Archive for category Garden and Wild Life

All Of A Twitter

If any more proof were needed of my sudden interest in bird watching, I present these woefully bad (for the most part) photos taken from my kitchen windows of the garden birds we were counting  as we joined in with the R.S.P.B.’s* annual Big Garden Birdwatch which took place this weekend.  It’s the world’s largest bird survey and has been running every year since 1979.

I thought of using better photos (i.e. other people’s) but where’s the fun in that?

Watched over by one of the many rooks who roost in our oak tree and fill the fields beyond, we had to count the birds actually landing in our garden for one hour, logging the amount of each species seen at one time, rather than individuals, for more accuracy.

The wildlife charity encouraged people to take part to help “lift spirits” in the latest lockdown, after a survey conducted for the charity revealed that watching birds and listening to birdsong have helped people during the pandemic.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

blackbird

My favourite – the blackbird – looking right back at you.

Male Blackbird

I treat my favourites to mealworms – this is the sort of woman I’ve become.

A pair of Collared (Lovey) Doveys

Robin – you knew that though didn’t you!

 A Great Tit cracking open a sunflower seed

A Blue Tit feasting on the remains of the peanuts the previous occupant of our house left for the badgers.

A Dunnock who was a willing poser.

Make sure you get my best side.

Goldfinches – the biggest guzzlers of the sunflower hearts.

Long Tailed Tits who always seem to come mob handed.

So while I was inexpertly pointing my front heavy be-telescopiced lens camera out through slightly smeary windows and trying to capture the proof, Mr. Tialys and Miss Tialys the Younger, were noting down the figures.  Sometimes it was frustrating because there are often wood pigeons in the garden as well as crows and starlings but none landed within our chosen hour of  10.15 – 11.15 so we couldn’t add them to the survey.  Also, we often get loads of goldfinches together at one time, but again, we only saw two at the same time within the hour so that was all we could submit.

We had fun anyway – it was something to relieve the ‘every day’s the same’ feeling I’m thinking a lot of people are starting to experience lately.

So – what was the score for the *Royal Society for the Protection of Birds survey?

The largest amount of each species spotted together that landed in our garden between 10.15 and 11.15 a.m on Sunday, 31st January.

Long Tailed Tit  –  8

Rooks                –  8

Chaffinch           –  4

Sparrow             –  4

Blue Tit              –  3

Great Tit            –  2

Blackbird           –  2

Collared Dove   –  2

Jackdaw             –  2

Robin, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Treecreeper, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker – 1 of each

We kept the cats indoors!

Are you finding your usual pursuits just aren’t doing it for you at the moment and doing things you wouldn’t normally do to lift your spirits or are you relying on tried and trusted methods.

 

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A Walkie Round The (New) Garden Part 2

‘How many kinds of decor can go

In an English country garden

I’ll show you now of some that I know

and a few you might find hard to pardon’

(with apologies to the original 18th century folk song ‘In An English Country Garden)

In part one, I gave you a glimpse of some of the ideas put into play in the garden by the previous owner of our new house.  Mr. Tialys is less than enamoured by the use of the black plastic mulch and gravel everywhere but he has since seen signs of the dreaded ground elder so at least he understands why she might have gone down that slightly ugly road.

She also had some weird and (sometimes) wonderful ideas about outdoor décor and I’ve been having fun seeking them out in nooks and crannies all over the garden.

I’ve always wanted a weather vane and this one on the garage roof is appropriate considering we are in an area with much horsey business going on as they stable and train racehorses in this area.

That one was easy to spot but the rest have been placed in semi-hidden places around the garden and I’ve been, by turns, delighted and astounded (!) by some of the choices.

I’ll leave you to decide which ones evoked which reaction,

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Which one is your favourite?  Would you give any of them house garden room?

I’ll give you a heads up and tell you that the last one is my favourite but that’s because we brought him with us from our garden in France much to the annoyance of the removal men because it weighs a ton.

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A Walkie Round The (New) Garden Part 1

One thing that has taken me by surprise now I’m back in England is that the days are so short- like my memory apparently seeing as I lived here for most of my life before my French adventure.  It’s not properly light until gone 8 in the morning an,d it’s almost dark by 4 in the afternoon, even on a fairly sunny day like today.  The days in France are also shorter in the winter obviously but, maybe because the weather was generally much better where we lived, the daylight seemed to last longer.

So, even though it was a relatively bright day today my photos of the garden don’t really reflect that.

As Cathy (of nanacathy blogging fame) did when she moved house earlier this year, we are looking at the garden and wondering what the changing seasons will bring.  Some things are obvious but I’m sure there’ll also be some surprises.

This massive old oak tree rules over part of the front garden and is often full of huge black crows but there are smaller birds in residence too, lots of blue tits, blackbirds, wrens and we’ve seen two types of woodpecker up there too.  A pair of binoculars has suddenly appeared from who knows where.  I’ve become a twitcher – who would have thunk it?

The former owner, perhaps in a moment of madness,  had two ponds built.

This is the large one and is full of fish.  Also, the pond plants look as if they will be glorious come Spring/Summer.

Spot the badger trail leading down to the pond from the field behind.

Apparently,the pond is so well balanced she never fed the fish nor needed to mess with the planting so, hopefully, it will be low maintenance.

This is the smaller pond which has no fish but apparently has frogs and newts at the appropriate time of year.

It’s tucked away in a corner of the garden – I’m imagining a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses completing this picture in the fullness of time.

Mind you, a bigger surprise than the short days – well, shock really – is the price of wine.  Lordy!  I’ll have to cut back my consumption of the fermented grape or do without food.

Some things in the garden seem a bit ‘niche’ – I’m being polite here.  The little hedge planted for no apparent reason and the shale path that leads nowhere will have to go (says Mr. Tialys).

Something else that will have to go is most of this black plastic stuff  – stop me if I’m being too technical – I know it keeps the weeds down but it also keeps other things down and it looks a bugger (says Mr. T.).

Indeed, he has already made a start and uncovered some rather nice looking soil – but then we are used to soil full of rocks having lived in the foothills of the Pyrénees.

The empty greenhouse awaits

as does this ex-chicken run which was more recently put to use for growing strawberries.

Anyway, anybody would think it was me going to work my fingers to the bone in this new garden,  Not at all.  I might pull the odd weed, prune a rose and dead head a daff from time to time but anything involving spade, fork or shovel is not my forte.  I would say it’s because fault would be found with anything I did in the garden by the head gardener but, although that is true, it is also a very good excuse.

I’ll just go off down the lane with the dogs for my exercise instead, dodging the horse poo and general mud – how I’ve missed hosing the dogs down after walks and wearing wellies.  I have some rather dapper shiny black ones although it’s actually hard to make the colour out after five minutes of ‘mud, glorious mud’.

More in Part 2.

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A Change of Scene

Well, we’re here at last.

Physically moving from France to England during lockdowns in both countries was actually easier than I would have supposed although it wasn’t without its ups and downs in the preparation stages!!

So, instead of seeing this view in front of my house

I’m now seeing this one

Fair exchange is no robbery as they say.

We’ve still got a lot of settling in to do and our internet connection is not yet sorted so I won’t be as visible in blogland as I usually am for a while but I just wanted you to let you know that mission has been accomplished.

Thank you so much for all your good wishes in the comments on my last post – they were much appreciated.

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