambing as per the Soay.

    They are much more aware of their surroundings than the husbanded sheep, and seem to rely more on their sense of sight to warn of imminent danger. When alarmed they tend to scatter in
    small groups or single animals and reform afterwards rather than herd together for protection.

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    1. A lot of tourists call them goats, and are surprised when I tell them they are sheep. They are moulting at the moment and it looks really odd to see the fleece falling off them in clumps. I wonder if we are going to have lambs...now that will be exciting!

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