Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Moving on...

The daffodils in my garden are still giving a good show of colour but soon they will fade away. Other fancier varieties and the paper whites are now coming into flower and the fritillaries won’t be far behind. We had sleet and snow over the weekend so I didn’t get as much gardening done as I would have liked.

As I retreated into the house for shelter the birds appeared at speed to the feeders from their hidden positions of shelter. I have noticed that in cold and wet days the feeders are much busier. Between showers the sun came out again allowing brief photo opportunities.


This female chaffinch caught my eye. I haven’t noticed the female birds collecting material for building nests from my garden, so far, but I’m sure they must be doing it. They will need all the energy they can get from food now as they will be building nests and producing eggs soon.


If you are wondering about the female blue tit that has been trying to decide which nestbox to use the photo above probably gives you a clue. Last night she had her first sleep-over in our Camera Nestbox so it now looks like this is the one she will use. I am trying not to be too happy about this in case she changes her mind! I will post some more photos and video over the weekend to let you see her progress.


As the nest in our Nestbox moves on, slowly, the plants are picking up speed. I spotted a couple of bergenia flowers and the buds are increasing in size on the trees. I also noticed aquilegia foliage looking very fresh and pale yellow primrose flowers tucked in dark corners are beginning to emerge too. I love primroses.

I also love alliums and you can see the growth that allium globemaster has put on in the pots I have started them off in. I must decide soon where I will plant them!

The smaller photo in the middle above shows the tiny blue clusters of flowers on Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’. Now this plant is new to me having bought it last summer with beautiful large leaves. I am guessing it has a lot of growing to do yet. It was a lovely surprise to see tiptoeing between the tulips!


Walking around my garden with the camera at the weekend I was surprised to what looked like tiny apples tucked in my acuba shrub. I have never noticed them on previous years. They aren’t apples of course but berries however, there are only a few and they do look strange. I had been noticing the red bracts coming on the pieris bushes which I also love to see and then the blossom that will follow. But I have to end this selection of flowers with the drumstick primulas which are giving the deepest colour in the garden at the moment.


Sadly it looks like a few birds have now moved on from my garden. Recently I haven’t noticed visits from the blackcap, long-tailed tit or our most unusual visitor the leucistic siskin. They all added different characters to the mix of birds that visit. I will keep an eye out to see if I see them from my window.


Finally, the photo above was taken through a window, by one of my daughters, whilst I was driving. The schools are off at the moment and I have been out and about with them - hence fewer posts and comments this last week or so.

We were heading home from a part of Perthshire that I grew up in. I was searching for red squirrels in an area where I saw them as a child. We did find them but I was just not close or quick enough to get any photos – except one that shows a tail disappearing. Ah well… at least we saw them and I will try to get photos again.

Oh yes... the hedgehogs! I do believe there are two visiting now and one is smaller. I am very much hoping the smaller one is the juvenile that I was worried about last autumn. I will try and get photos and video soon but they are tricky to see.

The photos above were all taken in my garden over the weekend April 5th-6th 2008 except from the last photo which was taken on April 3rd 2008 on the old A9 joining the new A9 heading South after Blair Atholl.

16 comments:

Jane said...

Your garden looks lovely Shirl. Makes me realise how much more advanced mine is though. All the camelias are nearly over, the magnolia is out in full bloom, and the azaleas are coming out. Daffs are all over, tulips out, even noticed a cowslip in my wild meadow (bit of grass at the bottom of the garden!). Pieris shoots are about a foot long, and the flowers are out. The roses are shooting, and the wild violets are out.

Fingers crossed for your blue tit. (not going to say anything else, in case I jinx it).

Keep warm!

Jane

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your garden is really coming alive Shirl. I can't wait to start seeing some of your hedgehog reports. They are such sweet little critters.

Frances, said...

Oh hooray that maybe the blue tit chose the camera nest box, maybe. I too would love to see more hedgehog action. It is hard to believe you are still in danger of snow falling. Hope spring comes and stays for you, unlike some of the feathered friends.
Frances at Faire Garden

jodi said...

Such a nice post, Shirl--lovely to see the birds, the blooms, and a wider glimpse of the world you live in.

A wildlife gardener said...

Well it looks like you might be having blue tits nesting...fingers crossed :)

Your lovely spring collection of daffodils, drumsticks, bergenia and the red bracts on the pieris show your temperatures are much warmer than ours. I think I may have daffodils blooming soon, perhaps in two weeks time :)

I enjoyed your April Fool's joke. how wonderful to receive a new outside weatherproof camera. It was a perfect birthday present. A belated happy birthday, Shirl. Mine followed yours on the third...something else we have in common :)

I was intrigued by the information on the Mouse Trowel Awards, about which I knew nothing...and added your blog to a few of the categories :)

Lastly, and, very importantly, I have a surprise for you on my latest post...perhaps you can already guess?

Barbara said...

I see some plants you have which are in our garden too. Good picture of the bluetit, I'll also cross my fingers for it. Maybe you'll have a whole family then :-) !!
Have a good time!
Barbara

shirl said...

