Saturday, May 28, 2011

Camera Critters: More Pets

The budgie introduction went well. At first Emily and Maggie couldn't find their way out of the transport cage and when they did, all four birds started flying around the room - whenever I though they had settled down, one of them took off again and of course the others had to follow. I though that Ernst (the blue one on the left) would have a heart attack (he does have heart problems and he tires quickly), but they did settle down and he got his breath back. It's too early to tell if they will bond, but they go get along just fine. Ernst and Igor (green) have already taught the girls that basil and dandelion are great to eat.

I also got two new bushy-tailed jirds this week and introduced them to my group. That also went well, they accepted each other right away. Bushy-tailed jirds are a gerbil species and my favourites in that huge group. They are lighter than Mongolian gerbils and much more agile. A bushy-tailed jird can jump 2ft high easily from a standing start and they can climb the thinnest branches. They are also very inquisitive and while they don't enjoy being petted because of their fine fur, they will climb around on their owner and come to check on you the minute you open the cage.
Bushy-tailed jirds

Why are they called bushy-tailed? Because:
Bushy-tailed jirds
The white tip is normal, the white streaks further up the tail are places where the jird has been bitten and where the hair grows white now. They look a bit greasy because they don't have a sandbath while they are being introduced.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nature Notes: Budgies

Recently, two of my four budgies died. One from a liver tumor and I was expecting it. One I found in the morning barely able to hold on to the perch and all the vet could do was put her down, we have no idea what happened.
Both remaining budgies have lost their partner now and are very quiet. Luckily, the shelter had two females that are around six years old, about the age of my two. I introduced them to the males and things seemed to work pretty well, they quickly shared perches after flying around the room after each other. I'm curious if they will form pairs when they have gotten to know each other better - budgies are less picky than other parrots and usually will live peacefully with just about any other budgie, but choosing a mate is not done so easily. I don't want to breed them, but seeing a budgie feed and groom its mate is just so adorable.

meet Emily
budgie Emily

and Maggie
budgie Maggie
budgie Maggie
I never had a budgie with that particular colour, it's somewhere between grey and a light violet, especially in the sunlight.

Nature Notes is hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods

Monday, May 16, 2011

My World Tuesday: Burg Rheinstein

I spent a few days at the Middle Rhine Valley which, among other things, is famous for its many castles.
Rheinstein Castle towers 90 metres over the valley. It was built in 1316, but it was already falling into disrepair in the 16th century.
It changed owners many times and had many famous visitors, Queen Victoria for example.
Finally, it was sold to an opera singer who lived there and invested a lot of time and money into rebuilding the castle. These days, it is still privately owned, but it is open to the public and you can explore it own your own, which I enjoyed very much. I'm not that much into guided tours (at least not when it's the only way of seeing a place).
the view from the tower
a lovely courtyard with wine growing all over it
the interior has been rebuilt as far as possible as well

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Camera Critters: German Wasp

German Wasp
A German Wasp (Vespula germanica) is gathering wood fibres to build its nest.I've learned as a child that they are not aggressive at all and when you keep a minimum distance, they will ignore you. I got fairly close when taking the photo and the wasp wasn't bothered at all, it was much more intent on getting enough wood as possible. The scraping noise it made while shaving off the wood was quite loud.
Check out the dorsal ocelli on the top of the head, simple eyes that help with flight stability and possibly with a number of other things.

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