Saturday, May 10

Feathery Friends and Slimy Foes?

If you read my blog regularly you will have read about Hoppy, a disabled blackbird that has adopted our garden. Hoppy has been a very regular visitor to our bird table since before November and expects his breakfast every morning.

Sometimes he sits on the edge of our garage roof and looks into the kitchen when we are washing up after breakfast as if to let us know he is waiting for HIS breakfast. At other times he waits on a post or the fence - watching and waiting. (Excuse the photo - must clean the windows!)
When Martyn opens the door, Hoppy flies round to the side of the house and waits close by the bird table to make sure he is first on the scene when Martyn loads up the bird table. As soon as Martyn turns his back he is straight to the buggy nibbles.

The other day I wandered round the corner of the house towards the bird table taking photos - as Bloggers do - and not paying attention to anything else. I was about a metre. (a yard), from the bird table when I looked up and saw Hoppy sitting watching me. He didn't flinch as I pointed the camera at him - in fact he just carried on eating.
This morning a less welcome visitor was spotted, a very large brown slug. I rather bravely put my finger near it to give you some idea of its size.
I think this is an arion ater otherwise known, in spite of its brown colouring, as a black slug. Apparently they aren't as destructive as the smaller slugs but I still can't grow to love them!
The close-ups show its breathing hole and the eye - which only really detects light- at the end of the longer of its two pairs of tentacles.
This individual seems to be browsing on lichen.

If these two visitors get together, after first wiping as much slime as possible onto grass, Hoppy would end up with a very full stomach.


25 comments:

  1. We all like an under bird, you can see he's lucky to still have that leg.

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    1. He is Captain - I think having a bird table with a roof with plenty of food and water nearby got him through the worst time when he looked very porly

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  2. Happy hoppy - nice that he has adopted you. As for slugs, none so far, but plenty of snails after the tender and vulnerable leafage. I was going to say great close up of the snail but it makes me dislike them all the more if I'm honest. Ugly in a fascinating sort of way.

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    1. Slugs and snails are fascinating creatures - we once raised some in a classroom but they needed plenty of charcoal in the tank as they can get quite smelly. I don;t like them but they are fascinating.

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  3. Hoppy's rewarding you for your generosity in feeding him every day by allowing you so close to take his photo. You'll have to train him up to eating from your hand. Urgh, I hate slugs. There was a big slimy thing on my doorstep the other day, I nearly trod on it.

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    1. That is really bad, Jo standing on slugs or snails, is Archie treated against lungworm?

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    2. He is, yes. He needed to be when he was a puppy as he was only too eager to pick up both slugs and snails and try to eat them. He doesn't bother with them now but I still make sure he's treated just in case.

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  4. That slug is a monster! It could probably eat a whole lettuce every day...

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    1. Apparently its the smaller ones that sause the worst damage, Mark

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  5. Good to see Hoppy is still around and doing well. I think he's adopted you. I really can't like slugs at all either. There are some real monsters down by my compost bins, they're the size of sausages.

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    1. I hope they aren't Cumberland sausage, CJ

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  6. Poor old Hoppy that has been a nasty injury at some time the male blackbirds always seem bolder and tamer than the female those slugs ugh we have loads that size that the birds won't touch

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    1. I has David - probably one of those deadly drink cans people discard without thinking. Strangely in our gardens it's usually the females that are braver and tamer although we mostly have males at this time. Maybe the females are busy raising young.

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  7. Eww manky slugs, there was a huge black one on the fence yesterday, we could see it from the window it was that big! It was quickly dispatched. I'm glad to see you still have Hoppy.

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    1. We spotted this one from the window, Jo. Martyn has made some garlic spray today as he read it deter slugs (and aphids too).

      We'd miss Hoppy if he disappeared.

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  8. I'm actually finding that snails are causing more munching than slugs this year so far. I keep finding shelled creatures in between my pots (though makes them less disgusting to pick up and get away from the plants!)

    I'm always surprised by how fast they move when they're actually right in front of you. You should definitely introduce the slug to Hoppy haha. I have to agree though that they are quite fascinating to watch. I'd probably find them quite interesting if they weren't so destructive

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    1. We have more trouble with snails too. Rozzie. Until we paved some bits we never had snails, I guess they browse the concrete for calcium for their shells.

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  9. I came across 3 huge black slugs on the dog walk yesterday which were busy eating 9 light coloured slugs. nearly brought them home to eat here. blackbird is amazing.

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    1. Welcome Phyllis Carnivorous snails or even cannibalistic. You don't live near Norwich do you? See this article

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  10. That is a huge slug, I've only seen tiny ones so far and I struggle to pick those up!
    Cathy

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    1. Welcome Cathy. I'd only pick it up wearing gloves or using a trowel. Snails I can manage - slugs no way. The slime is a nightmare to wash off.

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  11. Ah....bless you for caring for the delightful Hoppy....long may he live!
    Cripes, that is a rather fearsome looking slug, it could probably put a good fight up.xxx

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    1. We were just happy that he survived. Snowbird. We worry about us if he is late showing up.
      I was brave putting a finger near that slug wasn't I?

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  12. Our large slugs are yellow. I haven't a clue what kind they are. Oh how I hate them. But your photo is oddly pretty with the red racing stripe down the side.

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    1. Hi Daphne - Dayglo slugs - I hate then too. I hadn't noticed the stripe 'til I saw the photo

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