Thursday, 21 March 2019

Redshank and stone skimming

Wading back into blogging with a Redshank and a bit of stone skimming may seem like an odd start. However my blogging mantra has always been to share things new to me that perhaps others might be interested in too and both fit that perfectly.

In the far distance, my camera caught what looked like a wading bird on last week’s trip to Aberdour Beach on the East coast of Scotland. Not being familiar with waterbirds, I turned to a WWT book on watching waterbirds (with Kate Humble & Martin McGill) on my bookshelf for an ID. I discovered the Redshank is a winter visitor to this area. I do like the informal format of chat and images in this book and it is a great stepping stone from garden birds. I really should read it more, before we go on visits.

Closer up, back on Aberdour beach, a serious improvement in stone skimming could be seen by my daughter and husband! They had been inspired by watching the television programme ‘Sink or Skim’ which is still available on BBC i-player for a few more days and really worth checking out especially if you already enjoy stone skimming. Taking a slightly different approach really did make all the difference.

For the serious stone skimmer, did you know there are world championships over on a small island off the west coast of Scotland? We didn't. There are limited places but after watching the television programme, I’d say even just being a spectator would be fun, the atmosphere looked great. The 2019 World Stone Skimming Championships are on Sunday 29 September on Easdale Island, near Oban, Argyll.

“The World Stone Skimming Championships were started in 1983 by Bertie Baker, and then lay fallow until they were resurrected in 1997 by Eilean Eisdeal (The Easdale Island Community Development Group) as a fundraising event. Contestants hail from around the world and the championships now attract over 300 participants and many spectators. Anyone of any age and any level of skill can enter the championships.”
World Stone Skimming Championships, Easdale Island

A video flavour, with great views of this small Scottish island of Easdale, can be seen below. Enjoy!

Video by LoveLiveRun, see more on full channel.

Meanwhile back in the garden, this weekend we hope to have installed a new camera system in our hedgehog feeding station and making a few alterations. We’ve had no hedgehog sightings for 2019 as yet but we’re going to have food waiting to help build their weight up again after their winter hibernation.

The garden is certainly waking up properly now too with weeding and pruning needing attention. The wildlife pond is coming alive again with creatures seen moving around – the ones we are checking nightly for are frogs! We’ve seen one and have fingers crossed more will come and they will spawn. That would be great to see.

What are you hoping to do and see in your garden this weekend? Wishing you a good one and a great 2019 both in the garden and out and about! Happy stone skimming too – it’s great to be outdoors again don’t you think? So good for the soul :-)

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in March 2019.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

#30DaysWild Day 9 - Moth Night, this week

Moths weren’t captured by camera on my first garden wander at 9pm last night. Wild flowers and a snail were. It was a cooler night after some rain breaking through at some point earlier in the evening. I didn’t see how much but looking around the garden I could tell it was a sprinkling. My attempt at filling watering cans from my water butt to top-up my suffering wildlife pond confirmed that.

Moths were on my mind with a second wander just after 10:30pm as it was being to turn dark (although it never gets properly dark at this time of year). I’ve noticed white flowers attract moths, but have seen them resting on ivy leaves too. I went to a border I expected to see them and a couple moved, one briefly in range of a photo. Getting photo captures though, I struggle with that.

There’s something about moths that don’t make me feel completely relaxed. I’d guess their visits indoors buzzing about lights is behind that and I’m not the only one. However, through blogs and twitter I’ve seen fascinating images of quite beautiful moths and I’d love to capture images and identify which ones visit my garden. I just have to not jump holding the camera when they move towards me!

JUN 9: Orange flowers of Foxes & cubs opening & yellow Bird’s-foot-trefoil

JUN 9: Snail tucked away, tucking away on Dog’s tooth violet leaves

JUN 9: Yay… first of Ox-eye daisy flowers open! I love daisy flowers :-)

JUN 9: 10:35pm with outside lighting, the glorious Wisteria flowers :-)

Moths did fly below and towards the Wisteria flowers which was great to see. Ha-ha, they were moving away from me! Anyway, I will continue to take odd evening ventures into the garden to see what visits. Please do share your tips on capturing moth photos from your garden, using moth traps (especially homemade ones) and your moth stories in comments :-)

If you are in the UK and moths are your thing you might be interested in this week’s event, Moth Night 2018 which will be held between 14th - 16th June. They have a theme which is Pyralid Moths and you can take part in day and night events. Some info from their website below. @MothNight on twitter is also a fun way to follow this event, hear stories and see images too.

"Organised by Atropos, Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Moth Night is the annual celebration of moth recording throughout Britain and Ireland by moth recording enthusiasts with local public events aimed at raising awareness of moths among the general public.

Moth Night is normally confined to the warmest months; each event will last for three consecutive nights (Thursday – Saturday) and will take place on different date periods every year. You can participate on any one or more of these days or nights.

Participants are not required to comply with the theme and are encouraged to do their own thing.

In association with the Biological Records Centre at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, we have designed an easy-to-use Indicia-based online recording system available from the first day of the event until the deadline for data entry."
Moth Night, 14th -16th June 2018

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in June 2018.

Friday, 8 June 2018

#30DaysWild Day 8 – Trees, living and dead

Short on time today, but the message for 30 Days Wild is big – plant a tree :-) Living or dead they are winners all round for both us and a variety of wildlife from birds to insects. Here’s a little garden moment from this morning to add to the case.

Newly fledged coat tits excitedly explored the garden early this morning. The light wasn’t good, but above are a few record shots, showing some of the places they stayed still enough to capture. They perched on a branch structure feeding station made from posts with branches from a neighbours felled apple tree. They crossed over to the living pine tree and it looked like they were all at a children’s playground! So lovely to hear them from indoors – what a lovely start to the day for me too.

Early lunchtime and there was a straggler coal tit fledgling spotted perched on a previously living garden Rowan tree. This part of the trunk was planted in a garden border, not to grow, as a perch on route to lower feeders with winter in mind. It works too plus a great spot to capture photos of visiting birds.

Wishing you a great weekend, I wonder if you will see fledging birds or be planting a tree? Do share in a comment :-)

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in June 2018.