Wednesday, 29 April 2009

My Little Garden

Just thought i'd share a few pics of our little garden. The poor shed needs a bit of work, a lick of paint and the windows need the cobwebs cleaning off them we are waiting for some nicer weather, well that's what we keep saying! Everything is so green and full of life today after all the rain we have had.

The gate at the top of the garden is what I loved when we looked at this house, the plants were tidier then and it was like something out of The Secret Garden, the Robin often perches in the fancywork near the top of the gate, it's like the perfect Christmas Card! My picture doesn't do it justice (and I had to crop the bins out!).

The neighbours garden is a little wild and the birds love it, I love the view as I look out the window, everything quite unkempt instead of neat borders and flowerbeds. I'm trying to figure out where I can plant a couple of
Buddleia bushes to help attract the butterflies, which at the moment just fly right over. There is room in the garden at the front and I am thinking of half way down the flower bed to the right of the back garden. There is space in there somewhere!

We used to get an amazing amount of butterflies on them at our previous house, something i'd like to recreate.

These are some from 2006, the Buddleia at it's best!

There have been two Great Tits in the garden for the past couple of days, we haven't had any around for a few weeks, so I was very pleased to see them back again. I've given the feeders a good clean out this evening. A couple of Starling's and of course our little Robin have visited but I think I must have scared the rest off!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Steady few days

This is the best shot I could get of the Greenfinch that visited the feeders last week. It's not too bad I guess! Unfortunately haven't seen the Greenfinch since, of course I don't watch the feeders the whole day so it could have been around.

The Goldfinch are here every day still, 3 or 4 at a time still squabbling over the food even though there is plenty. The little Robin practically lives in the garden at the moment, along with two Starlings that I think are nesting somewhere in the eaves of our house. One has something wrong with its foot and has trouble hanging on to the seed tray, which produces some interesting acrobatics, he does manage in the end though.

The pair of Mistle Thrush have been back again a few times, a Starling chased one out of the tree earlier and it sat on the washing line - i'm just hoping that it hasn't pooped on hubbys dressing gown! There have also been a pair of Blue Tits coming in for a few peanuts too. We have been able to have the patio doors open with the gorgeous weather and have had a great view of the birds. I can even manage to get my little one to sit quietly with me in the door way to watch the birds for a while too.
Our Woodpigeon is getting used to us and gets quite close to the house and sits on the patio table. He sometimes has a mate too. The Collared Doves are back to being a pair again and keep chasing off a third one that trys to come in for food. One of the Doves has a bit of a running battle with a Magpie too, which usually ends up with feathers flying as they chase each other about. As i've been typing there has been a pair of Dunnocks hopping round the garden too.

We headed out to visit friends this afternoon and the weather stayed nice despite the rain forecast. I did spot a Lapwing on the way along with the
usual Crow's, Jackdaws and Rooks. I saw a few Swallows, a Chaffinch and a duck that was too far away to ID but no doubt a Mallard. We went searching for the The Heronry and Waterton Countryside Discovery Centre on the way home and found it and had a quick look to see what it was like, we didn't have time to walk anywhere today. As long as the weather is good we shall be back next weekend to explore with a visit to Rodley Nature Reserve too. Fingers crossed for the weather!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Garden Watching

Had an unexpected day off yesterday due to illness. It made for a nice day watching the feeders in the garden. First up were 5 Goldfinch taking turns on the nyjer seed. A Robin on the seed tray and a Woodpigeon eating what was being dropped at the bottom, just lovely to watch.

It turned out to be a busy day for the birds. The Woodpigeon got quite brave and came and sat on the patio table for a while, which gave me a great view of it's gorgeous colours, certainly not 'just' a pigeon as i've had a few people say, the pink on it's chest it's just the prettiest of colours if you have the time to check it out.

During the day I watched several species fly in and out - Blue Tit, several Starlings, Collared Doves (the one has become two again), Dunnock (another gorgeously feathered bird often missed), Magpie - squabbling with the Dove again, 2 Blackbirds, the Goldfinch and Robin came back to the feeders regularly. By the end of the day the Woodpigeon appeared to have a friend too.

My favourite of the day was the Mistle Thrush that visited for a good ten minutes and hopped all over the grass eating dropped seed. There has been a Mistle Thrush that has visited less than half a dozen times this year so certainly not a regular but it's the longest its stayed yet.

So despite feeling ill it was a good day for the birds!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Our Weekend

We have some new flowers blooming in the garden now, they are a glorious red and I have no idea what they are called! The Grape Hyacinth are just starting to die off a little but colour is still vibrant. There have been a lot of bees about especially on our Clematis and the neighbours tree which has lots of pink flowers and overhangs into our garden.

Up until today I have only seen one butterfly this year - a peacock about three weeks ago. Today i've seen 3 Small White's, a Peacock and a small blue butterfly, which may be a Common Blue but further research is needed on that, there is a place that I see them often in the summer so i'll try and figure out if that's what they are. Not that many butterflies but it's early still.

It's been quiet in my garden over this weekend, though I have been out and about a fair bit so haven't had chance to watch the feeders that much. The Robin was sat on a chair right outside the patio doors this morning, it's getting braver by the day! The Woodpigeon has been stuffing himself on suet pellets, i'm sure if he eats much more he will explode. Two Goldfinch have been on the nyger seed feeder frequently, a Blue Tit flies in for a peanut or two and the Starlings have been dodging next doors cat to dive in for food! Whilst out in a local park we saw 3 Song Thrush, who must be quite used to people as we got fairly close and got a good looked at their markings.

