Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Pigeon Post

Good now established with owner of the pigeon discussed in the previous post. I managed to entice it sufficiently with bird food to capture it once more and contain it in my old Merlot Box. It has now departed with its very pleased owner back to Wednesbury for a period of refamiliarisation in its pigeon loft before it will be allowed to 'fly' again. This hopefully will help it to fix on its proper home and not on the curious fish/grasshopper guest house. If it turns up again I'll let you know.

Friday, 15 July 2011

A Pigeon has landed

Shortly after my last posting the Curious Fish found a pigeon pecking around our garden path. Unlike the skittish things that haunt our local trees and chimney pots this one showed no interest in flapping off in a panic when we approached, it just moved out of the way and carried on pecking (Were Syd James and Barbara Windsor in that film?). On closer examination of the bird we realised it's markings were different and that it had a ring around one leg. It is indeed a beautiful (and calm) racing pigeon. Clearly exhausted or lost it had obviously decided to call in on the Curious Fish/Grasshopper residence for a break.
We found a few grains of corn in an old wild bird food bag and it tucked in happily, we prayed that it didn't become an evening meal for a local cat or one of the Peregrine Falcons which regularly patrol our skies and went off to bed fully expecting it to have continued its journey by the next morning.
Wrong!! the next morning it was still in residence and after a bit of flapping about (mainly by me) we caught it and were able to read its leg number. We then tried 118500 for pigeon help lines and after some false starts ended up with the number for the Royal Racing Pigeon Association. They informed us it was a Wednesbury bird
(Oh! thats the place next to IKEA on the M5/M6 interchange says I to myself as nobody listens to my drivel (the curious fish would undoubtedly disagree)... and nobody can call me geographically challenged!).
The Royal Racing Pigeon Association told us to feed it for a couple of days and then withdraw the feeding and shoo it away. So that is what we did.
Have you ever tried to shoo a pigeon which does not want to be shooed?.
We decided to 'harden our hearts' and continue not feeding it.
After five days with us (including it standing pathetically next to our patio table whist we were eating) it disappeared. Thirty six hours later it was back looking depressed (I really have no idea if pigeons suffer from depression?) and definitely in need of a feed. So we found a few bits of corn, peanuts and bread and it noshed away happily.
By this time I was convinced that this was either a very confused young bird or a bird more geographically challenged than myself  (or both). So the Curious Fish and I decided more positive action was needed. We needed to find out it's owner's telephone number if we could.
The Curious Fish trawled the internet for information and even had a couple of telephone conversations with the long suffering wife of a pigeon fancier in Derbyshire. This very helpful lady who seems to know quite a bit about pigeons by default informed the Curious Fish that many owners wrote their telephone numbers on the underside of the birds flight feathers?. Its up on the roof with its wings folded.!!
In the meantime I rang the Royal Pigeon association once again and after a bit of research they came up with the owners name and number. I was advised not to ring the owner until the bird was 'contained'. Oh heck!!
I found a box (six bottle French Merlot...empty of course) and hatched plans as to how I was going to catch a bird which was now happily ensconced on our garage roof. After much more flapping from me and the liberal use of food bribes, the bird was contained within the box and I duly rang the owners number. (Wednesday 13 July). I was told the owner was on holiday until Sunday 17th and that he would have to be rung on his holiday and that he would then ring me to discuss what to do. After several hours (and no call) we let the poor bird out of the Merlot Box, fed it and it once more took up residence on our Garage Roof.
Yesterday (14th) we needed more seed so we legged it to Sainsbury's. By the time we got back around teatime (and me £2.10p poorer and with a pain in my sporran) the blooming bird had flown. Hooray we said its finally flown home to Wednesbury (about thirty miles as the crow/pigeon flies). We hope its happily reunited with its siblings.

Stop press...About an hour ago it was back on the garage roof!!. I've fed it and now its gone again.
 I need a glass of red.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Excitement in our garden

After all the excitement of France we are now home in our garden and enjoying the warm weather and sunshine we should have had in France.
Where am I? I was quite happy in the nest
Yesterday (3/7/11) there was much excitement in the little world of the black ant. There are several colonies of these industrious little critters in our garden walls and under some of our patio slabs. They are completely harmless apart from removing mortar from between our brickwork and grouting from our slabbing. What caused yesterdays excitement and frenetic activity was the release and launching of their flying queens, (The British know all about colonisation). I noticed that a lot of these new queens were confused and reluctant to fly and were chivvied by the worker ants until they took flight and were rapidly carried away in air currents to land goodness knows where. Photo by Curious Fish.
I spent quite a lot of time peering at the crevice in the brickwork which is the entrance to the nest (sad I know) and noticed that some of the 'less keen to leave' queens were towed out of the nest by their noses (do ants have noses?). To my amusement several of these laggards shook off their towing worker ant and shot back inside the nest never to be seen again (by me). They were probably back at the ant drinks machine having a sip of ambrosia.
In amongst all this ant activity the Curious Fish and I were indulging in a spot of pruning, trimming and letting light in (to such an extent that we now have two huge monster bags of greenery to take to the tip for recycling.
I also donned the 'Marigolds' and hauled a whole load of weed out of our overgrown garden pond as the three geriatric fish we now possess, thanks to the thinning out of the original 14 by various cats over the last decade, were lost in a dense forest of Water Soldiers, March Marigolds and Water Mint and sending me 'can we have some daylight' messages. This pond disturbance revealed a good crop of little froglets (hooray) from this years swarms of tadpoles (the tadpoles being one of the main reasons for the portly state of our geriatric fish no doubt).
Pond pals
The water had cleared by this morning and to my delight a full grown Frog was flaunting itself next to our Golden Orfe.