Sunday, May 4, 2014

Week Ending 4 May 2014

There has been absolutely no structure to this week  - the joys of taking a break - but lots of fun and learning has been happening anyway.

Miss 13 and I had another poetry teatime. This one was actually a luncheon with lots of delicious savoury pastry items that we don't normally eat. For the poetry we read through the entire months worth of offerings on 30 Poets/30 Days - an annual event run by Greg Pincus at GottaBook to celebrate National Poetry Month.This year he's featured two years of encore poems, so we actually read sixty poems which gave us a great variety. And since we'd read one year's selection the year they first appeared but not the other we got the joy of meeting some old favourites as well as some new-to-us poems. Sometime we discussed figurative language, rhyme schemes and  all those other worthy things. But mostly we just read and enjoyed. A great way to spend time on a cold, wet and windy day.

Mr 16 arrived back safely from his tramp, possibly less tired and cold than I had expected. The weather was apparently  nice for the first day but pretty cold on the second day with a lot of snow around and not all the group was up to a strenuous tramp in such conditions. As a result they adjusted their route to avoid the worst of the snow. This also meant they got to sleep in a hut as opposed to a tent for the second night. Once home he continued to be busy with Scouting related stuff. He's taken on a role on a regional scouting group and attended his first meeting this week. He's also been busy, chipping away at the work for his Queen's Scout project.

Miss 13 and I attended the monthly meeting of our local bird group where a university lecturer gave a great talk on the importance of native birds, especially when it comes to the pollinating and dispersing seeds of native plants. It was great exposure to the language and style of formal academic science since many of the graphs etc he displayed were taken directly from academic papers he has published.

We also fitted in several birding expeditions. One was a trip to the house of a relative of a friend of ours. Our friend had repeatedly noticed a small New Zealand songbird in an empty lot next to her relative's house. Due to declining numbers it is not always an easy bird to locate and our friend knew we hadn't yet spotted it this year so she invited us for a visit We were only there half an hour or so when the bird flew in. Conveniently there were several other species around too, including one which has a very similar appearance to 'our' bird.  A great chance to compare and contrast the two side by side, which means we're much more confident of accurately identifying them both. The following day we went for a bush walk up in the hills. Wonderful bird song and great views of several birds. The day after that we had planned a trip to an estuary but the wind was cold and strong so birding would have been unpleasant and difficult (hard to hold the scope steady). We settled for a drive in the country instead and were rewarded with a good variety of birds including one species we hadn't seen so far this year and another we'd never before seen.

One country field turned up a large number of Cape Barren Geese plus four Tufted Guineafowl. Since they were new to us we had to take a photo - even thought they were too far away!

Only two birds at this spot but great views of both the kingfisher and heron.

The location of the Journey North Mystery Classes were revealed and we got them all right! Always a relief since there are usually a couple we are not 100% confident about. Looking forward to learning more about each class next week.

We've had time for lots of reading. Probably our favourite is The Bluebird Effect - a lovely collection of essays and drawings based on the author's relationships with birds she's observed and worked with. It's a lovely memoir written by a keen naturalist. I'm reading this one aloud. We're also reading a book on bird behaviour. It doesn't work so well as a read aloud so we're reading the same sections one after another, which makes it easier to have a discussion. I'm meant to be reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, but haven't actually made a start on it yet - maybe tonight! Miss 13 is doing better - she's finished a variety of fiction and several light non-fiction reads and also started Corvus: A Life with Birds.

Basil's owner came to visit him this week and took him for a long run which Basil clearly enjoyed. Miss 13 and I had tried to bath Basil the previous week but to say he was uncooperative was an understatement so after they returned from their run we got a lesson in how to do it. Brute force to get him into the shower seems the only solution. Once he was in it wasn't as difficult - although it was a rather wet undertaking!

He's not always so laid back - especially not when you're trying to get him into the bath or shower!

We've been checking in on Berry College's Eagle cam and Bluebird Cam most days. Exciting to discover this morning that one of the bluebird eggs has hatched. Lots more bird cams out there which could suck us in if we let them!

We did drag ourselves away from all things birds for long enough to bake some delicious spicy gingerbread. Of course it is best eaten when still warm so the butter melts as soon as you spread it!

1 comment:

  1. I always love your weeks. Tea Partys and birding...what could be more fun? I love the pictures from your son's "tramp". How fun!! Basil is adorable! Happy week Sandra.