A family in my garden: I’ve been working away at... - LUPUS UK


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A family in my garden

Spotty-ewe profile image

I’ve been working away at removing the long neglected ivy from our hawthorn hedge. Some of the ivy stems are as thick as a garden hose. 🤦‍♀️ About a third of the way along the hedge I discovered a dunnock’s nest with 3 eggs. I felt terrible that by removing the ivy which was throttling the hawthorn I had inadvertently made the nest and the eggs more obvious. 😫 I asked hubby if we could make a screen to put in front of the nest and he thought of weaving a screen with willow. I suggested weaving some ivy into it so it was more camouflaged. I was pleased with the result and hope it will offer the security and seclusion the birds deserve and no doubt had chosen before I came along. I’m pleased to report that one or other of the dunnocks have been sitting on the eggs ever since. Fingers crossed 3 little ones will soon arrive.ğŸ¤žğŸ™ğŸ»

The first photo shows the nest before we put up the screen as seen in the photo below. We are praying there’ll soon be a family in our hedge. 🙏🏻🙏🏻

49 Replies

Always a problem with spring cleaning the garden!

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to PMRpro

Yes, and with leaving it for too many years (15 since I last did it).🤦‍♀️ I just don’t have the energy most of the time but thought with this good weather and my energy levels a bit higher than usual I’d make a start. Once the little ones have fledged I’ll finish the job in that part of the hedge and then it will be another 15 years before they’ll be disturbed again. As I’ll be 80 by then, if I’m spared, I doubt if it will be me anyway.😆

Good to hear from you PMR. Keep safe. 🤗

Barbara17 profile image
Barbara17 in reply to Spotty-ewe

‘If I’m spared ‘ was my grandma’s favourite expression!!! Haven’t heard it for years.

Seriously I think you’ve done a great job on the camouflage screen. Now I’m sitting here looking at the ivy choking the cotoneaster ...........

Hope you’re keeping well. Love, B

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to Barbara17

Haha, I’m showing my age and the age group I’ve spent most of my life with.😂 Glad I’ve brought back happy memories of your Grandma!🤣🤣

Thanks for the compliment regarding the screen. Hopefully it will keep them safe. 🙏🏻 Don’t forget to check your cotoneaster before removing the ivy! 😉

I’m good at present thanks Barbara (long may it lastğŸ¤ž) and I hope you are keeping well too.🙏🏻 Keep safe. Love, Spotty 🤗😘

Wonderful! x

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to DJK99

Thanks DJK. I hope you are keeping well and enjoying the weather. 🤗😘

DJK99 profile image
DJK99 in reply to Spotty-ewe

Yes thanks - and and you! x

Great garden crafting skills! The dunnocks will be chuffed with this, what a difference xx

It was a case of ‘necessity being the mother of invention’ really. I just couldn’t bear being responsible for making the dunnocks and their nest more noticeable and was desperate to do something about it. Glad it worked and so far the birdies are indeed chuffed with it and are sitting happily in the nest. 👍🏻👍🏻 I hope you are enjoying the weather Horsewhisper .🙏🏻 Take care. xx🤗

They must feel a bit safe in your garden and with you around to go back to the nest. Unless dunnocks are typical bird brained birds.

I don't think I have seen a dunnock.

It is quite a small bird about the size of a sparrow. If you Google it you’ll see it. We feed the birds daily on a raised bird table, 2 ground feeders and several hangers for nuts, Niger seeds, sunflower hearts and fat balls. So we get a fabulous selection of birds from the greater spotted woodpecker to finches and tits, as well as pigeons and the odd crow. They wait for us each morning as they are fed at 8 am and the blackbirds particularly are very trusting and friendly. They always get caught out when the clocks change! 😂

Yes, we were pleased and relieved they returned to the nest after we’d been messing about putting up the screen. I felt like a bird brain myself exposing their nest. 🤦‍♀️ But hopefully all is well now. ğŸ¤žğŸ¤ž

Enjoy your weekend OHL. 🤗😘

Sounds like a haven for our feathered friends, it’s so lovely to gain their trust. Cracking weather today, out in it this morning doing stuff and dozed this afternoon on the sofa! 🤗😘

Sounds a perfect way to spend the day.👍🏻👍🏻 Hopefully more of the same tomorrow. ğŸ¤žğŸ¤ž

Yes it is a real privilege when the birds trust us and look forward to us coming out with their food. The only bird I don’t welcome is the sparrowhawk who we’ve witnessed taking a few of the smaller birds over the years. Even the crow is better mannered than that. 😁

