Monday, April 19, 2021

Pied Wagtail and Mystery Object


When I was walking back from Wormwood Scrubs on Saturday, I saw this little pied wagtail hopping around the base of a column in front of a building on our high street. It was searching for insects in the grass, and apparently having some success.


You can't easily tell, but it has a little aphid in its beak in this picture.

I didn't know what kind of bird it was until I looked it up. They're not uncommon but I don't remember ever seeing one before. I wish it would visit our garden and eat aphids!

Yesterday morning I tried to figure out what to do about readers who have subscribed to my blog via e-mail. You may remember that Blogger has told us that function, operated by Feedburner, is going to stop working in July. They suggest we download a list of our e-mail recipients and upload that list to another service -- but they don't suggest which service. They unhelpfully leave that to us.

Apparently there are some options, one of them being Mailchimp. But when I looked at the site I was deluged with terms like "segmentation," "marketing CRM," "behavioral targeting" and "transactional e-mail using API or SMTP." Clearly I was already in over my head.

So I have returned the old-fashioned "followers" button to my sidebar and I think that may be the best I can do. I apologize to those of you who want my blog posts in your e-mail but I just can't manage all that gobbledygook. Also, I think Mailchimp costs money.

If anyone else figures out a solution to this issue, let me know.


This was my Sunday project. I pricked out some of our seedlings into little pots where they can grow on individually. The seedlings are just not prospering this year. They're still really tiny, even after two months of "growing" on our dining room windowsill. I think part of the problem is the seed compost I used -- it's very fine and even though I water fairly frequently it was dry as dust yesterday. Maybe in this new compost they'll take off.

I'm also moving them outside. I'm over having them on the windowsill, just like I'm over sheltering our geraniums in the living room. Everything is back outside now and it's going to stay there. The weather is still chilly but no more freezes are expected so we're going to say it's spring, dammit.

For a while now, this curious object has been lying beneath one of the trees on our street. I finally picked it up to find out what it is.

So here's the "Shadows & Light" trivia question of the week -- what is it? Do you know?

I know now, having done some research. But I'm curious to see if anyone else recognizes it.

Here's a hint -- it's floppy, made out of rubber or silicone, and it's not a piece of something else. It's an object in its own right, though it's used in association with another object. If that makes sense.

In any case, it's pretty cool looking, I think. If it were cast in ceramic tile or carved into furniture it would be very Art Nouveau -- a design worthy of Alphonse Mucha.

And now I am off to work.

But first I have to type just one more line so my text lines up with the bottom of my photo -- there.

43 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. No, although it might work for that purpose!

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  2. That last, important sentence made my day! I would do that, too, but my Wordpress format doesn't have fixed width, so I can't guarantee where the text will land. I wish I could. I'll just wait for someone more clever to figure out what that beautiful piece of art is.

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  3. Don't fret how people will find you. I don't "follow" anyone, neither do I subscribe via my email inbox. If I want to read, say, your latest offering I enter shadowsteve.blogspot.com. And what do you know: There YOU are, Olga and plants, the occasional Russian, Kravitz and Dave. No angst.

    My beloved grandfather was into birds (of the feathered kind though no doubt had an eye for human ones too). He'd have been delighted at your sight of a Pied Wagtail. Very chic, very Coco Chanel.

    Your mystery thingy might have no purpose at all. It is what it is. A mystery. If it weren't made of rubber but metal I'd think it something employed by a Druid. Anyway, mysteries are mysteries for a purpose. Mainly not to be solved. Having said that I did ask the Angel what symbol and/or purpose he thinks your contraption may stand for and serve. "A placeholder?" he suggested. Or maybe he said "plateholder". Try it sometime, Steve.

    U

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    1. I'm laughing at the Chanel description -- it is a tres chic little bird. Plateholder is a good guess, because this device does hold something -- just not a plate.

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  4. A trivet?

    I've never heard of the pied wagtail either, but it's rather a pretty bird, isn't it?

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  5. Is it used to securely strap a mobile phone to the handlebars of a bicycle or motorbike? As for the pied wagtail, many's the time I would see one leaping up to my car's wing mirror when approaching my school's car park at the end of the day.

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    1. You are correct! It mounts a mobile phone to a bicycle. The wagtails are apparently quite social.

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  6. I like the followers widget - nice colourful piccies of people. I'll probably just remove the email thing fromm mine.
    Now that first line "When I was walking back from Wormwood Scrubs on Saturday". Good job I read your previous post otherwise I might have got the wrong impression.

