Monday, July 1, 2019

Baby Blackcap, and a False Alarm


The temperatures dipped by about 20 degrees yesterday, falling to a comfortable 73º F in the afternoon. It was perfect, sunny weather for a walk on the Heath with an enthusiastic Olga.


We've passed this tree a million times, but only now did I notice that it's covered with initials and dates. I didn't see any newer than 1994 -- I think, fortunately, people now know not to carve their names into trees. Many of the carvings were illegible, having been stretched and distorted by the tree's subsequent growth. But a few could still be deciphered. I wonder where H.A. and A.M. are now?


On Hampstead Heath Extension, I encountered this blackcap, fluttering through the shrubbery.


And then I saw why it was lurking nearby and giving me worried looks -- I think this is its baby. The baby can fly but it was surprisingly trusting. It let me get pretty close. I hope it wises up!


I saw this large skipper butterfly perched on some brambles. Overall I haven't seen a whole lot of butterflies yet this season -- I thought I might see some burnets at the cemetery on Saturday, because this is the right time of year for them, but nada. Maybe it was too hot. I did see two red admirals, one in our garden, and yesterday I saw some meadow browns on the Heath as well.

Anyway, it was a good walk.

We had some excitement this morning when the burglar alarm went off about 1:30 a.m. We never use the alarm but it occasionally goes off anyway, usually when there's a power outage -- and judging from all our blinking clocks, that's what happened. From the bedroom I wasn't even sure what I was hearing, but when I opened the door to the front hall it was obvious. Dave came plunging out of the room, half asleep, saying "What is going on?!" Fortunately I'd saved the code so this time we could turn it off promptly.

16 comments:

  1. Birds are notoriously difficult to photograph close up - unless you use a super telephoto lens. Your photos are stunning, especially of the baby bird! It just looks a little timid in your photo, as if to say, "Where's mummy gone?"

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  2. Baby birds are sweet and trusting because they don't know any better! What a cutie.

    73° Fahrenheit? That sounds like a dream. It won't get that cool herr even in the middle of the night right now! I'll bet you don't miss Florida one bit in the summer!

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  3. I'm just glad that you didn't show the two ladybirds copulating.

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  4. Beautiful pictures! Good eye and steady hand!
    Yes. I feel quite jealous of your temperatures. I thought I was being all strong, working in the garden yesterday but today I feel like I've been hit with a load of bricks. A large load.

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  5. It can be confusing when some alarm goes off in the middle of the night. For me I don't know which one is on and then I have to check how to shut it off.

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  6. haven't seen any butterflies here to speak of either. a couple of swallowtails, some skippers, and the lone hairstreak. where are the sulfurs and monarchs and fritillaries and queens? we had a few cooler days end of last week but that's gone now.

    no alarm system here but the smoke alarms always seem to go off in the middle of the night when their batteries play out.

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  7. You got such a great photo of the young blackcap. Now that you mention it, I haven't see many butterflies lately either. Just those inside the now closed butterfly exhibit at the garden but, not many flying on their own. I wonder if heat has anything to do with it. Last week we finally started the true summer heat, with temperatures above the 110 mark. I'm hoping that the high heat will trigger the monsoon storms. They usually start mid June but no clouds so far.

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  8. Your photos are beautiful. Nice composition.

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  9. Love these photos from your walk with Olga. Summer has all the color, the butterflies the birds, and the beetles.

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  10. beautiful photos, and technically expert. So lush and green there. Good to hear your temps have dropped -- it's been awful all over, hasn't it? We're used to 105 F where I live, but still I stay indoors when it's like that. I'm not that intrepid.

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  11. Well YOUR baby bird is a lot more adorable than the one I just posted. Ha! It really is adorable.

    I HATE it when an alarm goes off like that - my heart rate jumps, the adrenaline spikes, and I need a snack to calm down.

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  12. I think that baby Blackcap liked you and followed you after dark, then tried to break into your home, setting off the burglar alarm. Elementary!

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  13. That shot of the baby bird is so sweet! (Also very clear and well composed, but -- the SWEETNESS ...)

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  14. I have a border of lilies along a garage that I was weeding yesterday, and although I really wanted to pull out the milkweed that was growing in the middle of it (for aesthetic reasons), I left it for the monarch butterflies. Hope they will find it!

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  15. awesome article.
    thanks for sharing :)

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