Monthly Archives: May 2010

Hathi main hath hai

AND SO IT goes.

Of North Oxford’s blackbirdsO

I SHALL MISS the songs of the blackbirds when I move out of here. The ones that cluster around the Oxford Violins shop don’t sing like your average blackbird. Some of them, instead, open their beaks to deliver a bar or two of classical music – it could be Mozart, it could be Beethoven, and they finish off their songs with a peculiar trill that I haven’t heard any blackbird anywhere else deliver.  No threnody here – they are all delightful tunes and as there are plenty of magpies round here, they must ever be on their guard against rapacious egg thieves. Here’s some shots I took on this beautiful spring morning. ♥

The Holly is some amazing tree

PUT aside, for a moment, David Attenborough telling you all about the Amazonian rain forest and the canopy. Consider the humble Holly Tree. I have one of these outside my back door and have watched, for the last two weeks or so, rather an amazing bit of life – or biodiversity as they call it these days.

There’s still one red berry left from last year’s blossoming on the tree – most of those were consumed by a gang of wood pigeons dsperate for a tree nosh up while the Holly was berried up big time.

Last week the Holly started to  blossom – just a week or so before, a stack of bumble bee queens of different species were hunting a hole in which to raise their brood.

Three – nay four things happened after the blossom.  Honey bees, bumble bees and wasps started to get very interested in the blossom. The honey bees and bumble bees were there for one reason, to collect pollen. The wasps were there for one reason too, to calmly examine the blossom, stings a-ready, to paralyse any creatures they could take back to the nest to feed the grubs.

The blossom has been falling for the last two days and the berries have been forming, so the insects have done their work, by and large. But today I saw a wasp still hunting for small insects on the blossom buds, its sting a-ready. It stumbled into a very very small spider web, and I saw the very very small spider thinking that perhaps it had a catch. Both predators backed off.

I have seen larger spiders deal with much larger wasps before, many years ago. The spider easily won by spinning vast sheets of its interweb. But this time of year, the spiders ain’t fat enough to spin vast sheets.

Meanwhile, also in Oxford, here’s  a picture of an old piece of stone in memory of Prince Albert, Victoria’s consort, standing in front of an even older piece of stone, a dinosaur of some kind.  Ω

* I haven’t yet mentioned the unique North Parade/Violin Shop blackbirds yet. But I will, I will…

Prince Albert in Pitts River

The juxtaposition of the colours is so nice

JUST ON THE crossroads of Broad Street, Cornmarket and George Street, we couldn’t help but snap the combination of these two trees with the somewhat  blue sky.