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    Originally posted by Paul Cobb View Post
    Cheer up, Ivy, it'll soon be Spring!

    Around our front and rear gardens, the foxes are active, regular visits from the local robin, and the birds have been relying on my throwing out bread, bacon rind etc from the kitchen window all through the recent snow, ice and storm!
    You're right, Paul. After posting the arum picture above I went round to put some vegetable peelings in the compost bin and - guess what - I heard the great tit doing its two-note spring song. (See my scraperboard at #152). AB's plumage is gleaming and in fact he was having an altercation on the bird-table yesterday with a female blackbird, a right royal tussle was going on. She's a bit of a tarter, I've watched her beligerant actions before, and whether they were fighting over the food or whether it was more serious, seasonable ideas beginning to take over, I don't know. But at sultana time AB is still really frightened at something and in the middle of feasting from my hand he will often crouch, look up and make a dash to shelter under a bush. Yesterday it was as aforesaid female flew over.
    Watch this space - will AB regain his dominance and resume his old position as king of the bird-table? Will female succumb to his wooing (if that's what it was yesterday)?
    Ivy

    "To thine own self be true.......
    Thou canst not then be false to any man."

    Comment


      A bit of simultaneous posting going on!
      Yes, but I really must move it, Paul, to somewhere where I can see it either back or front - the latter, perhaps, because my front garden has never quite got it together, somehow. I need to revamp it. At present the arum is round the side, facing the veggie patch and the clothes line posts! Most undignified.
      As to the birds, I don't think they go for the berries, which I believe are poisonous to humans, at least. And fortunately slugs and snails don't go for it, either, probably because the leaves are quite tough.
      Ivy

      "To thine own self be true.......
      Thou canst not then be false to any man."

      Comment


        Originally posted by wherrygirl View Post
        ....Watch this space - will AB regain his dominance and resume his old position as king of the bird-table? Will female succumb to his wooing (if that's what it was yesterday)?
        .... and will AB figure in the "official statistics" during the one-hour Birdwatch this coming weekend!!!!! So exciting!!!

        Comment


          Dear Cecilia, he'll be at my hand, watching me tick.
          Ivy

          "To thine own self be true.......
          Thou canst not then be false to any man."

          Comment


            Don't wish to hijack your own thread, Ivy. My garden is nowhere as near regularly tended as your own and the degree of wildlife visits are less (to my knowledge), but yesterday I dipped the stale bread in pork fat before throwing it out to the feathered visitors and, be it the scent or not, instead of the usual sparrows, blackbirds and wood pigeons, I noticed I had attracted a pair of robins, blue and great tits and (not seen before) a long tailed tit. They seemed to all be after the fatty element.

            Any not consumed by dusk, however, I guess would also attract less favourable critturs.

            Comment


              Hi Paul - back again, good. I like my thread being highjacked, don't worry, all these comments add interest.
              Yes, there is a gang of long-tailed tits in the neighbourhood and as it happens they turned up briefly yesterday dashing around the garden and on the birdtable. I'm hoping they will turn up at the weekend, they visit only occasionally this last 2 or 3 years. I have suet balls hanging up, for all the tits love fat, don't they? But it's strange, and I hope it's not ominous, but there has not been the mad rush to the birdtable all this winter except for the waiting blackbird and doves. Others come, but later in the day, and all the seed is certainly gone by night. Blue tits used to be at the suet balls and the peanuts off and on throughout each day in previous winters as well as summer time, and I do hope that the bad temperatures haven't taken a toll.
              The great tit has begun calling though, so longer days are having some effect. As you said, cheer up Ivy.
              Ivy

              "To thine own self be true.......
              Thou canst not then be false to any man."

