We had a shrew and later a hedgehog foraging under the bird feeders yesterday and this afternoon – on a day when it never stopped raining – a wood mouse was feeding on the spilt sunflower seeds and the crumbs of fat ball.
It ran off and vanished down a hole in the middle of the lawn. There must be hidden world beneath the turf; yesterday a shrew popped underground via another hole in its restless search for food.
We’ve guessed during the last month or two that a pair of bullfinches must have a nest nearby. We used to see them sitting opposite each other on the sunflower hearts feeder and I suspected that they were gathering seed to feed their young. Bullfinches feed their young on regurgitated seeds which they store in the bullfinch equivalent of a hamster’s cheek pouches.
Today a bullfinch fledgling was sitting on the washing line, begging for food. The adult male, on a perch on the feeder, appeared to be de-husking sunflower hearts and storing them in his pouches. He then flew over to the washing line and fed them to the fledgling.
The fledgling looked rather dull, perhaps a little duller than the female but it lacked her dark cap.
8.35 a.m.: A dunnock chases a shrew across the lawn but the shrew ignores it and continues its zig-zag pattern of foraging. It disappears into a small hole for a minute then pops up again in the same place and continues its investigations, pushing its nose amongst the grass stems.
It has lighter-coloured ears; it is whitish beneath and it has a stiffish looking tail which to me looks wider in proportion to its body than I’d expect. It has velvety light brown-grey fur. I’ve shown it too brownish here.
Shrew v. Blackbird
A male blackbird paces along a few inches from it, following its progress, but it seems too diffident to peck at it.
10.40 a.m.; Not so the female blackbird, which pecks at the shrew which is now foraging at the foot of the bird-feeding pole; she pecks at it several times and it scuttles off to take cover in the nearby flower border.
6.30 p.m.; The shrew is still around, busily investigating the turf by the edge of the lawn.
8.30 p.m.; A hedgehog snuffles about beneath the bird feeders.
Sad to report, the following day, following non-stop rain, the bedraggled shrew had expired and was lying on the lawn. Its body measured 5.2 cm, its tail about 4 cm.
To lose sight of the direction your work is going in can be part of the creative process but to literally lose your sight in one eye, even for a short period, is alarming.
I feel as if I’ve been going through a prolonged period of writer’s (and illustrator’s) block but that’s been partly because every time I sit at my desk I find myself faced with one of the necessary but time-consuming tasks that are involved in the day-to-day running of my booklet-publishing business: accounts, printing problems, fulfilling orders and keeping up with deadlines.
There’s a certain guilty pleasure in taking a break from your core work to indulge in ‘mindless’ activities but I’m now wondering if spending the whole of last Tuesday staring at my computer, trying to design an automated invoice for my book sales, might not have been such a good idea.
In the Blink of an Eye
It might have been only for a minute or two but the loss of vision in my left eye was emphatic and at the time – thankfully for a brief period – I didn’t know whether the sight in that eye would be restored or not.
A week later, I’ve hada blood test and an eye-test including an OCT scan of the back of my eye. Later today I’m heading for the new Eye Centre at Pinderfields Hospital for a closer investigation.
So far, so good, and I’m hoping the results will be reassuring for me. I’m so impressed at how quickly our hard-pressed National Health Service were able to deal with my problem.