Hi again Jane, Lisa, Frances, Jodi, Wildlife Gardener and Barbara :-)

Jane – Thank-you, yes even in areas around me in Scotland there are differences in the growth of plants. I always think as a rule of thumb we are two weeks behind the South of England but you are very far south so it maybe even more than that. It is looking promising for a nest in the camera box at the moment so we shall see where it goes from now. Fingers are definitely crossed here too. We have had more hail stones this afternoon so that’s the nest building stopped again. Hopefully in the next few days it will get warmer again :-D

Frances – It is looking good for the nest in the camera box. We just need the hail stones to keep away and the temps to get warmer again. We can sometimes get snow in April but where I am it usually doesn’t get too bad at this time of year. I think it is to get warmer in a few days. Yes, I am trying to track the routes of the hedgehog at night so I know where to set my camera up. Last night I’m sure I saw the juvenile but it missed the feeding station completely. I now know where it is looking for food so I will leave some there tonight. The bigger hedgehog is regularly using the feeding station now. The birds do move on as you know but I have enough in the garden to watch at the moment so that’s okay :-D

Jodi – Thank-you! I haven’t forgotten about a post showing my part of Scotland I will do it yet. I have been out trying to get some photos. Hope the temps are getting warmer for you in Nova Scotia :-D

Wildlife Gardener – Yes, it definitely looks promising in the Nestbox now. Still early days though. Yes, I mentioned to Jane, above, that different areas of Scotland are ahead of others in the seasons of plants and wildlife. Thank-you for the birthday wishes – I just thought I’d play on the fun of it. Wishing you a belated Happy Birthday too! I too knew nothing about the awards except for the shields on some blogs and it being mentioned. That’s why I decided to post on them definitely not with the intention of looking for votes as I am sure you would know. Thank-you for nominating my blog that is quite unexpected when there are so many excellent garden blogs out there. Ah… my surprise!! I was hoping that was what I would see. Glad you got that finally sorted thanks in the end to Jamie :-D

Barbara – It is always interesting to hear what plants you grow in your garden in Switzerland especially when we share many. Yes, I was lucky with the blue tit photo as they don’t hang around for long. Thank-you we definitely need as many fingers crossed as we can to see young chicks grow and fledge. Enjoy the rest of your week :-D

Cheryl said...

Lovely post. The birds do not appear to be nest building here either. The weather has not helped here. The massive drop of temperature at night has caused lots of problems to plants and wildlife.
My pieris looked like yours three days ago. The red is now a dirty brown. Lots of frost damage.

Love your long tailed tits, they are just pretty little birds.

Border Reiver said...

Lets hope the Blue Tit stays, will look forward to the regular reports...and the Brunnera, like you thought about one for my garden, but soil isn't right, I've got a bit of a soft spot for unshowy plants. Shame your Siskin has flown, that was exciting, almost as much as seeing the A9, a few years now since I've been up there.

shirl said...

Hi again Cheryl and Border:-)

Cheryl – Thank-you. I do think the colder weather has made a difference to the nesting birds. Sorry about the frost damage to your pieris. Funnily enough we haven’t had as much frost or such hard frosts this winter. However, I am surprised we have had so many hail stone showers recently. Yes, the long-tailed tits were lovely to see – I had never seen them before :-D

Border – It is looking more and more hopeful for the blue tits and I will have more reports soon – don’t want to tempt fate yet. Oh… the leaves on that brunnera are fantastic with such beautiful veins. I am a foliage person myself – flowers are a bonus although now with more butterflies visiting the garden I am considering flowers for them. Yes the siskin, ah well it was great to see and quite a stir it caused. I’m getting more greenfinches now so perhaps many siskins have moved on as I’m only seeing a few now. Ah… the A9. I grew up in houses on that road - all in Blair Atholl. The first was the Back Lodge to Blair Castle when my grandparents lived in the Front Lodge. The photo from the car was completely unplanned. My daughter was playing around with it taking whacky shots of signs etc. How fortunate it brought back memories for you too :-D

Miranda Bell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miranda Bell said...

Hi Shirl - if you ever end up on the small loch road between Aberfeldy and Killin you usually see red squirels along there or you used to... it's a wonderful spot anyway!

Miranda

Mel said...

BEAUTIFUL!!
I loooove your garden!!

shirl said...

Hi again Miranda and Mel :-)

Miranda – Thanks, I will remember that. On this trip I wanted to see if I could see the red squirrel on a very short piece of road (no more than half a mile) where I first ever saw it. I was amazed that it was still on there and that I saw quite a few sightings! I am now very much looking to capture photos or video so I will bear your location in mind. I am sure I will have been on that road at some point – thanks-you :-D

Mel – How kind!! My garden is really quite ordinary – the only difference now is that I am looking to see what is going on it as much as gardening in it :-D

The Black Rabbit said...

Great stuff Shirl!
Well done on the Blue Tits!
(PHHHEEEWWWW!).
I'll keep my eye on Shirls Garden Watch for my (sadly lacking) Blue Tit action this season!
Brilliant!
Doug.

shirl said...

Hi there Doug, I was hoping that your Nestbox would eventually get some action too :-(

I am thrilled that it looks like we have blue tits using our Camera box. The male still occasionally goes to the Arch box but he has also been seen inside the camera one too appearing to inspect it. I will post on what’s been going on soon but as the female keeps emptying the box I am waiting until I have some more positive progress to report on. We had exactly the same last year with a thick layer of moss being completely emptied out. What hard work she is making of it!!