Funnily enough, having checked to see that we had actually seen these species before in the garden, I discovered three other species I'd forgotten to put on my garden bird list, so it now stands at 62! The full list can be seen on the page Bird Count at the top of the right sidebar.
|Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus).|
The other even more exciting sighting were two Turtle Doves, seen Weds afternoon. One flew off whilst the other decided to perch happily on the top of the swings (I knew they were good for something!), allowing us a great photo op through the kitchen window. We do hear them in summer, but they are very elusive creatures which are rarely seen. Beautiful birds.
|Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur).|
|Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur).|
We're also happy that after several years of Blue Tits checking out our nest boxes, a couple are actually nesting in one, and have been seen entering with beaksful of green caterpillars and exiting with fecal sacs. However, my OH has seen both Harry and Bertie actually standing ON the top of the box, so my not needed this year cucumber climbing frame has been put to good use around the trunk of the tree, so they can no longer climb up there.
One less happy find was a partially destroyed Long Tailed Tit nest. Some of it is lying on the ground - it was the feathers which alerted my OH that something was worth investigating. However it is possible that it is an old nest as there was dried up poo inside and little specks on the feathers which line the inside that could have been mites? Maybe it was used as a roost during cold weather although I am not sure if they do this.
Their nests are a miracle of nature as they are so well camouflaged with lichen and moss on the outside and all held together with spiders' webs, making them very flexible so they don't normally drop out when it is windy. This was on a low (face height) branch of a Thuya tree, which is a conifer. The only other one I have found was in a conifer tree too.
More excitement in the butterfly department, with a new species recorded for my garden. My OH and I were chatting in the veg patch when a small unrecognisable butterfly flitted around us briefly. It then alighted on a plant and - "OMG camera quick!! It's a Green Hairstreak!!!". Suffice to say my camera was set on manual mode, and in my desperation to zoom in, focus and change the exposure, I only managed several blurs and this less than good photo before it flew off. But it was wonderful to see and really made my day. So I've now seen two different Hairstreaks here, and both in my veggie patch!
|Finally! A Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) in my garden.|
|Just because they are always around, a common species now -|
the Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).
I also spotted this pretty little moth which I somehow even managed to get down on my knees to take. Can't ID it though - any ideas, mothy expert friends? It's about skipper size, ish.
|A pretty unidentified moth.|
Now IDed as the Burnet Companion (Euclidia glyphica).
|In pond news we have tadpoles - gazillions of them. These are just a few.|
All the more strange as we never spotted any frogspawn!
|Japonica petals floating on the surface.|
Now onto garden photos - the first was earlier in the month when the Bearded Irises were just opening up. The rest were taken during the second and third weeks of May.
|Note that black cat sneaking out of the photo......|
|Just a view of the side of the house.|
|I'm really pleased with the amount of flowers on |
the Horse Chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) this year -
and they are very pretty flowers when you look close up
as they are not white like they appear from afar.
|View of golden and purple shrubs.|
|I love dark foliage! Top is Weigela florida 'Alexander", |
bottom left Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple',
and bottom right is Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo'.
|Hallie has snuck in again.... my arch is looking lovely |
and another reason not to prune your clematis!
The clematis is 'The President' and the rose is 'Zephirine Drouhin'.
|Catmints by the side of the veg patch with some weeds that |
have infiltrated - but the little yellow dots which are
buttercups look pretty, so they can stay. For this year!
|View of the front bed.|
|Totally self seeded in the gravel - Chives, |
Love in a Mist, and Verbena bonariensis.
|More self seedings, Ox-eye Daisies appeared a couple of years ago and |
the pale bluey mauve flower in the middle foreground is Salsify!
I once grew it as a veg, then allowed it to flower......
|Striped Shield Bugs (Graphosoma lineatum) on a plant they love - Bronze Fennel, |
although sadly too many of these bugs and they destroy the growing tips,
which have the best bronze colour.
|Honeysuckle which a neighbour gave me looking wonderful.|
To finish off - look away if you don't like spiders! Although they are only tiny, promise! Another thing my OH spotted (he's my eyes these days as he's in the garden so much more than I am) - I just go out to look at the things he finds for me! ID is thanks to Amanda at the Quiet Walker blog, who posted the same spiders on this post, just before we found these.
|Just what is the blob on the water butt?|
|Why it's baby spiders! These are Cross Orb Weaver (Araneus diadematus) spiders.|
Health update (possibly TMI for some)
I hardly know where to begin. I am not a pessimist, but I've got so used to things going downhill again every time they start to get better. After I finished the course of antibiotics which seemed to be drying up my abscess, despite making me sick and giving me diarrhoea, I felt great as the pain had subsided and the diarrhoea etc stopped almost immediately. So last weekend was the best I've felt in maybe five weeks, which is when I posted last saying I was feeling so much better.
