Category: FAUNA

Fury, The Hawk

Bird of Prey

Fury, The Hawk

 

Fury and his handler, photo by JMorton

In Profile

  • Name: Fury
  • Age: 9 Years old
  • Aves: Hawk
  • Occupation: Pest Controller
  • Place of Work: Old Royal Navy College – Greenwich, South London, UK

 

We met Fury and his handler recently whilst on a visit at the Old Royal Navy College to attend a tour of a once in a lifetime opportunity to be up close with the hall and ceiling murals, which is the most extensive work in the UK and can rival Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.

Anyway, Fury and his handler were promenading outside the building, alert to any uninvited guests.

Hawk is 9 years old and he regularly patrols the building and its surrounding areas for any marauding pigeons, rats, and other pests, who can create so much deposit of poos and upheavals to wherever they congregate.

Hawks are often used as guardians and mascots of large public building and areas as they are known for their keen eyesight and intelligence.

Fury at just 9, is still a ‘spring chicken’  Hawks in captivity usually live until 20 years of age.

 

Upside Down Ducks

The video below is of upside down ducks.

And please it is not a delicious duck recipe. 🙂

I took the video while we were perambulating at Golders Hill Park in North West London on a sunny day early this spring 2018.

To be honest for a girl, who grew up in a farm, I have never seen ducks feeding in the water in an upside down position. It was rather amazing to see and watch them doing their business.

Upside Down Ducks

@GlobalGranaryVideo

Kakiemon Elephant

Kakiemon Elephant

This Kakiemon elephant is on display at the British Museum.

This is apparently made between 1660-1690 in the Kakiemon style.  Kakiemon is the first to create the enamel porcelain.  What is interesting about this sculpture is that the artist has never seen an elephant.

You might have noticed that the elephant trunk in the photo is pointing downward.  There is a superstition in the east that pointing downward is for good luck.  In the west, it is the opposite.  It should be upward.  Another case of east and west not meeting.  LOL

What do we know about elephants?

  • Their gestation period is 22 months, 2 months short of 2 years pregnancy.  Ouch
  • Their life span is between 50 – 70 years but their was a recorded one of 82 years of age.
  • There are two types of elephants:

Asian (Indian) Elephants which smaller in stature, smaller ears and only the male have tusks.

African Elephants are larger with larger ears.  Both male and female have tusks.  They are               also  less hairy than the Asian elephants.

 

 

 

You Are What You Eat

The proof is in the eating of the cupcake, lol, Photo by PH Morton

You Are What You Eat

It is true I am afraid, well in my case anyway.  I love chocolates and it shows: in the tummy area, along the hips, in the face and everywhere. 🙂

Belonging to the class mammalia (species with the mammary glands, lol) we are rather versatile in what we include in what we eat.

There are at least four classifications of diets or intake of nourishment.  Which do you belong?

  • Herbivores, these are those who eat greens, the verdant leaves and sprouts of plants.  Are you as vegetarian as the brontosaurus?  Or cows and horses perhaps?
  • Carnivores, these are those who like to eat meat.  I must admit, I have to have meat in my diet.  I am very partial to pork and chicken.  Now and again, you here news of people who are practising cannibals, meaning they eat people. There are even news that during the Russian famine of the 1920s, food was extremely scarce the peasant started eating human limbs, which were up for sale.  Anything for survival.
  • Omnivores, these are those who eat greens and meat (also chocolates), which are us humans.  We do like a variety in our diet.  Apparently some bears are also known to be omnivores.  We don’t just like to eat grass like cows and carabaos on pasture.  We want a bit of both in our meals.  Roast meat with three vegs.  🙂
  • Insectivores, these are those who eat insects.  Some humans have a penchant for eating insects like locust, crickets, grasshoppers and juicy spiders.  Humans are now giving aardvarks a run for their money.

 

 

Goldfish/Pond Fish

Goldfish, photo by PH Morton

Goldfish, Photo by PH Morton

Goldfish/Pond Fish

We have kept goldfish in our garden pond since 2006.  I remember digging a hole for the pond during a rather fraught England game during the World Cup 2006.  I must say because of that game we were able to build a pond in just a few hours.  🙂

It was so exciting filling up the pond, watching the flow of water into a thick  black plastic liner.  We were novice about keeping a pond so without much thought, we released a lone red goldfish my son had in an aquarium.

My son then said ‘you might just had killed that goldfish.  You are to wait at least three days for the water to settle and then introduce the fish slowly to acclimatise to the temperature.”

Thank goodness, the fish survived.  He is resilient!

Goldfish is a freshwater fish, they are easy to keep, as we have discovered, therefore, the most popular fish for ponds and aquariums.

There is a myth that goldfish has only a 3-second memory but this is not true.   Our goldfish in our pond know about feeding time.  They have also been a victim of a starving heron, which ate more than half of their numbers.  This so traumatised those who were left behind (including us) that they would not willingly come up the water surface anymore.  We had to put netting near the surface of the pond and this seemed to have reassured the remaining goldfish.

Apparently a study was done by the School of Psychology in the  University of Plymouth.  It was found that goldfish have at least 3 months worth of memory.  They can recognise sound, colours and shapes.

 

Rise of Parakeets

Parakeet in Childshill, London, photo by PH Morton

Rise of Parakeets

More and more wild parakeets are seen freely flying and nesting all around London.  I first saw parakeets on top of a tree at Hyde Park four years ago.  I thought they were not really a natural bird for cold UK.

As much as they are so lovely to look at, there are some negative implications to our local birds.

Our Home Harvest 2016

one-of-our-potted-tomato-plants

Our Home Harvest 2016

 

When we were both still gainfully employed,  😉 it was hard to maintain our fairly long back garden, where the lawn must be mowed, the bushes regularly trimmed, the pond life fed, the garden furniture repaired, etc., the list went on.  We, therefore,  paved over parts of it, but still kept some smaller flower& plant beds and a good size lawn.

A good idea in any size garden is to use plant pots or troughs to grow plants, flowers and vegetables.

Some of the larger pots are fitted with small wheels (like castors) on the base.

some-of-our-newly-picked-tomatoes
This means that we can easily move large plants, such as the tomato plants, to follow the sun as it moves, to maximise exposure to the light and heat.

This spring, and as in previous years, Jean & I decided to try and grow some tomato plants in three of our large pots.  Tomatoes are quite inexpensive and plentifully sold in shops and supermarket during the summer, but growing your own has its own reward.  You can be sure of the freshness and they seem to taste better 🙂

 

one-of-our-small-apple-trees

 

This year’s weather has been mixed in London & SE England.

A rarely frozen and wet winter was followed by rain alternating with hot sunny days in summer, extending well into September. This combination has resulted in a nice crop of tomatoes. some have ripened and hopefully the others will soon as well.

Our two potted small apple trees have produced their ripe fruit nearly a month early this year.

They are ‘Jonagold’ apples, which are sweet and a little bitter to taste but simply delicious.

We found that If you have two potted apple trees, keep them near each other in order to get at least one good crop, this helps cross fertilisation from the bees etc.

We find each year that one tree produces more apples than the other.

However, this year both tree have a lot of apples, thanks to the weather.

our-pear-treeWe have one potted Conference variety pear tree, near the end of the garden, and as with the apple trees we also need to get another one as this lonely tree only produces a pair of pears each year.

Our wild blackberry bush has also produce a bounty of berries this year too!

We wonder if this year’s winter will be cold and wet again. Snow has not fallen to settle on the ground here in nearly the last two years, much to our grandson’s disappointment who is wishing of building a snowman in the garden!

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