              Comment


                Wa -hey!!!! Went down to make a belated cup of coffee and there they were, great tit on the suet balls, blue tit on the peanuts, chaffinch forraging on the plants and the usual "others". They're like me - they come alive when the sun shines as it's doing right now, though bitter cold.
                Reminder to self: MUST NOT COME BACK TO CVF until all my other tasks are done, pressie to post to OZ, 2 cards to post to Oz, overdue emails to send, phone calls to make. OK,OK, my thread so I can go OT if I like.
                Ivy

                "To thine own self be true.......
                Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                Comment


                  31 January 2011

                  Well, the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch was duly done yesterday. As far as I was concerned, nothing exotic appeared, and to my disappointment the beautiful little long-tailed tits chose to be elsewhere. They have been in the locality only for the last 4 or 5 years but I don't know exactly where their home territory is. They just arrive, twittering like mad, flit rapidly around the garden, peck at the suet balls, then do follow-my-leader off to somewhere else. They appeared last Thursday, I think it was, and I did hope they would come yesterday. But though keeping a good look out, I didn't see them. However, maybe someone else who sees them frequently was also doing the Birdwatch. I would like them to have been counted in on someone's list, as they are a relative newcomer to this immediate area and the fact needs to be recorded.
                  Right, here's my tally:
                  Blackbird 2
                  Blue tit 2
                  Chaffinch 1
                  Collared dove 2
                  Dunnock 2
                  Great tit 1
                  House sparrow 3
                  Robin 1
                  Starling 1
                  Woodpigeon 1

                  Yes, I know, not much, is it? But remember, my back Patch is small, see #143/144 and one bird's territory would cover a greater area. So apart from birds such as starlings, sparrows and the long-tailed tits, which move around in packs, individual male birds guard their area jealously and I would not expect to see more than one pair of each species. There may have been other birds round the corner in the veggie Patch, but indoors that is visible only from the bathroom window and I was not going to stand there in the icy blast for an hour just in case an eagle chanced by.
                  What I saw was fairly representative of my daily bird ration, and that's what is wanted. The online form which I used asked for details such as size of garden and type of locality, and what you have by way of pond/shrubs/flowerbeds etc. so all in all everyone's returns will give a good overall picture of the UK's bird scene.
                  Collated results will be available in March and then we shall see what trends are emerging.
                  Last edited by wherrygirl; January 31st, 2011, 23:53. Reason: Added date
                  Ivy

                  "To thine own self be true.......
                  Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                  Comment


                    31 January 2011

                    My toes felt as if they were turning to ice, after a while my ears hurt, but it wasn't until my fingers threatened to stop functioning that I decided to call it a day. There is a pittosporum in the garden - you can see part of it on the left in the snowfall photo - and it is a beautiful sight throughout the winter for its glossy, golden, crinkly-edged leaves positively shine against dull grey skies. But those leaves begin to drop come late spring and seem to continue throughout summer as fresh growth is made, and bad things about it are muttered as I sweep them up and scoop more out of the Puddle. Also it needs continual pruning to keep it within bounds, but instead of producing new growth further back towards its main stems, it makes a cluster of twigs at the cut end. So the inside of the bush is just bare twigs.
                    I fought a battle with myself, but in the end decided It Had To Go. A faint gleam of sun caught it just after lunch, but I hardened my heart and acknowledged the gleam as inspiration to get going. Most of the slender twigs are now in the wheely bin. Next step will be the branch pruners to deal with the tougher bits, then see if I can get the root out.
                    Already, a group of daffodil shoots about 6 inches high are seeing daylight, and elsewhere in the garden were these, still in bud, but they'll be open wide any day. There should be many more in the front garden but only one or two have braved it so far. Seing this bunch really made me feel "We're off, things are starting".

                    Winter aconite
                    Ivy

                    "To thine own self be true.......
                    Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                    Comment


                      The Aconite looks intriguing.

                      Considered the wird watch, but it wouldn't have gone down well with the family to have just spent an hour peering from the kitchen window.

                      Based on the past weeks, the list is likely to have consisted of

                      2 robins,
                      2 long tailed tits
                      Blue and great tits
                      Blackbirds, male and female
                      3 Wood pigeons
                      House sparrows
                      and if I were lucky, a wren.

                      The magpies tend to just fly over, and haven't seen an eagle in our garden for a while!

                      Comment


                        Flowers are really not my thing... .... I know nothing about them, and I constantly manage to kill them in record time if they make it across my doorstep. Either I drown them, or I dry them out.