Enjoy your weekend. 🤗😘

Lovely story spotty-ewe, do keep us posted how the dunnock's get on with motherhood!. It's wonderful isn't it to be such a part of nature!. Keep safe and wellXx

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to misty14

Thanks Misty. Yes we are very lucky here with the wildlife and it all brings so much joy to our lives. Thanks for your kind wishes and I hope you keep well and safe too Misty. Xx 🤗😘

misty14 profile image
misty14 in reply to Spotty-ewe

Thanks so much spotty-ewe for your lovely message. As you like birds and are helping them so much you might be interested in a free survey I'm doing with BTO organisation!. If you google it you'll see all about it!. I did a tawny owl survey with them last year!. They're offering a free years membership because of lockdown and will send monthly e-newsletters as well. You probably know all about it but just thought I'd say. Keep twitching and safe. Xx

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to misty14

Many thanks for that Misty. We do the Great Garden Birdwatch each year so we’d enjoy this too. I’ll let hubby know as he usually does the GGB as I get elbowed out of the way! I was a member of BTO when I was teaching on the islands in the late 1980S-1990s following a bird project I did with the children one year. Just after we’d started the project oiled birds were being washed up on the shore- guillemots, razorbills and shags mainly a few of which were ringed so we sent the rings in to Tring. Very sad situation but interesting to receive back the info about where and when they’d been ringed. We never heard the reason for the oil slick but so devastating and upsetting for us too.

Thanks again. Misty. Have a good weekend! 🤗😘 Spotty xx

misty14 profile image
misty14 in reply to Spotty-ewe

Thanks for your lovely reply spotty. Wonderful you do the Garden Birdwatch survey like I do so you'll like this one. You had an interesting time in Tring and awful to see the devastating effects of an oil slick!. Seeing is believing I guess. Do you miss those times and sorry that lupus has intervened?. It's great though we've all found alternative interests out of adversity!. Keep posting and safe spotty. Xx

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to misty14

Little did I know at the time, but I had Lupus even then and wondered why, although I was young, I often lacked energy and felt achy and sore. 😫 It was a fantastic experience, teaching 6 years on 1 island and 4 on another as sole teacher. The way of life and the wildlife were out of this world. I eventually had to give up due to ill-health.😓 I wouldn’t want to live there now as it isn’t for elderly unfit people although I have noticed that they have many more mod-cons these days than when I lived on the islands. Happy memories, but in the past they must remain.

Good chatting with you Misty and thanks for your kind words. Keep well and safe. 🤗😘 Spotty.xx

misty14 profile image
misty14 in reply to Spotty-ewe

Oh my goodness spotty, lupus can be insidious without our knowing because symptoms can be so many other things!. How long have you had it?. You've done things like teach on those islands that many people never achieve and no-one can take that away!. It's wonderful how your keeping your interest going but in a different way!. Lovely chatting and keep well and safe too. We need more of your lovely posts. Xx

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to misty14

My symptoms started when I was about 14/15 (put down to nerves then including a rash I had when my Dad had a heart attack when I was 14) but as I had both measles and double pneumonia when I was 3 years old it is now thought that this was the trigger. We’ll never know, but the illnesses and inexplicable miscarriages I had as a young adult are definitely linked with the SLE I was diagnosed with only 8 years ago. Better late than never!

Take care Misty. 🤗😘 We’ll need to chat again.👍🏻

misty14 profile image
misty14 in reply to Spotty-ewe

OMGoodness spotty, mine started when I was 14. I think it's quite a pivotal age with lots of body changes that don't help!. Those serious infections coukd well have been the trigger , unusual to have pneumonia so young. Yet , you've not been diagnosed long!. Miscarriages are definitely a lupus symptom!. That must have been tough!. What treatment are you on?. We definitely need to chat again but in your own time if you want to. Take care and safe. Xx💕😊💕

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to misty14

Hi Misty,

Yes a pivotal age indeed. I had pneumonia in both lungs so was very ill and admitted to hospital. Next day I was sent home because I displayed measles and my parents were warned I might not pull through. Luckily I have no recollection of it apart from the family GP calling daily to give me an injection. 😫 My Dad suffered from pneumonia every winter and I enjoyed sitting on his lap as he sang or told me rhymes etc so maybe I picked up the pneumococcal from him? It was because of his health and then mine that we emigrated to Australia when I was 4 years old. We returned when I was 15. I had miscarriages when I was 24 and 25 years old the first at 20 weeks the second at 22 weeks. They had no idea what had caused them. We know now!! I had a very bad pelvic infection after the second and couldn’t conceive again. Never mind, I’ve had wonderful times with my pupils in tiny 1-teacher schools which has helped. Do you have children? I’m on Hydroxychloroquine for the Lupus and other medication for my right kidney and my heart. How about you? Feel free to PM me if you would like to.

