Friday, 24 December 2010

Hallelujah! 21 today!....24/12/2010

No, not my Birthday...21 Waxwings perched prettily in a tree...and on a roof! After a visit to a Garden Centre I had to pop into Stourbridge town for a couple of items and low and behold I spotted 5 Waxwings fly into one of the trees that they had been reported in yesterday! I quickly shopped and on returning to my car I was thrilled to see 21 Waxwings in the trees! I had taken my camera with me just in case I had spotted anything around the Garden Centre. After taking a few shots they flew to a rooftop and then flew away over the town! It is surprising how such a small bird can give so much pleasure, I felt over the moon with the sighting of them!

A pleasing final post for which I really did not think would happen.

Feliz natal!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Full circle!

Strange really that what may well be the last post on my 2010 blog (unless I get a Waxwing sighting) is about a Fieldfare that has taken over the apple tree in my garden and is seeing off the Blackbirds that dare to go near the spiked apples on the tree in a very threatening manner! I posted similiar at the start of this blog. Fieldfares are such striking looking birds and I am pleased to see one (numbers will more than likely build up) in my garden but their territorialism is much, much worse than Robins! It is sad to see the Blackbirds that are never far away from the garden being chased out of their territory so to speak. All I can do is to continue supplying the food, the Blackbirds can at least eat the ground food in peace if not the staked!! A Pied Wagtail put in an appearance today albeit a short visit, also a male Blackcap which was also sent packing by the Fieldfare. Redwings were seen regularly flying to and fro from my neighbours garden who still have berries left on their shrubs!
I have yet to see a Waxwing this Winter and not for the want of trying. I shall try again tomorrow and if I fail then I will have to wait until the New Year to try again as I am off on my hols after Christmas weekend, no doubt they will still be around somewhere in the West Midlands.
So unless I see a Waxwing tomorrow all that remains now is to wish anyone who reads this blog a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New year 2011, especially so to Ruth who has steadfastly read and kindly commented throughout the year. Many thanks to you Ruth. I am pleased that I started this blog as I now have reminders of the past year that I can look back on through the following winter months.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Winter Solstice...21/12/2010

December Moon

Before going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window.

Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
Where the wild creatures ranged
While the moon rose and shone.

Why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?

How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we'll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow.

by May Sarton

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Snowy Saturday....18/12/2010

The first significant snowfall of the Winter arrived today (18th), I thought it would never stop snowing! I suppose we have been lucky up until today in my part of the West Midlands. Black-headed Gulls soon arrived when the ground food was put down on a lawn they were soon joined by Magpies and Woodpigeons. The temperature fell drastically overnight and at 7.00am (19th)the temperature was -10c, in Pershore, Worcestershire it fell to -19c!!
Today (19th) I have put out bread that has been marinating overnight in the fat/juice from the tray that a joint of gammon was cooked in! Needless to say this went down well with the birds. I have had a Fieldfare, Redwings x3 and a male Blackcap in my garden this morning, good species to put down on my BTO Garden count. The Blackcap and Fieldfare were none too pleased at the apples I have staked on a tree being frozen despite my attempt at defrosting them, hopefully they will return.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Yellow-legged Gull update!

I have received an e-mail today from RIAS to say that the Gull is fully recovered and has been released in Ria Formosa Park and flew well! I am so pleased to hear this news.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Rudolph the red- nosed Reindeer..well not quite!....12/12/2010

I had a few hours to myself today so off I went to the local Fisheries only to see a closed gate on arrival, given the weather lately I should have realised it would not be open! Then after having to reverse my car for what seemed miles to let a 4x4 with the biggest ever caravan I have seen being towed down a country lane pass safely by I headed for Hagley Hall and the Deer Park.

It was good to see the Fallow Deer grazing close by the fence. I walked through the Churchyard to get a clearer view of them. After a while a small group of Ramblers arrived and this spooked the herd, a pity as it was good to have seen them at close quarters. I did not realise that Deer can bounce along on all four legs as lambs will do, a couple of the Deer were doing this and it looked very strange indeed, quite comical in fact.
Birds were few and far between, the only birds seen were Crows, Jackdaws and Jays and a Blue Tit was heard.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Hoar frost and my garden visitors.

It has been interesting observing my garden visitors during this last couple of weeks of freezing temperatures and snowy weather! The Blue, Coal and Great Tits have visited daily in the garden to feed but not as often as usual, which seems strange given the freezing temperatures! Maybe they are conserving their energy once they have filled up on seed and fats. Blackbirds are usually to be seen throughout the day as are Dunnocks, a Robin or two at times having a tussle, Wren (on a hop and a catch), Woodpigeons and Magpies! Woodpigeon numbers have increased from an average of five to an average of seventeen this week!! A couple of Magpies are usually never too far away , one being much smaller than the other so a juvenile I presume. They must be stashing the food as throughout this cold spell they have been taking food and flying off with a beak full and returning within a couple of minutes and filling up again and flying off again and again! They must have been watching the Squirrels and Coal Tits stashing food! Surprise visitors have been Black-headed Gulls, well not really a surprise as I had them in my garden during the cold spell of last winter. There were 20+ circling the garden last Sunday and at least 8 came down at times to grab a bite to eat, hard to count them when they are flapping about on the lawn!! I had a similiar number this afternoon in and over the garden. One has to feel for the wildlife during these freezing temperatures. A Fox has also been in the garden, it has left it's calling card several times! Three weeks ago it visited in daylight, a great sight to see though it must have been hungry to visit at that time of day. The photo's were in the main taken through a window as I did not wish to disturb the birds, for them to feed in peace was much more important than a 'decent' pic!

Temperatures are set to rise at the weekend though this will be short lived! It is going to be a long winter this one!

How quickly the end of 2010 seems to have come around, hard to think there is just over three weeks of the year left now and then it will be the end of my 2010 blog. The end is nigh!

I thought this poem by Marilyn Lott was a delight to read, it describes the beauty of hoar frost with so much eloquence.

Hoar frost Magic

There is nothing quite as beautiful
As a frozen winter scene
At times with proper moisture
Hoar frost crystals can be seen

It's like climbing into another world
As thick ice forms on everything
Nothing else is quite the same
As what these crystals bring

Beauty beyond anything else
Forms on the world around
Gathering up and clustered
Just like a frozen shroud

There's a stillness in the air
When hoar frost crystals form
The quiet world is engulfed
From this beautiful winter storm

So if you are so fortunate
To see the hoar frost magic
Grab your camera and capture
Nature's icy antics!

Marilyn Lott

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Fiesa 2010. 'The living world'. Pera, Algarve. Definitely the last post!!!

I almost forgot to add these images to my blog of Fiesa 2010. Fiesa is an acronym for "Festival Internacional de Esculturas em Areia" or, in English - International Festival of Sculptures in Sand. It has been staged at Pera since 2003 and is always worth a visit to see some amazing sand sculptures.

Monday, 6 December 2010

The last post...........of my Algarve hol!

The last few photo's of my holiday were taken in various locations but in the main at my favourite reserve Pera Marsh. A Sacred Ibis turned up there and stayed for a few day's, I was fortunate to get a (not too bad) photo as it was quite a distance away. A strange looking bird and great to see. Spoonbills were a pleasure to watch as they 'spooned' close by, their numbers as with the Lapwings and Godwits increased greatly as the days went by.

It feels a bit surreal now posting holiday photo's that were taken in hot sunshine when there is at present freezing temperatures, snow lying on the ground, foggy and a hoar frost!

I am counting the days to my next 'Algarve' holiday!