However, Monday I started feeling a niggling pain from the abscess area which got worse as the day went on, coupled with a discomfort in my vagina too. Tuesday both got worse. Weds the vaginal pain subsided, only for the discharge to start again with a vengeance. Last time I mentioned this, I'd thought I had thrush and had seen a Gynae who took a swab and sent it off to a lab. It actually came back negative for fungal infections so it wasn't that. I've had this thankfully non smelly discharge on and off ever since my surgery but it always stops whilst I'm taking ABs.
We were going to contact the stoma nurse but she doesn't work Wednesdays, but by some sheer stroke of luck (and believe me, this is unusual!), my surgeon actually called my OH on his mobile to see how I was doing after the ABs!! When my OH explained, the surgeon said he wanted me to have an MRI scan as the CT scan had been inconclusive, especially as I can't have the iodine contrast dye due to my thyroid condition. He then called back about 10 mins later, saying they would fit me in that afternoon as soon as I could get to the hospital. Even more amazing!
The results of the scan were interesting, albeit difficult for a layman to understand. I don't have an abscess! Whatever it is seems to be caused by fat/liquid coming from the omentum which was used to pack out the void where some of my colon was removed and in the space where my rectum was. This is commonly done and is supposed to aid in healing. The omentum is a layer of lacy looking fat which covers the stomach and intestines and you may well know it as caul, which is what it is called on animals. It's used in certain dishes to wrap around meat, notably faggots. How or why this caused holes to appear in my perineal scar, I don't know, and I'm assuming what I'd thought was pus was in fact the liquid leaching out of me. As I said, too much for a layman to really understand, but my surgeon was pleased about this (we haven't spoken to him, but the doctor explaining the scan told us as she'd spoken to him before calling us in after the scan. By the way no waiting weeks for your results here, unlike the NHS.... ). Presumably it'll heal up eventually and that I carry on with the local nurses coming by every day to clean it and dress the wound. If it gets really painful I guess there will still be a surgical option, although the surgeon said he'd rather avoid that if possible.
I've also been to the hospital again today for a cytoscopy. This is having a camera up into your bladder! I hadn't mentioned that I'd seen a urologist a couple of weeks ago. I'd been waiting to see one for several months, only my dear surgeon who was supposed to organise it, had forgotten. My bladder has also not been working right since my surgery. I had a second urine analysis which didn't show any problems like UTIs this time so thankfully no need for any more ABs (I think I would have gone berserk if I'd needed to take more). The test, which I had been dreading, especially as I was already in pain in my nether regions, was actually (almost) a doddle. They give you some lidocaine over the entrance to and just inside the urethra, so when the flexible tube was inserted it was only a moment of discomfort, and once inside, although they fill your bladder with water, there was only a mild need to pee feeling and no pain. It only lasted about a minute! Just glad I don't have a penis though, it's much more pleasant for us women!!
The conclusions there were what had been suspected all along, that there was some neurological ("what's that?" "oh right, nerve, why don't you speak in patient language, mutter mutter") damage, for which I have some pills to take. As far as the urologist is concerned, it is nothing to worry about and is just likely due to trauma from both the radiotherapy and the surgery, much as the vaginal problems probably are (I had the same discharge after the radiotherapy, which eventually went away of its own accord as I recovered from that, before my surgery). So I guess I have to be patient and that at least some of these things will resolve over time..... though they've had nearly three months..... well, we'll see. Probably having chemo isn't helping with my ability to heal. I've also been really tired this week, but that could be a delayed reaction to last week's chemo, which didn't give me nausea this time, which is most surprising. The effects I get seem to change each time! One good thing is that I managed to gain a whole pound since round 4 of chemo, instead of losing 2 pounds which I usually do. So I can end this great long essay on a positive note. :-)
I will catch up with your blogs over the weekend, as I haven't felt up to it much this week. Have a great weekend, everyone! xx