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Assorted Wildlife, Beekeeping, Birds, Blackbirds, Bumblebees, Great Tits, Hedgehog, Squirrels


I think this has become my most favorite word, and I owe it to Quercuscommunity who got it from John Clare (quoted on the Quercuscommunity page):

And coy bumbarrels, twenty in a drove,
Flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain
And hang on little twigs and start again. 

John Clare – Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter

I may or may not tell you what they are by the end of the post. But just think of what you might dredge up while googling it? Just think about my clogged up spam filter…  Thanks Quercus Community, I think…

Not a Bumbarrel, but close…

You will remember in the last post but one where I saved a Great Tit? It’s getting harder and harder to think I did a good thing. Why, look at my last post where Lesley the Bird Nerd shed some insight into the secret life of my little pal (and where I managed to insult my friends, kind of). On top of that, Philip Strange  seeks to tarnish its reputation a little bit more: Regarding wild bumblebee nests

A total of 39 vertebrate species were filmed at entrances but the majority did not interact with the nests. Great tits (Parus major) depredated or attempted to depredate bees on 32 occasions at the entrances to 10 nests, something that has not previously been described. 

(From : http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/een.12482/abstract)

There is something to this, but it’s not just great tits. We noted  that the fatsia japonica had bloomed only because of the number of tits, robins, and sparrows hanging around it and the cloud of insects covering it:

There were butterflies among the insects the other day….

Hog Weigh In

We had a session of hog weighing last week. Any over 400g we were alloed to throw back. Those under were to be accompanied to the nearest hog sanctuary. My husband got to be a dab hand at wrassling them and getting them on the scale, even a battling duo who are always fighting over the same tin every night.  The good news is that the 6 we weighed were all over 400g and at least half well over 500g.  When we released them, my husband laughed that conspiracy theories around the Area 51 where hogs disappear then reappear. Didn’t prevent them from coming back, even the battling duo…

A few hogs that might have wished to disappear:

Bob ended up in the care of Suzanne Lyons, who runs Suzanne’s Hedgehog Rescue at the end of last month after he was rescued from a group of children who were using him as a football.

Fellow baby hedgehog Spooky learned the hard way how frightening Halloween can be after he was abused by a group of men, who not only kicked him like a football, but poured a tar-like substance over him and covered him in beer while they were doing it on Halloween night. According to a homeless woman, who rescued him from the men, they even filmed their sick behaviour on their mobile phones.

Read more at: http://www.fenlandcitizen.co.uk/news/two-hedgehogs-used-as-footballs-in-separate-incidents-in-wisbech-are-among-those-at-rescue-centre-1-8227998

Hard as nails… 

I have been taking a body count before going into winter. While winter seems to be the season for worrying about wildlife, summer is not exactly a gentler season. There may be an abundance of food, but the competition of a breeding season is vicious, a blood sport for all concerned. And then there are the birds at the top of the chain who have to feed their young as well, and when those young grow up they stick around to learn how to fond their own food.

Thankfully, Bossy Boy is still around although keeping a low profile, letting the younger birds fight it out and be targets for the ever vigilant young sparrowhawks. However, his mate, Toes, has not been seen, and she is usually pushing him aside to get to the worms.


Our special girl, seems like we have one every summer. This one has a gammy leg (note right leg goes off at an angle), most likely a knee problem. She gets by quite well. Noticed her balancing on her bad leg while trying to scratch her head with the other.

And then there’s our GG, the girl with the gimpy hip and birth control tail feathers: she disappeared some time mid-summer and I feared the worst.

But, happily, she’s been showing up in the morning, making her way from up the street and I think across the road. I figured she was keeping out of the way of the sparrowhawk family and the other blackbirds. Hard as nails that girl, and I am so happy she is still around.


Another determined girl…

Remember my gal pal from a previous post? Well, Dibble couldn’t be more with us if she actually lived with us.  Oh wait…

She is so bold about taking the walnuts, pecans, anything in a shell from us that she has decided to cut out the middle people all together. Yes, she was going to get her own nuts from El Doraldo herself.

She finally saw her chance when I left the kitchen door open to do a bit of flash weeding (all I can stand, really).  After an hour or so, I came back inside to luxuriate in a pile of books by Italian writers.  I thought I heard some little scratching, thumping sounds but we have a gang of house sparrows who are always crashing about after insects.  Finally, one thump too many. It was definitely coming from under the couch. Sure enough, when I pushed the couch out, a little grey fuzzy tail was sticking out.

I got her out eventually. She was a bit torn when she saw the nuts I was using as a lure. But fear got the better of her, so she sprinted past them out the front door.

She hasn’t held her entrapment against me. I think she still believes that somewhere in this house are walnut mountains and piles of pecans. She’s just got to find the right moment to explore again…




Photo credit:  By Dori (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.  

Oh, bumbarrels are long-tailed tits  (Photo credit: By Ian Kirk from Broadstone, Dorset, UK [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons https://goo.gl/images/hvGKLM)


8 thoughts on “Bumbarrels!

  1. Great picture of long-tailed tits – brightened my morning. Perhaps we should start Bumbarrel Therapy. 🙂 Thanks for the mention.

    Posted by quercuscommunity | November 13, 2017, 11:59 am
  2. I always enjoy your wildlife tales. Tails–love that last shot! When you use the term ‘hog’ I read closely as I think you’re referring to the hundreds-of-pounds of rampaging wild boars who are a problem in parts of Texas. Then, I remeber that you’re not in Texas and that you’re referring to darling hedgehogs! Cross-cultural wildlife!

    Posted by Tina | November 13, 2017, 3:10 pm
  3. Bumbarrels indeed! Long-tailed tits will never be the same for me. Though take a look at this for cuteness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFKxjWFM4_4

    Posted by philipstrange | November 15, 2017, 5:15 pm

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