Take care Misty. xx 🤗😘

misty14 profile image
misty14 in reply to Spotty-ewe

Hi spotty-ewe, what a terrible time you've had with your health and your dad as well!. Brought you closer together though!. May well be a genetic something . I'm glad you had time with kids in another way, it's not the same but it helps the hurt maybe?. I missed out on kids as well and I haven't been around them as much as I would have liked!. Friends sheilded me from theirs thinking it was kind but I've always wanted to share them. We don't have many in the family either. I too am on Hydroxy, did you have to find a brand that suited like Zentiva?. Do hope it has helped you?. Sorry about your other problems too. Were you diagnosed UCTD?. Feel free to pm me if you'd like , keep safe and well and posting great photos. Xx

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to misty14

Yes, Dad and I were very close but because he was 50 when I was born he died when I was 33. I still miss him.

Sorry to hear you’ve missed out on kids too. I know what you mean by people shielding you from their babies/children. I felt I had the plague when young Mums in the village I lived in avoided me after I lost mine. I’d have loved to be involved with their children but they thought it would rub my nose in it. That’s when I decided to train as a teacher (I was 26) as my GP had advised to rest before trying again. Once I qualified I found I couldn’t conceive so I threw myself into my teaching instead. Loved it, until my health prevented me from continuing when I was in my late 40s.

I was initially diagnosed with UCTD but further tests led to the diagnosis of SLE very soon afterwards. In for a penny in for a pound eh?

I had Bristol brand Hydroxychloroquine for several years and found it led to gastritis. It was on this wonderful forum that I learned about the Zentiva brand and it has really made a huge difference. No gastritis when I use it. Trouble is it isn’t easy to get . Hubby phones round all the pharmacies for me before filling my prescription to see if any of them have it in stock. Sometimes I’m lucky but often I’m not. How about you Misty?

Hoping you are enjoying your weekend.

Take care, and keep safe. Xx

misty14 profile image
misty14 in reply to Spotty-ewe

It must have been so tough having to give up the career you loved. I had wanted to do something with children but never made it. Its lovely that you have that special time to look back on spotty-ewe. Love the name too. I think we might be a similar age?. I'm 47.

I was diagnosed with UCTD 34 years ago and unusually despite different symptoms it has stayed at that which is supposed to be a milder illness but sometimes I wonder!. I'm sorry that you are full blown SLE but in a way it must be easier to explain to doctors and they understand it better now.They're Not always sure of UCTD!.

I too had problems with the Bristol brand of hydroxyl and have been helped by the Zentiva brand like you. I think its happening a lot and touch wood I've been able to get it ok from my boots pharmacy. I'm relieved to see that the latest update from Lupus Uk is that hydroxy hasn't been found to be helpful with covid 19. Selfishly I was worrying about another supply problem which we can all do without. I do find it helps the joint pain and fatigue. I'm sure you do too.

Its wonderful now your being surrogate mum to baby birds and I hope they successfully fledge after being in your care.

Keep well and safe spotty-ewe and posting. Xx

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to misty14

Yes, I miss teaching although it has changed a lot now, but I hold some very special memories and am still in touch with 3 of my former pupils (now 33 - 41 years old) and their Mums.👍🏻👍🏻 I’ll be 65 in July but I’m still young at heart! 😉

I called myself Spotty-ewe because I was born in the year of the sheep and I was suffering a flare with spotty rash when I joined the forum last year.

Oh yes, I find the Hydroxychloroquine helps in exactly the same way as you do, and the Zentiva suits me best but I can’t always get it locally. ☹️

Anyway, PM me anytime Misty. Always nice to have a chat with somebody else in the same boat.

Take care and I’ll keep you posted with how the wee Dunnocks get on. I’m praying and keeping everything crossed for them. ğŸ™ğŸ»ğŸ¤ž

Hugs 🤗😘 Spotty

misty14 profile image
misty14 in reply to Spotty-ewe

Thanks so much spotty-ewe for your lovely message and understanding. Your spirit shines thru your messages and humour with your name when it isn't easy!.

Its lovely your in touch with three former pupils and their mum's, its very special and shows what a great teacher you must have been.