So not the most exciting of wildlife weekends but they can't all be as exciting as Bempton in the fog :-)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Great garden day!

I thought I would add a few photos of the flowers in my garden, it was already pretty well established when we moved in about 18 months ago and I have to say I don't know what all of them are! It helps with the setting I guess, it's where I see most of my birds and of course the plants don't fly off when I go for a close up with my snappy camera :-) !! This first one is the clematis which has gone wild the past week and really needs a bit of work on it.

Just a note on the birds we've had today as it's been a good day. There were 5 Goldfinch on our feeder this evening, the most i've seen in a while. They had to share it earlier in the day when we had 2 male Greenfinch on the feeders too, i've never seen them on the feeders, in fact only seen them fly around the gardens maybe 3 or 4 times. So I was quite pleased with spotting those. The Robin has been here most of the day, along with a second briefly at lunchtime, a Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Several Starlings, Magpie, Blackbirds and House Sparrows. So a very good day off and when I figure out how to sort out the video camera footage onto here i'll put up some of the shots i've got of the Greenfinch.

These are Primula, there are a few of these in various colours around our front garden and bright pink ones in the hanging basket.

This is the centerpiece of the garden at the front, pretty much looks after itself - I like that!

Not one of my favourite flowers but it does bring some nice colour.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A Typical Day

My husband gets up around 5am and the birds are singing loudly even at this time. By the time I get up they are flitting around the gardens and on our feeders. My daughter and I spend our breakfast time watching them through the patio doors. At 3 yrs old she already recognises most of the birds we see.

This morning we saw several noisy Starlings, they love the suet pellets and fat balls. A Robin flew in and hopped on and off the seed tray a few times before having a look to see what had fallen to the floor. A male Blackbird was already sat at the bottom of the feeders eating anything that he could! There were 3 or 4 House Sparrows flying back and forth from the bushes onto our neighbours seed feeders, they clean them out daily! Last of all I spotted a Dunnock on the bird table, these are beautiful little birds, ours usually turn up in a pair at the moment. A fairly quiet morning today.

On the way out to work a bit further down our street there was a lone Pied Wagtail sat preening on top of an office building. The crows nesting in the trees just passed here were in full loud voice this morning. You can't miss them! That's all for now, will post when I get home and see what other birds we have visiting.

It turned out to be a quiet evening, the birds must have turned in early! A Blue Tit flew in a couple of times for some peanuts. There were a couple of Goldfinch in the trees but they didn't make it on to the feeder. The Robin hung around nearly all evening, it has a white spot near it's tail so easy to recognise. Two Collared Doves were doing what nature intends in the tree at the top of the garden! A Woodpigeon managed to balance on the seed tray on the feeder pole, they love the suet pellets and nuts too, he is huge and causes a tidal wave in the water dish when he takes off. 3 male Blackbirds and 1 female showed up too, the female found a worm an devoured that in a flash. Still nice to watch the goings on, the neighbours cat showed up then and no more birds.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

We headed out on Easter Monday to Bempton Cliffs, gorgeous weather as we left Leeds but as we got closer to Bempton the fog rolled in and stayed the whole day! Luckily the cliffs weren't completely covered but we couldn't see the sea at the bottom!

The reserve staff were all friendly and helpful and told us where to look for Puffins. So off we went, it wasn't cold just dull. We managed to spot Gannets and Guillemots. I checked with a volunteer on some of the ID's and discovered that we were also looking at Kittiwake and Fulmars. I couldn't tell which were Razorbills till I checked the photos later and spotted two amongst the Guillemots. We saw a few Puffin including two just underneath one of the viewpoints, which are just the oddest but amazing birds!

I had been hearing birdsong all the while we had been walking but the birds were a blur in the fog. Finally got a good look at them and discovered they were Meadow Pipits, another first for me. We were there about three hours including a break for lunch (we took a picnic). We had my little one, she's 3 and my 2 stepsons, 13 & 14 and everybody enjoyed the day despite the fog. I'm slowly turning hubby into a birder too, he can't wait to go back on a clear day either!

There's not many places you can go and get 7 lifers in one go, it was a very cool day. Really looking forward to going back and seeing it all without the fog.

The two top birds are Razorbills and the bottom ones are Guillemots. (My camera is just a point and click, trying to save for a better one but it's not in the near future)

You can just about see the Gannets at the bottom through the fog, the others are Kittiwakes.

Spotted a few of these caterpillars but not sure what they will turn into! Any suggestions?


First Post

Well, have decided to take the plunge with a blog after enjoying so many others. Not sure yet quite what i'll be blogging about though I think it will be in the direction of the birding, which is becoming so much more a part of my life than ever before.

I've been interested in birding since I was a kid, my parents took us out on long walks in the local countryside and always tried to teach us about what we were seeing. I spotted a Redwing in a neighbours garden when I was around 10 and became hooked. I've always paid attention to whats around me but life took over and I didn't persue it as much as i'd like. I did always take my bird guide on long journeys and when i've been abroad i've always bought a local bird guide but didn't actively go looking. Now it's become, amongst my many other interests, quite absorbing!

So maybe that's what i'll blog about. Short of time for now but I think I will post about our trip to Bempton Cliffs.