Friday, 22 February 2019

That sparrowhawk again...

so a slightly better picture of the sparrowhawk but I still haven't got to grips with the new camera lens.  I just can't get a really clear focussed shot and through a window is never going to do it justice.
It was hiding beside a large shrub and checking out the bird feeder for little birds.  It had it's left claw tucked inside it's feathers again.

birds, wildlife,
sparrowhawk


Thursday, 21 February 2019

February colour continued...

a few more plants have come into flower and the sun has been out on this lovely mild day.  In the stumpery; I planted some wallflower last year by the garage wall, beside the apple trees, in amongst the cyclamen and crocus.  The crocus are looking good but the cyclamen have not flowered this year yet.  The Helleborus argutifolius are looking good (apart from the bird poo that is!).  They are planted beneath a tree where the pigeons, crows and jackdaws often sit.  The snow drops and golden Japanese rush help to brighten the shady area.  Just last week I bought and planted 3 small cyclamen coum Ruby star and they are so pretty.  Along from them, near the stump, is the primrose ( primula vulgaris) and a lovely creeping fern (polypodium vulgare).  In the raised bed; I normally have to cut back the huge fern (Polystichum setiferum 'cristato Pinnulum') around this time of year but it is looking fabulous just now so I won't touch it.  On the patio; the tiny yellow iris (Katherine's gold) are looking nice and bright and a few of the other Hellebores are flowering but pretty much look the same as last year so I won't take more photos yet.  There is still a chance of some bad weather and snow before the spring really gets going, but so far, so good.

plants, flowers,
Purple crocus

plants, flowers,
Helleborus argutifolius

plants, flowers,
Cyclamen coum 'Ruby star'

plants, flowers, ferns,
Primula vulgare and Polypodium vulgare 'Bifido grandiceps'

plants, ferns, foliage,
Polystichum setiferum 'cristato Pinnulum'

plants, flowers,
Iris 'Katherine's gold' alpine

Monday, 4 February 2019

February colour...

well there aren't many plants that like to flower in this cold weather. The snowdrops are up but the buds haven't quite opened yet.  Other bulbs are poking through but will need a few more weeks to flower.  Some of the hellebores are flowering whilst others are not.  The best one so far is the white one in the woodland area (that I call my stumpery due to it having one stump).  Also in that area is the witch hazel with it's fiery orange flowers.  I do however have more colour in the conservatory with the cyclamen and bulbs coming up.  There is a lot of green in the garden with the ferns, grass, evergreen shrubs and ivy.  Shame the cold hasn't got rid of the greenfly.
I thought that I would try and get some of the fallen leaves out of the pond but only the top couple of centimetres are melted and the rest of it is frozen.  Most of the leaves were frozen in so I am going to have to wait.  Poor frogs and other pond dwelling creatures.  In the past we had a pond heater on throughout the winter but something kept hauling it out leaving it dangling over the side and it would melt a hole in the pond liner.  The pond liner is concreted in now so we have been trying to keep a small hole open in the ice.  Doesn't look like we managed to do that so any noxious gases will be accumulating under the ice.  The last time that happened a few dead, bloated frogs rose to the surface once the pond ice had all thawed.  Don't worry I didn't take photos.

plants, flowers,
white hellebore

plants, flowers,
Hamamelis inter Diane

plants, flowers,
conservatory bulbs


Friday, 1 February 2019

Brrrr it's flipping freezing today...

but it has brought in a few more birds to the garden.  At least it is nothing like the polar vortex that is hitting the US at the moment - I really feel for them over there.  I don't know how the wild life over there will cope with that kind of extreme cold, I guess many won't survive.
I have been camped out beside the camera in the back room taking bird pics through the window.
The bird bath and pond are totally frozen so I keep putting out fresh water for them and feeding them as it is bitterly cold.  I haven't seen the fox with the poorly leg so I don't know if it has survived.
The redwings wanted their bath in the the pond but it is completely frozen, and they don't want to have a go in the 1/2 melted bird bath, so they will have to wait for Harry to melt a hole in ithe ice when he gets home.  The pheasants have been picking up the little bits of fat that fall down while the squirrel is feeding at the fat cake.  Trouble is all the other birds want to do the same, so there can be a lot of chasing about happening under that fat cake feeder.

