Friday, 30 May 2008

Three Weeks Four Days

The Doos have now been in residence for almost four weeks, they have been madly flapping their wings and having a go at impersonating Harrier Jump Jets. Apparently all this is in preparation for the time that they will be flying, nearly there, release date is set to be June 20th so fingers crossed that they fly free but come home for tea. I am hoping to make a video of the liberation. As you can see from the picture the weather has been really great and Grandma and I have been making the most of it. Hardly any rain so the raised beds have been getting hosed but everything is growing really well.

Have had a lot of visitors this week so the doos have been getting used to lots of new faces and voices, we talk to them every time we pass the fortress to get them used to us so that they will in time become hand tame. Mary and Eric were particularly fine at cooing or maybe it was just Mary trying to talk after sampling yet another bottle of Rose/Red/White wine.

There has been some funny business in the cote this week. A fair bit of pecking and bullying with at least some blood being drawn. This sorting out of the pecking order is not a pretty sight but we weathered it with the chickens so am sure we will again with the doos. We have also had some very amorous going on and for ten week old babies it seems a little precocious! However I guess in human years they must equate to being about ten so perhaps they are dooing OK. Not that I would throw my ten year old out of a window in a few weeks time and expect it to come back again.

Thought that we had lost Poppy Hen again the other day as she started making some very odd noises and the bare bit on her neck looked sore and inflamed. Herb was poised to do the deed and send her to the great hen coop in the sky but she must have heard us and decided to get better. However it has settled down again and she seems happy, amazing what Savlon and Tea Tree Oil can do for a Sick Chick.

No more news for now, off to look at the latest blood bath in the OK Corrall.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Two weeks down, four to go!

The new birds have been with us now for over two weeks, they are getting used to life in the cage, it is not ideal but then it is not for ever. This week I provided them with a splash pool by managing to get a shallow bath of water into the run, they love it when it is warm and splash around and then lay about on the grass dripping dry. I have tried to photograph them in the pool but they are having none of it, preferring to bathe in private. It is also quite difficult getting shots of them, not at them but Hindoo posed nicely this afternoon and here it is.
All the birds are enjoying the fine dry weather, the chickens have been making good use of the Chicken Spa and its use seems to be dominated by the Two Veras. Now I have opened up the newly seeded area of the run the chickens are having a great time and laying some enormous eggs. The Veras and Daisy have taken to roosting on top of the Eglu run at night and at dusk I had been shooing them back in to the Eglu but as soon as I was in the house they were on the roof again so I have decided to leave them to it.
My newly built raised beds are fairly blossoming, everything is coming along well, I think all the purloined chicken manure that we spread into the bases have done them a world of good. I just hope someone likes Jerusalem Artichokes after all this for they are growing bigger and faster than anything else.
Herb is busy building us ( me) a fire pit down by the stream, it is a bit like a mini Stonehenge . It is going to be multi purpose it that we can cook on it Jamie Oliver style and then have a roaring fire in it afterwards. It is going to be great. Nice to see him getting good use of his shiny yellow cement mixer.
Next job for me is to think of a next job for Herb!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Moonzie renamed the Killing Fields

The Doos are fine, However the baby Blue Tits appear to have been eaten by an unknown assailant. Got back from shopping to find the above remains on the path outside the lounge window. I have no idea what has had them, they were in the nest and being fed by the parents yesterday. Whatever it was it did not like feet or wings.

On a brighter note I was sitting by the stream in the sunshine yesterday and I caught a glimpse of a Kingfisher as it whizzed by, bright turquoise and orange, it is a lovely sight, but all too rare.

The new Doo Clan have settled in very well and fly to the ground on occasion to sun themselves and to peck at the grit and seeds that have fallen to the ground. They have lasted a week and a day and still no sign of the dog in the garden again. Only five more weeks in captivity.

Saw a strange sight two days ago, I heard the normal Buzzard noise and looked out to see at least a dozen circling high over head, we have often seen four or five but this was amazing.

Yesterday we had the Robin in the kitchen feeding from crumbs on the table and later in the day discovered it must have had a quick look around the house too as was evident by stragically placed droppings on the bannisters.

