Saturday, 16 August 2014

The Goldfinch

Walking along the road today from the bus stop back to Lauren's I heard a bird making quite a noise.  Looking down I saw a tiny fledgling on the broken branch of a rowan tree.  It was in quite a flap and when I held my phone near to take the rather poor picture, above, this is what happened..

It was a young goldfinch and seemed very hungry and strangely keen to stay close to me..

From my hand it hopped/flew onto my shoulder and under my hair.  I was unsure what to do, not wanting to leave it by the road, but mindful of the RSPB advice that a bird of this size would normally have a parent bird close by, even if not visible, I placed it into a bush by the pavement close to where I had first seen it.  Hopefully it will have been claimed by its parent and be safe.

I have never seen a baby goldfinch before but it was Lauren who pointed out the rather extraordinary coincidence when I unpacked my shopping, including a new book from WHSmith...

Friday, 15 August 2014

Busy Baking

Today's blog picture was baked and decorated by Lauren.

Using very patriotic bun cases...

Everything was assembled and the cake mixture quickly mixed up and in the oven.

The finished article was soon ready for sampling..

..and very good too!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Catching up with Feline Friends

An impromptu visit home has provided the opportunity to catch up with Emma - seen here posing like a show cat!

And Sophie - looking very alert here but mostly quite sleepy!

They are very happy in their new home with Lauren and James, where they have resided for over a year now.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

All kinds of Oreos!

In the UK the familiar Oreo is dark chocolate brown with a white cream but in the US the varieties seem endless and there are regular limited editions to add to the mix.

Mint? Or Berry - either way they are not cheap!

Limeade?  Or one of the other current limited editions, Banana Split or Cookie Dough..

There is something for everyone including the 'Double Stuff' (twice as much cream in the sandwich) and Mega Stuff (just ridiculous amounts of cream in the sandwich!).

Time to start importing some nice Rich Tea's I think!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Bad Hair Day

The day got off to a dull start today, cloudy and with spots of rain, after a wet night.    Arriving back from dropping David to work there was a young Northern Flicker perched on top of the feeder, there were quite a few other birds on the feeders too, despite the damp.

I think that they must have been stocking up for the very wet and stormy day ahead.

When I next saw the Northern Flicker he looked soaked and bedraggled.

After a few minutes out in the rain at lunchtime I was equally bedraggled and about as cheerful as this..

Monday, 11 August 2014

On the feeders

We re-arranged our feeders to encourage the humming bird but this produced an unforeseen consequence - and benefit - as far as the chipmunks are concerned.

They are not usually able to reach the large feeder as it is high off the ground.  However in its new position they were able to take a flying leap from the hedge below and help themselves.  Although they are growing fatter as the summer progresses they are still not heavy enough to trigger the 'squirrel proof' mechanism which shuts down the feeder when a squirrel jumps on and they got through a remarkable amount of seed.

It has now been swopped back and when the hummingbird feeder returned to its original position we were rewarded with a visit.  As usual it was a question of grabbing the camera rather quickly.  

David managed to capture these shots...

Sunday, 10 August 2014

National Portrait Gallery

On our way back to the metro yesterday we passed the National Portrait Gallery which is part of the Smithsonian and shares a large 19th century neo-classical building with the Museum of American Art.

We didn't have very much time to look around and so concentrated on the galleries on the top floor - mostly 20th century portraits of famous Americans from the world of sport, film, music, literature and politics.  We were not sure that photographing the art was acceptable but took a few shots of the very ornate galleries.

All of the Smithsonian museums are free to visit and so it is possible to make short visits to look at one area at a time, without feeling that you have to 'do' the whole thing in order to get your money's worth!