Thursday, 3 September 2009

That might explain things

Posted by Rosie

Remember poor Hilda and her infertile eggs? Well we think we may have worked out what went wrong. Harold, it would seem, is not a "Harold" after all, but another female. His, sorry - her face, did initially look like an immature drake but has stayed that way, not developing the typical alien-look of drakes. And the clincher - every morning for the last few days I have found him, I mean her, sitting on any available egg and hissing like a demonic female when I tried to move her.

So today a friend brought over a spare drake she had, complete with alien-looking face and we introduced him to "the girls". They huddled together like a couple of school-girls who had spotted a boy from the neighbouring school for the first time. Lots of the duck equivalent of giggling whilst he played it cool and went off and to have a bath. Harold - could of course remain Harold but I feel she needs to gain her true female identity as soon as possible: a bit of re-naming has thus taken place. Harold in now Matilda and the new, previously un-named drake is Harold (Mark II). May this threesome be very happy and may we hear the paddle of tiny webbed feet soon.

Continuing the subject of birds, their wild cousins are on the move as well. The swallows are gathering on the telegraph lines in preparation of their great flight South. I just hope the second brood our birds have raised in the toy shed will be big enough to survive this epic journey. Other birds have already started their migration and over the last few days I have spotted two migrants - on Saturday a black stork (the first I have ever seen and extremely rare in this region) and yesterday morning, on the way to school, an unmistakable hoopoe. I have only ever seen this fantastic bird in the Canary Islands and from quite a distance, so to see one on the telegraph wire here, so close, was a real treat. It must have been on it's way south from either the Cotentin Peninsula, north of us, or was one of the 100 or so birds that spend the summer in England. It was a rare and beautiful site and one I was glad to share with the boys.

But one question still bugs me. Just where did the swallows gather before the advent of telegraph lines?
P.S. This post was supposed to publish tomorrow but Blogger decided otherwise, hence 2 posts in one day you lucky readers!


  1. I always find it very sad seeing all the swallows lined up ready to leave. Some great sights though!

    Interesting to hear about the young love with the ducks! The new males must have thought he had acquired a harem!

  2. How fantastic I've always wanted to see a hoopoe. They caught my imagination from a very early age when I used to flip through all the bird books.So exotic looking. We were lucky enough to see bee eaters a couple of years ago in the yard and often have little egrets in the lower field
    Storks !

    Most of our swallows have now gone.

    Once your gite is ready I'll think we will have to be one of your first customers :)

  3. What a quacking duck story, that brought a smile to my face!
    Wow a black stork, how pretty! X

  4. The neighbour over whose garden I saw the black stork has spoken to the local french bird society and they are very interested to hear about the stork siting. They want us to look out for any possible black stork nests as they believe they could be nesting in this area for the first time, not migrating over it.


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