Heron vs crow

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There was a time when I used to make lots of GIF animations, mainly cartoons, but like Flash used in ads., it became a bit annoying and I stopped making them some years ago. However they do have there uses as they can explain an event without uploading a cumbersome video. Searching for something to post I came across these photos of a crow mobbing a heron taken on the river Nagold in Pforzheim a couple of years ago. Each photo alone does not really provide much insight but put together and things become clearer, I hope.

Why the crow was so incensed by the heron I have no idea as fish is not on their daily diet as far as I am aware. Herons do nest in trees so maybe it was a neighborly dispute. Whatever, the crow was quite persistent forcing the heron to escape to the other side of the river where the harassment continued for sometime. The heron remained super cool … maybe it was just a game.

Sunday walk

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Heavy snowfall always transforms the forest into something magical, so I venture out into the cold to take some snaps. The sky is clear and it is close to freezing but the sunshine will soon warm things up.

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Tracks in the snow are always interesting. Below left: are paw prints and with no signs of human foot prints it could be a fox or even the dreaded wolf. On the right are either deer or wild boar prints, probably deer as boar tend to roam in groups.

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Below the tree walk is deserted, a sign of the times. Normally on a Sunday like this there would be hoards of people visiting, but times have changed for the moment.

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tree

Doris

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Sheep tuck into a welcomed bale of hay as snow returns to the hillside. I knew a cold front was on the way but I was not expecting snow again. I think the woodpecker was equally surprised as he was noticeably silent today. ‘Doris’ the ewe (right in photo) always keeps her distance while the others dive into the hay with abandon. Doris is actually the one remaining sheep from the last flock and still suffers, I suspect, from trauma after a lamb and the other ewe were taken by a wolf last year. However she does respond when I coax her to come forward and tuck in, albeit very warily. So even sheep respond to being spoken to, believe it or not.

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Spring!

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After seeing all these flowers in bloom I was going to name today the first day of Spring despite a cold front heading this way. In fact a fellow blogger in the US beat me to it, as he explained, today was the Vernal Equinox apparently, making it the earliest Spring in over 150 years. Thanks Buddy!

My outing today was to the supermarket, which I had already postponed for several days trying to comply with the present advice. It was glorious weather, warm and sunny. I descended into town on foot as public transport had been stopped due to Coronavirus. I needed money from the bank for shopping but decided instead to pay by card in the supermarket to help avoid transmitting any bugs from the cash-point to the supermarket. When I came to pay at the checkout a sign asked customers to pay with cash, why I don’t know, I should have asked of course … but let’s face it, whatever you do it is never going to be right with someone.

Update: misinformation correction

In fact the supermarket sign said: ‘Bargeldlos’, in other words pay by card. Sorry for that a complete misunderstanding.

So then I wandered through the empty streets, which are usually pretty empty this time of year, to the ‘House of Guests’ where I wanted to wash my hands before drinking from a bottle I had purchased and climbing back up the hill. A sign outside informed me that it was closed until further notice due to the Coronavirus. As was the next possible place and the one after that. So despite the ‘wash your hands’ rant that the authorities are forever plugging they seem to be doing everything to prevent it.

I only mention these two examples to illustrate that whatever you do with the best of intentions life is never so cut and dried or that simple so you have to find a sensible balance yourself.

The problem as I see it is not so much the Covid19 virus but flu in general, which has seen climbing death rates over the past years in Europe and it has reached a crisis point where hospitals can no longer cope. This is why we all need to watch our hygiene from now on even once the Covid19 has passed by, which I am sure it will do. In fact China reported no new cases today, if you can believe anything you read or hear in the news.

Cactus mystery

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I’ve never been that into cacti but last year a supermarket was selling these beautiful flowering cacti. I bought two, and as I never get a shopping trolley at this place and baskets are rarely available it was quite a painful juggling act reaching the cashier with arms full of other shopping. This is all by the way incidentally, I thought I had posted the event on my blog but could not find it so I am sort of recapping.

Anyway to cut a long story short I managed to reach home safely only for one of the flowers to fall off as I opened the front door. When I picked it up it appeared to be a paper flower that had been hot glued onto the cactus. Well, there’s no fool like an old fool, I thought. I was convinced I had been taken for a ride but liked these ‘paper’ flowers anyway for their dash of colour and replaced it and left the cacti on my balcony.

I noticed the flowers opened and closed during the summer, which rather freaked me out at the time but realised they were real flowers that had probably been dried and it was a reflex reaction due to sunlight. I was still convinced they had been hot glued on.