Do hope the Dunnocks are safe behind their new screen, will look out for you on the forum.

It seems silly but I am busy with lots of lovely messages from friends and trying to secure delivery slots that the days are disappearing. I'm also not used to hearing from so many people but I'm not complaining, didn't think it would happen though!. With limited energy and lots of pain it isn't easy but its lovely chatting with people like you who understand and the wildlife posts are such a wonderful distraction.

keep well and safe and posting. Xx

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to misty14

Thank you for your lovely message Misty. Haha, it is funny how people who haven’t kept in touch regularly are now e-mailing or phoning. Let’s enjoy it while we can👍🏻👍🏻.

Take care and keep safe! 🙏🏻🤗😘

misty14 profile image
misty14 in reply to Spotty-ewe

Many thanks spotty-ewe for your lovely, understanding reply. We certainly must enjoy it while its happening as I'm sure people will go quiet once this is over. Keep us posted about your dunnocks and keep safe and well too. Xx

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to misty14

Will do. Have a good weekend. Xx

misty14 profile image
misty14 in reply to Spotty-ewe

Thanks, spotty and you. Xx

Don’t feel terrible, accidents happen and you did a grand job of the screen and the dunnock thinks do too as sitting on eggs 👍🙌🏻😍

Here’s hoping you get your new family in the hedge 👍

Doing a grand job with dreaded ivy too.👍

Take care 🙏🤗😘🐝

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to stiff19

Thanks for reassuring me Stiff. Fingers crossed I’ll be hearing chirpy chicks before long. ğŸ™ğŸ»ğŸ™ğŸ»ğŸ¤žğŸ¤ž Good luck with your own garden. Such a busy time of year. Take care lovely Stiff. 🤗😘

stiff19 profile image
stiff19 in reply to Spotty-ewe

😂👍🐤🐤🐥 yes lovely time of year , glad we are lucky enough to enjoy still despite 🦠

The air quality out there is noticeably different and weather warming as sea haze too 👍 enjoy your weekend lovely spotty, hope there’s a good mix of work and rest

Take care love and best wishes 🤗😘🐝x

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to stiff19

Thank you so much Stiff and the same back to you. ğŸ¤—ğŸ˜˜ğŸ¦‹ğŸžğŸ

Kate, you are so dear to nurture mother nature there. Special people doing special care. The rewards will be tenfold.." Sing for the sunshine, pray for the rain, give your love to mother nature, and she will do the same." Song lyrics from Led Zeppelin! Your garden family will flurish because you have the touch. and, Love! Keep us all posted, please... Blessings, thestormy sunshine:)

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to thestorm

Thanks so much Stormy for reminding us of the lovely lyrics and for reassuring me. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the wee family in the hedge. I hope you are feeling better now dear Stormy 🙏🏻, and I hope your weather has improved too.ğŸ¤ž You certainly are our sunshine! ☀️ Take care of yourself Stormy sunshine! 🤗😘

Lovely screen Spotty 🤗 I'm sure the chicks will be fine!! I would suggest that u leave the rest of the ivy until the autumn after the nesting season or u might come across other nests!! U have a lovely hedge that is ideal nesting territory so leave it for now!!

Bit of a tip for removing ivy..cut the thick stems at the bottom n the ivy will die therefore making it easier to remove in the autumn!! U could cut the stems now but don't remove any more n I'm sure you'll have many happy families I'm sure!!

Take care 🌈😽😽xx

This particular hawthorn hedge is right beside the narrow dirt lane that leads to only 2 more houses beyond us. Our garden is full of trees and hedges including an ancient hedgerow between us and the dairy farm behind us. The hawthorn hedge in question is spindly and has been getting more so in recent years because of the ivy throttling it. So we were amazed that the dunnocks chose this hedge of all places to build its nest. I’ll be leaving an area of about 16 feet beyond where the dunnock’s nest is, and will clear it when the wee ones have fledged. But as it is rare for me to have enough energy to tackle this job, I’ll be continuing a little at a time from the opposite end of the hedge to about 16 feet from the nest, and breaking our rule of not touching hedges between the months of March and October. Don’t worry, I’ve thoroughly checked the rest of this hedge and no more nests are present. It is such a spindly hedge it is easy to see into especially at this time of year, but I’ve carefully examined the areas thick with ivy leaves and there are no more nests. Most sensible birds are nesting in the hedgerow, the huge conifer hedge at one side of the garden or in the trees including the umpteen bird boxes we have put up. This pair must have been rugged individuals! Hopefully once the ivy has been removed, the hedge will fill in a bit.

