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Assorted Wildlife, Beekeeping, Birds, Blackbirds, Honey Bees, Robins, Varroa etc

Flash Food Mob!

winter bird feeder

(No, I didn’t take this photo.  All the ones I took of my mob were crap.  But same principle, except multiply the birds by at least three, add a few waiting in the wings in trees and underneath the feeder. But minus the snow.  More of these wonderful photos can be found at http://www.squidoo.com/royalty-free-bird-photos and were taken by KiwisOutback.  Love the owls!)

No, not a reference to what happened in London and other cities a few weeks back.  But what was happening every day in my garden up until a week or so ago.  A pack of tits (now doesn’t that conjure up an image.  I know it sounds juvenile but I am still embarassed by the word even in this context, and usually refer to them as ‘twits’ or ‘tweets’.  And now that reminds me of Halloween…) descend upon the feeder, usually with some robins as hangers-on.  They can be heard before seen, and usually by the end of the day the feeder has been ravage.  During the last few weeks of August, they had discovered the little birdbath (my friend Tony caught Fuzz, the robin, on camera taking a dip there which photo I included a few posts ago).

I swear it was like being a lifeguard at the local public pool:  there was dive-bombing, belly flops, chasing around the edge.  And then there was  just plain voyeurism.  If a robin or blackbird happened to be in the pool when they descended, a few of them usually hung around just to watch, until the other bird harumphed off.  They had even been spotted watching blackbirds in the bigger rockpool.  Once the blackbird left, they experimented with the much deeper water, dipping their little claw toes in first, and then when they found some purchase on the rocks within the pools, taking a turn with only their little heads visible.

Fuzz taking a turn around his domain

I’ve become more convinced that Fuzz is a ‘he’, although I cannot really attribute it to his bossiness over his territory–I have had a few female blackbirds stomping around after each other.  Fuzz concentrated all his attentions on Scrappy this summer.  I am afraid we will never get a photo of this intrepid robin, as it is always being chased around, on land and in air, by Fuzz.  Scrappy is either the most comical or saddest looking thing: for much of the summer,  it was more vertical in its stance then Fuzz, slimmer, and its breast more mottled by what I assume was baby fuzz which gave it a bit of a bedraggled appearance.  Also, its eyes are not the black beads of Fuzz, but are encircled by white, giving it more of a goggle-eyed countenance.  Scrappy not only describes its appearance, but its spirit-it will not be put off by Fuzz.  It often joined me on the precious few  hot days this summer when I had been able to sit in the Adirondack (made by Tony John, of photo fame) and work.  Then, the clacking of my computer keys was accompanied by the snapping of its little beak as it caught bugs in mid-air (I had thought they foraged for bugs only in the grass, so it was quite a revelation for me to witness Scrappy hard at work, while keeping its goggled eye peeled for Fuzz.)

Following on from the last post—-

Help with ‘chewed wax’ syndrome

From one bee expert:

I think it would have been stores (honey or sugar syrup) that had been placed in the cells and then granulated before being capped.  When the bees then use it they suck all the liquid part of the granulated stores which tends to leave sugar crystals (that if loose will fall out when you tip to one side).  They will then bring in water to dissolve the sugar crystals to then use them.

And another:

Sounds more as though your bees could do with a really good feed.  Are you using a contact (bucket) feeder?  If you can get hold of a rapid feeder (Ashforth or one of the cheaper plastic trays) you’ll be surprised at the amount they can stash away overnight.  On 2nd thoughts, no need to buy a feeder – just use a plastic washing up bowl, pour in the syrup, scatter straw on top to stop them drowning, put it on top of the frames and cover with an empty super and roof.

I am inclined to go with the first because there definitely were crystals on the frame and the floor of the hive.  But I don’t totally discount that the little terrors weren’t scrounging for food.

Bee Report:  11 September

Second Apiguard treatment, and another round of feed for both hives.

Oh yeah, and a few more bee stings this time on the head when I was mowing (and from the main hive, not swarm hive).  No one would ever believe that these aren’t vicious bees, or, that I do have a brain cell or two in my head.  Had to mow the lawn in my beesuit again, at least when I was at the bottom part of the garden.

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