However was I surprised today when I noticed a ring of small pink flowers blooming around the ‘fake’ flowers. Now I am beginning to think that I was mistaken all along and the flowers were real, though I am yet to be convinced 100%.

Corona II

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My fridge filled with lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, thanks to the local restaurant.

The local restaurant next to me has shut. Although restaurants in Germany are allowed to open between 6:00 and 18:00 there were so few people visiting this one it was impossible to keep going. Also each person visiting had to be registered making the whole event of a restaurant visit rather frustrating for both staff and customers.

On the plus side I received some of their vegetables that may otherwise have been thrown away. Meanwhile if I thought I was isolated before, now they have stopped transport to the local town. That means a 4km walk  there and back and a descent and climb of almost 400meters with SHOPPING! In the village where I am there are no shops, you cannot even buy milk.

Looks like I will have to take up inedia (aka Prana).

 

Woodpecker II

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The green woodpecker continued its drilling today, while working its way towards the top of the building.

While Googling ‘green woodpeckers’ in an effort to discover whether it was a young bird I came across this:

Common Woodpecker Spirit Animal Meanings

When the woodpecker spirit animal comes knocking, it seeks to rekindle your passion in finding the truth.

The woodpecker symbolism also encourages you to be innovative and creative and to protect those who are too weak to protect themselves.

The woodpecker spirit animal appears to you because you need to protect your wisdom and creativity from threats.

Do not be too open about your pursuits because there are many threats out there that will take them away from you.

People will always want to take advantage of your kindness and generosity. The woodpecker meaning encourages you to strike a balance between being kind and being cautious.

Well that was fascinating, I shall take note.

This particular green woodpecker does not have the distinctive markings I am familiar with and it also seems to have an abundance of down feathers, which made me wonder if it was a young bird and maybe a little confused about where it should be drilling. However I still feel the most likely reason for drilling on a building is to attract a mate.

Anyway I have seen it flying around for several months so I am sure there will be more photos to come.

Stay safe, take care.

 

Woodpecker

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The sound of woodpeckers drilling on trees is a daily occurrence this time of the year. They are either drilling a hole for a nest or testing the tree for nesting suitability. Today however the sound was different, it sounded hollow and was much closer. I looked out my window and listened. A woodpecker was clearly not far away but scanning the nearest deciduous tree I could see nothing and the tree looked too young and green anyway for woodpecker nesting. The only other trees were fir and they were too far away for the sound. I was a little dumbfounded until my eye caught sight of a green woodpecker clinging to the side of the neighboring building. At first I thought it was just a coincidence and the sound was coming from elsewhere but then it resumed drilling into CONCRETE!

Not only that but this woodpecker remained in the same spot and drilled intermittently for at least an hour. I wondered why it was doing this and was rather concerned for its beak. I mean, I am pretty sure even with a hammer and screwdriver I would have been hard put to make more noise. Maybe it was to attract a mate, like a we might discover and play a new musical instrument to impress someone.

Anyone with any ideas?

Sunday walk

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It may be premature but I feel that was the last gasp of winter. As the snow melts temperatures appear to be on the rise over the next weeks and that can only mean Spring is just around the corner.

Wandering along my usual route the birds are chattering away, I hear buzzards calling and woodpeckers intermittent drilling. No doubt searching trees suitable for nesting holes. I also hear a high pitched ‘yeah’ from some bird I often hear but have yet to see or identify. Not the blonde that keeps following me I might add.

Other than that it is relatively quiet and quite mild despite the feeble sunshine.

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I pass the tree ‘bow’ and focus my camera on textures.

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Small bracket fungi cling to a log lying on the ground.

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This tree has seen better days. I am not sure what has caused this, maybe the beetle that has invaded many trees in the forest but it makes an interesting graphic.

I put up a home made bird box the other day and blue tits have already been inspecting it, poking their heads inside the hole to check it out. Maybe if they move in I will get a few interesting photos later. Nuthatches are also frequent visitors to my balcony.

(Update)

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Here the first photos of blue/great tits inspecting the nest box I only put up a few days ago. Truly amazing how quickly they check things out. The photo is poor because I have yet to clean my windows and figure out a suitable way of photographing them. The blue tit also checked all edges of the roof thoroughly, presumably to make sure it was waterproof and OK to move in. The nuthatches took no interest, which is no surprise as it was designed for tits. There was also a newcomer this afternoon, a crested tit, which would be a welcomed neighbour.

Tomorrow I will clean the windows and see if I can improve on the photo quality.

Watch this space.