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  7. I never used the email subscriber thing, so I know nothing about how to work without it. I have always ad a followers widget and have tried to keep my blogroll updated so I can go to the pages I like.

    I do know that thing is for cell phones, because a friend has one.

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    1. Yeah, that's how I do it too -- I just go down my blogroll and read all the updates from whoever I'm linked to. Bingo on the cell phone!

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  8. I use Feedly to update me on the blogs I read. It works quite well and although you can pay for more "professional" levels, it is free for the basics.

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    1. Oh, you did mention Feedly the other day. But that's more for blog readers to get updates, as opposed to something I'd use to send updates, right?

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  9. I have maybe five that actually read my blog so not a big deal to me. My blog is just for me really, keeping track of time.
    At first i thought that was a tracker thing to wear on shoes in the ice but that's not even close- It is a thing for handlebars or for golf carts to mount phones. Like we can not ride bikes without looking at our phones?
    Little bird eating an aphid- good little bird.

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    1. Yeah, my blog mostly serves the same purpose as my journals. Having people read it is a fringe benefit!

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  10. That is such a beautiful bird. Never heard of it before. I'm so glad you were saw it and were able to photograph it.
    We have links on Dharma Bums blog to the blogs we are reading, and they get updated there when there's a new post. I also have old bookmarks to all the old blogs we started reading back in the beginning. I check in there every now and then. With the omnipresence of the internet, I think most people will be able to check in and read your daily posts.
    Love your perfect last sentence.

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    1. That's how I keep track of other blogs, too -- I just scroll down my link list and read until I'm caught up.

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  11. The pattern looks familiar but I have no idea what it is so I will wait for the answer tomorrow.

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  12. OK, so it's a device to strap your cell phone to your bike but looking at it I can't for the life of me figure how it would work.

    If you find something that works re that email notification thing let me know. I suppose if all else fails, I could download the subscriber list, create a group in my contact list and email notices to the group myself everytime I put up a new post.

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    1. In my subsequent post I linked to an Amazon page that shows a phone attached using that strap. It looks precarious to me, but I guess it must not be.

      Yeah, we could e-mail manually, but that's a lot to do every day. I think I'm going to just let people bookmark the page and come to me on their own.

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  13. I like the bird and I Googled the mystery object so I won't weigh in on it.

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    1. Did you upload the photo to Google? That's what I did too.

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  14. I have no idea what that thing is but I'm now very curious.
    What a pretty bird!

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  15. I've never seen a bird like that one. It's beautiful. I have no idea what that gadget is. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

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    1. Apparently they don't live in North America. At least, I don't think so.

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  16. I thought it was a trivet, but already saw your acknowledgement of what it really is. When we lived in the country in Illinois we had scads of little beetles in our house. They resembled ladybugs, but they bit. Farmers had introduced them to their soybean fields because they ate aphids. I don't recommend them. Entice birds instead.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Oh, yikes! That beetle infestation sounds pretty awful.

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  17. I use a blogreader with the very annoying name of "Bloglovin'" Still it works, and that's all I need. There are probably other effective readers where people can follow you.

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    1. Bloglovin -- ha! I think I've heard of that, but not for a while now.

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  18. I had no guess on the cellphone strap. Interesting design.
    Pretty bird - thanks for sharing the photo as I read that they aren't in the USA at all.

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    1. Glad you liked the bird! I'm impressed it was finding bugs in such a small patch of grass. Makes you wonder what's living all around us.

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  19. Ha! you can't lose me...that followers button on the side bar worked perfectly!

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    1. I'm glad! I certainly would NOT want to lose you, Elizabeth! :)

      (I could switch to Substack, I suppose...but I really don't want to change platforms.)

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  20. I was going to suggest trivet and I'm pleased I am late here and I know better and so I won't look foolish. For old blogs, newspaper stories I follow and for other things I use Old Reader. It is free I think for adding 200 sites. I pay a couple of dollars a month for 500 feeds. It doesn't show in blog stats though, so on some sites the owner will never know I visit. But if I want to comment, then I have to go to the site itself.

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    1. Oh, interesting. I hadn't really considered the possibility that people are using a reader that doesn't show up in my stats. Maybe I have a lot more readers than I suspect! (Ha -- yeah, I know.)

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  21. I love the name " pied wagtail" - it makes me giggle. I think I only have one person who subscribes to my blog using email? I have a group of people that I email it to each week though (mostly family). They can't handle anything more complicated. In fact, I don't even send the blog link - I copy & paste the blog post right into the email. Ha!

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  22. A useful overview of Feedburner alternatives is https://feedburner-alternatives.com. It might help you figure out the next steps.

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