Friday, 21 May 2010

Ennu Farm & Beyond

After bemoaning my luck yesterday having not seen a single Golden Oriole and pressing the 'Publish Post' button, Ille and I left for the short walk up to the next farm. With the promise of new-laid eggs, rhubarb cakes and a few birds on the way what could be better? I'll tell you what, no fewer than c5 Golden Orioles flying across the road. With no chance of a photograph during each encounter, first came a pair in company, followed at about 3 minute intervals by 3 further males, a sight to behold and at last we had seen them!

Farmer's wife Riika and Ille (dog obscured) with a bag of 'goodies'.

Riley, Semu the dog and Mum down at the Egg Farm.

This is the view from the back room windows of the farm house, over several acres of Dandelion. On the way here from Tallinn we had seen field after field of what has to be crops, so a little venture into Wikipedia reveled all:-

Research is showing that the many constituents of Dandelion including Taraxacin, Taraxacoside, Insulin, Phenolic acids, Sesquiterpene lactones, Triterpenes, Coumarins, Catortenoids and Minerals, mainly Potassium and calcium, are very valuable in curing a number of disorders and illnesses. Dandelion is traditionally used as a tonic and blood purifier, for constipation, inflammatory skin conditions, joint pain, eczema and liver dysfunction, including liver conditions such as hepatitis and jaundice.

Other Uses

When placed in a paper bag with unripe fruit, the flowers and leaves of Dandelion release ethylene gas ripening the fruit quickly. A liquid plant food is made from the root and leaves. A dark red dye is obtained from Dandelion root. A cosmetic skin lotion made from the appendages at the base of the leaf blades distilled in water, is used to clear the skin and is effective in fading freckles.

The main path from the house to the West Wood.

With the exception of a couple of brief snatches, mainly around the headwaters of the River Findhorn in Scotland, I can't say that I have heard Northern Wheatear 'sing' in a recognised fashion. That was put right today as this male was singing its head off. By no means in the same stable as say Blackcap or Robin, the song does have a certain charm but a little guttural for all that.

Unfortunately, Wikipedia let me down this time. I did think these beauties, which are wide spread and numerous here, were Marsh Marigold but even the leaf doesn't match the photos. Any ideas please!

A male Linnet, one of a flock of c7 resident here.

The next conundrum came the day after we arrived. With a dearth of raptors so far, only Common Buzzard has been seen, what was thought to be the begging call of maybe a Kestrel or Merlin coming from a high Sycamore was deserving of some investigation. Intermittently through that, and successive days the calls continued but there was no sign of a nest. The morning I saw a bird that looked rather like a large Warbler perched at the very top of the same tree, partly obscured by foliage. Almost ready to concede the sound couldn't be coming from this bird, it altered position and showed a 'barred' under-tail, that's when it dawned on me (it often takes a while) it was 'of course' a Wryneck. Another 'tick' on the song list, and fairly obvious once you know as it had that long Kestrel-like laugh similar to Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

Wryneck, not a brilliant image but one that tells the story!

At the same time as catching sight of the Wryneck, the first White Stork we have seen from the property also flew over, it was becoming a good day. Also on our way here, we noted c27 White Storks, c8 of which were in a single flock and c11 occupied nests (all associated with human habitation).

A further update on wildlife seen, in addition to those already mentioned here and in previous posts, Hooded Crow and Great Spotted Woodpecker, both seen here before, joined the list yesterday. A single Yellowhammer, otherwise common, strayed onto a barn roof on Wednesday on which day the first sighting of what seem to be a resident pair of Ravens also passed overhead, and daily since. Today has been fruitful as well, in addition to the return of the day long absent, singing, Icterine Warbler, Nuthatch, Garden Warbler, Coal Tit and a pair of Common Redstarts also appeared in the garden early morning. Butterflies remain at Peacock, Map, Wood White, Brimstone, Small Blue and Green-veined White.

Common Redstart (female)

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