                        But, your Winter Aconite looks really nice!
                        With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

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                        Comment


                          Originally posted by pakarang View Post
                          Flowers are really not my thing... .... I know nothing about them, and I constantly manage to kill them in record time if they make it across my doorstep. Either I drown them, or I dry them out.

                          But, your Winter Aconite looks really nice!
                          This could be part of the problem. Flowers are meant to be in the ground outside...not crossing your doorstep...........

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by Paul Cobb View Post
                            The Aconite looks intriguing.

                            Considered the wird watch, but it wouldn't have gone down well with the family to have just spent an hour peering from the kitchen window.

                            Based on the past weeks, the list is likely to have consisted of

                            2 robins,
                            2 long tailed tits
                            Blue and great tits
                            Blackbirds, male and female
                            3 Wood pigeons
                            House sparrows
                            and if I were lucky, a wren.

                            The magpies tend to just fly over, and haven't seen an eagle in our garden for a while!
                            Your sample seems about the same as mine, Paul. There are wrens locally but they chose to skulk about in someone else's garden during the time I was watching. I do see them much more come nesting time.

                            Originally posted by pakarang View Post
                            Flowers are really not my thing... .... I know nothing about them, and I constantly manage to kill them in record time if they make it across my doorstep. Either I drown them, or I dry them out.
                            Don't really know what to do with this chap. Gets the heebie-jeebies at crawling things, kills off the plants......

                            Originally posted by ehp View Post
                            This could be part of the problem. Flowers are meant to be in the ground outside...not crossing your doorstep...........
                            Oh E.! I like it.
                            Ivy

                            "To thine own self be true.......
                            Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                            Comment


                              While taking the photos for her Trondheim thread, Seagull had a "saw this and thought of you" moment. I had been wandering along in her footsteps exploring the city but had not yet caught up with what she had seen. Then Seagull mentioned the special picture in another thread and on quickly going to find it I was enchanted, and touched by her thoughtfulness. I have been given permission to persuade the little gardener over to England, and here she is.



                              Welcome to my Patch, little friend from Trondheim, and thank you Cecilia.
                              Last edited by wherrygirl; February 18th, 2011, 11:50. Reason: Added link
                              Ivy

                              "To thine own self be true.......
                              Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                              Comment


                                13 April 2011

                                Haven't had much heart for posting spring pics., even though that season does at last seem to be on its way. But last November I lost a friend, she was very elderly, very frail and very dear. We were both bird and garden people, regailing each other with our latest news on both and, each time I went to see her, we would inspect her pocket handkerchief of a garden delighting in the progress or worrying over the non-appearance of the plants, each of which we knew individually.
                                That day I called in to see her, and eventually found her upstairs, badly injured after a fall. She died in hospital that night. Now I find myself wondering if her dark blue agapanthus is poking through the soil in its pot, is the blue-tit nesting as usual? Automatically I half form a mental note to "tell Constance...." Then I tell myself not to be so %$£^&*%£ stupid, to snap out of it, these things happen. Sorry folks.

                                So, in defiance, the following is a photo taken last year, on the 18 March to be precise, of a patch of the beautiful little species crocus in the back garden. Why last year?? Well, this year was a disaster. As soon as the buds appeared I looked forward to taking a snap of a choice group the moment they opened fully, but before that came the strong winds, came the pelting rain and went the fragile-stalked little crocuses, flat on the ground. They seed themselves everywhere, so much so that I am reduced to actually prizing them out from the cracks in the crazy paving and from the middle of the houseleeks, etc. But they are so cheering to see early in the year and I must admit that, even in the wrong positions, they do fill the front garden strip with a delightful spattering of star-blossoms.
                                That's when they can stand up.
                                So, not to be denied a token showing, here they are:




                                Now this one is a genuine 2011 daffodil, my goodness - they have excelled themselves everywhere this year and my lot have never had so many large exultant blooms. They are an old variety - King Alfred - though I think it is still available. Gorgeous.


                                The species tulips have been very good, too, will post later.
                                Ivy

                                "To thine own self be true.......
                                Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                                Comment

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