Sunday, 18 March 2018

buds and bullfinches in the baltic botanics

I seemed to forget to go running today. I hadn't planned anything and with Mary not running and the weather being a bit shit I hadn't got out the house by the time Mary (feeling somewhat cabin feverish) said she was going to the Botanics for a walk. Of course I had to go too and it was great fun despite the light being kinda crappy and it being REALLY cold. Far too cold for standing around taking pics!

We cycled there and Mary enjoyed the non-virtual effect of travelling somewhere rather than looking at a screen while pedalling. However it is always a bit of a palaver cycling and then carrying padlocks and wires and removing all removables from the bike and stowing them in the back pack and my helmet was too big so I ended up wearing it and to have the camera handy and the essentials: bag o nuts for squirrels, bag o bread for birds. Same bag o (homemade) bread as yesterday btw, and I really enjoyed it again today - it has dried out to the consistency of tree bark or soft toffee and is full of seeds that slowly release as you chew it. Superb!

Anyway, we expected to get thrown out as soon as we arrived as it was after 4pm. Technically they're open till 6 I think. However we only lasted an hour or less because it was just so cold. And no running to warm up. And I think they'd frown if you started doing burpees.

funny face

loads of signs of Spring - lots of buds and shoots


There was a tree with loads of Bullfinches. They were hopping along the branches eating the new shoots. Like Robins we have seen earlier this year they seemed to have inflated their feathers to insulate themselves against the cold. This male (the females are less vivid in colour) looked very puffed up and almost spherical.

The squirrel above was mildly interested in nuts but ran off with a couple and wasn't in a hurry to return. We were too cold and had to keep moving. After a lap of the Chinese Garden section and greatly admiring the plants and shrubs we were near the duck pond when we saw the specimen below maybe 60 yards away. I rattled the polythene bag o nuts and she came galloping at top speed. Extra keen! (I say she because in the past the best squirrels for interaction have been nursing mothers taking on as much as possible knowing they need it to raise young. I couldn't tell what sex this one was so let's just say she. 

you know that monkey that took a selfie...?

I was still struggling to carry all my bits and pieces and get the food bag out and have the camera handy. Happily Mary was covering much of the action. I did the close-ups while Mary did the long shots. The squirrel was well used to human company and had no qualms about acting up for nuts. She would run up to my hand, take a nut or 2 and eat them sitting at my foot facing away while I took photos 2" away from her face. She didn't even flinch. We did this half a dozen times and I think she would have happily done this all afternoon had we not got cold and called it a day. We left a pile of kernals on the path as a tip. We both had frozen hands and had to cycle home quickly for lots of hot drinks. But also really elated for some charming interaction and photos with a furry tailed rat and a few colourful birds, all in the wonderfully curated setting of the gardens. It really is a splendid place and does my heart and outlook the world of good to spend time there. Really good therapy!

checking the pockets for luckies


  1. Seriously concerned what nuts that squirrel was after! lol love bullfinches though, usually can't get anywhere near them with a camera.

  2. Yes! Tempted to go along today again as the sun is now shining.