Shine Bright Like A Diamond

Bonsai Eejit

In an attempt to get into a routine of posting on the blog again I thought I’d share this Rhododendron Blue Diamond here.

This years peak bloom.

You’ll notice the one branch at the front without flowers. It’s a weak branch which gets weaker every year. There is a very thin live vein on it and I had removed the flowers from it for the last few years to try and strengthen it with no joy. Enough was enough. It had its chance so time to remove and redesign.

And then past peak with dead flowers showing.

The ideal time to remove the flowers and more importantly the little seed pods at their centre.

I’m sure we missed some late openers.

After deflowering before pruning.

Structural pruning

After pruning and set for the post flowering flush. You’d hardly notice the front branch at the main apex gone. A few bits…

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Tale of Two Malus

Bonsai Eejit

Exactly a year ago a was wandering around a garden centre in Dublin. A great wee place called Murphy and Woods. All the plants were a little different than you usually see and staff could be seen everywhere taking the time to chat properly with customers. Remember those days when you could just pop into a garden centre 🙄

Anyway, I walked past a open gate marked staff only and about 10 metres inside the gate I could see a lump of malus trunk with a few weak branches and a small cluster of flowers. What can I say, when your eyes in it’s in 👀. As it was staff only I walked on but soon came across some other malus in 10 litre pots up at the back. These weren’t bonsai just small ornamental apple trees. I hoped they were crab apple and spotted one that might make a…

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Black Bellied Whistling Ducks

Wildlifewatcher's Blog

Whistlers as these ducks are also known, are charming and beautiful wild ducks.  They have a blue bill and feet as ducklings which turn a vivid pink as adults.  Black Bellied Whistling ducks are a rich cinnamon brown with black and white feather accents.  They actually don’t quack but do emit a whistle sound to communicate.

These whistling ducks sit on the grassy shoreline quite a bit but do venture into the water from time to time and tip down into the shallow water to hunt for aquatic worms, insects, snails and aquatic plants.  They also eat seeds, grasses, fruits and terrestrial insects snails and worms they can find fairly close to the water’s edge.  Black Bellied Whistling ducks are both migratory and native here in Florida.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

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Great Egrets

Wildlifewatcher's Blog

Two Great Egrets were spotted last evening at dusk at our neighborhood small lake in two spots as well as a passing small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in flight.  This was the first time in a very long while I have been out of the house other than to take exercise walks around the block here.

We did stay in our golf cart and were never near other people during this very short bird watching jaunt.  I really hope you enjoy seeing these photos of the egrets!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.

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Bird ID Quiz – Final Winner

Hermanus Bird Club

Well done to Coerie Badenhorst, who achieved 3/5 for the very difficult final play-off of the quiz, in which he defeated Sue Franck.  We now know who to ask to lead us on a bird walk, if we cannot get Mike.  Coerie is your man as he obviously knows his birds, and you could also do a lot worse than having Sue in charge.  Congratulations to both of you, and once again, huge thanks to Mike for putting it all together and keeping many of us stimulated.

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Next Quiz – “Bits and Pieces”

Hermanus Bird Club

As the last quiz was well received by those who participated I’ve put together another one with a slight twist for interest and variety. I’ve called it “Bits and Pieces” as it involves showing only part of the bird initially. This is how it works:-

Starting on Thursday May 1st, the quiz will run every day for 18 days.

On day 1 Ronnie will send out 2 pics with southern African birds, but only a part of the bird shown. If you can identify one of them or both based on that bit then send your answer or answers to me at on that day and if you are correct you will be awarded two points per species identified.

The following day Ronnie will send out pics of the same birds but showing the whole or most of the birds. If you can identify one or both of them…

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More on “Bits and Pieces”

Hermanus Bird Club

It starts on Friday, 1st May, not Thursday.

Once you have submitted an answer on day 1 for a 2 point score, and if you then realize on day 2 that it was wrong, you may not then enter another answer for 1 point. In other words you only have one shot at an answer, either for 2 points on day 1, or 1 point on day 2.

Cheers,  Mike

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