Thanks for the tip about the ivy. Our garden is full of it and a few of the ancient trees have ivy with stems as thick as your arm or leg entwining them. Hubby has cut them at the bottom and removed a section of about 8-10 inches otherwise the wretched stuff joins up again and keeps growing. Tenacious stuff. He has a full time job keeping the huge ash trees in check with his ascending ropes and chain saw, but they grow so quickly they keep us going in firewood. 👍🏻👍🏻

So don’t worry, no more birdie families will be disturbed. Keep safe Kat. 🤗😘 ğŸğŸžğŸ£

Excellent you've got it covered then 😜pun totally intended!! 😹

We moved here three years ago at the end of July n the side of our garden sits alongside a school playing field!! Along that side of our garden was a really overgrown hedge with loads of brambles..there were blackberries galore!! Yayy!! We were talking about cutting into it but we would have blackberries every year..we picked loads n gave them as thank yous for helping us move in!! It was a very busy hedge with birds twittering in there etc..lovely!! 😁

However two weeks or so after we had arrived the school ripped out the hedgerow!! I kid u not a great big digger n chipper turned up on the other side of the fence..ripped out everything that wasn't a tree.. OMG the birds were in such distress it was like bird murder in our garden!! 😱😱😱

It took us quite some time to get them to come back to this area..I've always fed the birds..I used to do it with my nan when I was wee!! We're in the process of growing a hedge on our side of the new fence that the school erected!! It was nightmarish but they did leave a nice old hawthorn tree which I sit under when in the garden..it's got s lovely twist at the bottom of its trunk n I sit there (in shade) listening to the twittering!! 👍👍

Please keep us posted on chick news Spotty 🤗🌈😽😽xx

Oh Kat, that is a horrible story about the bird massacre.😩 And orchestrated by a school! 🤨 That’s really instilling a love for nature in the children!🤦‍♀️ I hope you put a complaint on to the headteacher at the time. What was wrong with removing the hedge, if they really had to, in October/November? I can’t believe how ignorant and callous the powers that be at the school were.🥴

Thank goodness there are kind people like you and your hubby around putting in a hedge for them now and feeding them. 👍🏻👍🏻 You’ll have restored their faith in humans. 🥰 Enjoy your weekend Kat. ğŸ¤—ğŸ˜˜ğŸ¦‹ğŸžğŸğŸ’

Exactly..the timing was obviously during the summer hols!! They didn't damage any children but they did destroy a whole community of wildlife!! The field is massive n there's gardens all around..apparently all the gardens backing onto the field were written to by the school but we weren't here then coz I would have objected to that plan!! 😔One wildlife corridor wiped out..maybe the kids were hiding in there smoking or some other shennanigans!! 😹

Very pleased to say that I have lots of visitors now..including birds of prey..we've had a kestrel sitting on the fence early one morning n a buzzard eating a starling!! Red kites were bred in this area as part of a preservation programme which was very successful so they r regularly seen..magnificent birds..the English eagle!! I don't feed those though!! 😹🌈😽😽Xx

You’d have thought they’d have chosen an autumn or winter school holiday for that operation. Terrible.😬

But you are attracting all sorts of birds now. 👏🏻 It is so rewarding isn’t it and uplifting seeing all the wonderful bird life. Our resident buzzard died a few years back and another has never taken over its territory sadly. I never witnessed it eating another bird, but the sparrowhawk raided a blackbirds nest a few years ago, and on another occasion it tried to take the male woodpecker until my hubby threw open the window and shouted at it. It dropped the woodpecker 👏🏻 which to be honest it was struggling to carry, and we saw him back at the nut feeder the following day thankfully. 👍🏻👍🏻

Take care Kat. Xx 🤗😘

I'm sure you've done a grand job there with the dunnock and it's eggs, well done.

Isn't it lovely to hear the birds in the garden again chirping away, clear skies.

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to Jhpc

Thank you Jhpc. Yes we are blessed to have the birds singing all day and it is wonderful having such glorious weather and blue skies. A real treat and so Theraputic during these uncertain times. Keep well and safe.🤗😘

Jhpc profile image
Jhpc in reply to Spotty-ewe

You too take care 🤗 xx

Yo'uve done a really good job there. I'm sure the dunnocks will forgive you!

Spotty-ewe profile image
Spotty-ewe in reply to Tykle

Many thanks Tykle, I hope they do. Take care. ğŸğŸžğŸ¦‹ğŸ’•

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