We found the dead swallow in amongst the logs on the wood pile. So sad after it getting back all the way from Africa to come and die at Moonzie.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

More worrying feathered goings on

The new Dove Clan have settled in well and are venturing further than the feeding station performing some interesting acrobatic feats by hanging from the netting. They are exceptionally messy, of course I used to feed the original four on the ground and now I am using the feeding platform it gets very grubby. Dove poo and feed combined means I have to sweep it each day, no mean feat through a hatch 12 inches by 8.

Moonzie continues to be a haven for wildlife and two weeks ago saw the return of our beloved swallows. First we saw only one but by the start of the week we were up to at least six and as ever they were in the barn swoopoing low over Herbs head while selecting the prime nesting site. We have always had swallows in the barn and it is great to see them returning each year although in lesser numbers each season. We also have a robin nesting in the barn and already have had several altercations between the robin and the swallows.

A couple of days ago though we saw an unusual sight. It was a swallow on the ground looking for all the world like it was just resting, we assumed it to be a new arrival from Africa and left it to rest in the warm sunshine. However yesterday it was still on the ground although it had moved to another part of the lawn. We took photographs and I gave it a drink. A little later I was astonished to see two other swallows swooping down and to begin with I thought it nice, they were showing concern, however it soon became clear that in fact the downed swallow was being dive bombed and pecked and dunted on the back of it's head. This continued on and off for a long time. After a concerted effort by the swallows the injured one flapped away under a bush and the aerial bombardement stopped. We have been unable to find the downed swallow and assume it may have crawled away and died. It was horrible to watch and seemed like very unusual behaviour.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Doo Day Arrives

Bank Holiday Monday was the warmest of the year up here in Fife and we set off in the sunshine to Glenrothes to collect our new babies with a borrowed wicker basket and clutching another £80. Duncan, the breeder, had selected six to choose from and after a good look at all we chose four, a pure White Garden Dove, a cross Garden Fantail/Indian with feathered legs, a Garden Fantail with a pied black and white tail and a White Fantail with a tiny blob of Ginger on it.

When we got home they were carefully transferred into Fortress Moonzie and all sat on the perch looking bemused at their new home. They all had a drink as they arrived ( in the best tradition of Moonzie) and soon settled well. I spent most of the afternoon watching them while pretending to weed the garden. I think the blanket spread on the ground was a bit of a giveaway when Herb came to see how much I had done.

After watching them for a while new names seemed to evolve for the clan so after much discussion we now have Hindoo, she/he is the cross Fantail/Indian, we also have Lily Doo who is the smallest, most elegant and shy pure white fantail. Then we have Bully Doo who has the black and white tail and who is most definitely in charge and lastly we have Huffy Doo with the ginger marking, who sat for most of the day all hunched up, sleeping and looking vaguely like one of our boys when he used to famously sit hunched up in the stair well when not amused. I decided not to call them the names of the first batch after all.

Last night was misty and damp and when I ventured out at 10pm, three were still outside on the balcony of the doocote and one had sensibly gone inside for the night. This morning they all look perky and fit and well, Bully continues to nag at the others , pecking them on the head from time to time, while jostling them for a better position. Lily is still quiet and accomodating, moving away from Bully and Huffy seems somewhat cheerier today. Hindoo is just doing what doos do and eating and watching the world go by.
As it is yet another sunny day I am off to do some more weeding, somewhere with a good view of my new Doves. Herb is now groaning as I have just suggested we should get a new bench so that I can actually sit and doo watch.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Fortress Moonzie

We were to be away for the weekend but the weather on the West Coast was set to be dire so instead we stayed at home and got all the little jobs done that we had been putting off for ages. Oh Joy ,Herb was heard to say at that little nugget of planning from me.

The weather here in Fife was wonderful and as it was so warm outside we decided also to get the new improved Doo defences up and Herb set to designing and building a Five Star homing cage . Halfway through the building programme I decided on some modifications and he duly added them. I think adding in a perch may have been easier before the wire netting was attached but it did look so much better with a perch. It took all day and is most certainly dog proof, the final addition was a warning sign that I obtained while touring in the Falklands, quite legally, I have my Mine Sign release certificate, and I am not joking. Later yesterday evening the neighbours came to inspect the doo cote again and Dan was most disappointed that we had not actually mined the area for real. We celebrated the new grand design in the summer house till quite late. Overnight I have decided on one more modification which involves a further layer of netting over the roof, just in case a determined sea eagle flies over head and fancies a Doo sandwich for lunch. Not my words of course.

Tomorrow we are off to get some more baby white Doos. To be named as before but Mk 2.