wildlife, birds, woodpecker,
Woodpecker with fat cake

wildlife, birds, redwings,
redwings

wildlife, birds, squirrels, pheasants,
2 hen pheasants under a squirrel

wildlife, birds, pheasants,
2 hen pheasants

wildlife, birds, pheasants,
hen pheasant feeding

wildlife, birds, pheasants, squirrels,
squirrel and hen pheasant feeding

wildlife, birds, pheasants, squirrels,
squirrel and hen pheasant feeding


Sunday, 27 January 2019

Clever crow...

he/she has found that if they put their talons out first, then they can grip onto the fat cake long enough to peck a big bit of fat out.  Unlike the magpies, and some other crows, who just fly at it and peck hoping to dislodge a bit that falls down then they collect the bits from the ground.  It's the squirrels that usually hog it while the pigeons and blackbirds collect the bits that fall down while they are feeding.  The squirrels don't like this much and will try and chase the birds away to no avail.  When this crow wants some however, it just pecks the squirrel to tell it to get lost!  It is very windy today so not a great photo as the crow, fat cake holder, feeding station post and all the background plants were all moving.  The long tailed tits are still about but all these big birds just scare them away.

wildlife, birds, crow,
Clever crow at the fat cake.



A couple of days ago while Harry was working in the garage with the door open, the sparrow hawk flew in and hit the back window.  Harry managed to pick it up and show me, then quickly let it go, quite unharmed by it's experience.  I would have liked a photograph of it close up but we didn't want to cause it any undue stress.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Ta Da Redwings...

Yeah I finally managed to get a photo of the redwings have a bathing in the pond.  Not a great photo as I have a new lens which I haven't got used to yet, and it was through a window, and my hands were very shaky.  I can count 10 (there is one skulking behind a plant). I am so please as I have only ever seen 2 and this is the first year I have seen them in the garden.  They were having a bit of a stand off with the blackbirds.  The female blackbird won and saw them all off, but as soon as she started to bathe, the redwings came back.  She did manage a few minutes bathing before she gave up.


wildlife, birds, redwings, pond,
Redwings (Turdus iliacus)

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Dreich...

meaning: dull, wet, gloomy and dreary.  Yep, that is what kind of weather we have had throughout December. Hardly any wind, and quite mild, and just miserable.  None of the plants are looking great just now.  The Hellebores haven't really got going yet, the ferns have either died back altogether or are looking a bit tatty, there are a few sporadic, sad flowers on a couple of shrubs, and the catkins on the contorted hazel are just starting.  The witch hazel hasn't done anything yet and even the cyclamen have stopped flowering.  The evergreen shrubs are at least still green but are rather a dull shade and everything thing else just looks grey or brown.  I did just about get a photo of the little fox, but, it leapt over the wall just as I clicked so I only managed to get the tail.  Poor little fox has a sore front right paw and was limping, but. is still got over the wall just fine.  I have also been trying to photograph the long tailed tits that have just appeared again at the peanut feeder.  They come in a little group and are very skittish so fly away quickly at the signs of any movement or noise.

Plans for the new year will include: getting the far end, left corner of the wall mended (once we have a contact for the person who owns the house (they have plans afoot to split that house into two houses), getting some sort of paving put down between the pond and the patio, lift some slabs at the right hand border and make it  a slightly wider border (it has always been too narrow), maybe get rid of the apple trees at the back of the garage as we end up chucking a lot of apples away (they are not keepers but I do make a lot of purée to freeze), and find something to grow over the back wall of the garage - colourful and scented.  And due to the worsening of the arthritis in my hands I must start looking for a new garden helper. Even simple dead-heading has become a painful chore no matter what secateurs I use.  I am soooooo looking forward to spring but there have been rumours of a prolonged period of very cold, snowy weather, depending on what course the jet stream takes.  Not looking forward to that but I do love the silence of those days where the snow flakes are large and soft and it makes a beautiful, velvety white blanket over everything.  Now, where is my camera?