January 9th, 2014

Wild Garden

A sound like a train, or maybe a single wave

I was looking out over the valley one morning this week, when I heard a huge sound. Not a very loud sound, but the sort of noise that is only made by quite large things. I thought at first it was a train, and then I realised that the nearest station is too far away. It sounded like the train was going past on the track that would once have run across the hillside above our house but that line was closed in the 1960s. Ghost Train!

Then I looked up and realised that the noise was made by an enormous cloud of tiny birds passing overhead, a really huge flock that stretched right across the entire village. Before I could do anything sensible like get some binoculars to try to see what sort of birds they were, they had flown off up the valley and disappeared.

In other news, I offered my visiting butterfly a piece of tissue that I had soaked and rinsed in clean water, then added a few drops of orange juice and a little fructose. She ignored it for a couple of days, but today she is sitting on it with her proboscis poked into the soggy tissue, so I assume my offering has been accepted. There are a few nectar plants in flower in the garden, but I'm guessing she's probably happier indoors until the weather is warmer. She appears to only have four legs, and looking into this, I discover that the Tortoiseshell is one of the Four Footed butterflies, which have reduced forelimbs that are kept tucked up out of the way. I've never noticed that before, even though the garden is often full of tortoiseshells...