Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

No dreamin’… we will have a white Christmas. At -12C (10F) at 6.30am it’s a pretty chilly Christmas Eve morning too. Not a morning for standing still too long in the garden! Nope… coats, hats, gloves and scarves may not be enough to keep warm today. How about a party?


Click on the image above to enlarge it. This is a scanned copy (with added copyright notice) from a Christmas card I sent out this year. I found it fun… the queuing and stand-offs are pretty accurate too. It made me smile.

Our snow has been with us for a week now whilst areas just a few miles North and South of us have been clear. It’s always weird when that happens. As the News now reports, snow and ice is widespread throughout Scotland and the UK. Driving conditions are dangerous especially with the low temperatures.

Just under 14cm (5 1/2 inches) read my ruler pushed into the snow on top of my outside table. For visitors outside the UK, this is a good snowfall for here although by no means the most we have had. I spent a few hours yesterday clearing our front drive. Snow was up over my step and had come up my door. I know this is nothing compared with other countries like the US and Canada… but I’m not in the Highlands of Scotland.

The photos below were taken yesterday in my garden just before dusk. We had a little more snowfall overnight but my garden looks pretty much like this still… except the bird feeders are almost empty! I’ll fill them up shortly.

Okay… enough snow chat… everyone is busy today! I’m heading out shortly myself (walking). Do take care if you are out and about too.


Queues for the fatcake…
the Robin has now discovered it!


The fatcake feeder is in the distance.
Birds fly back and forth frantically between there
and to where I stood taking this photo.


There are two pine trees in this area the one with a feeder and silver baubles
is outside my window. You can see the arch with more feeders
and the bird table roof tucked behind snow laden bamboo branches.
Spot the mature tree in the distance catching the last rays of evening sun.




No snow on the branches of my small magnolia.
Birds use it as an approach to the ground feeders.
Many birds sit quietly and queue from here.


Starlings don’t wait!


Blackbirds assess the situation first.
Male Blackbirds are fighting quite a bit. Twelve have been seen at the same time…
and that is just the ones I can see in the morning light.


There are a few female Blackbirds too. I can hear what this one is thinking…
whose idea was it to put the apple in the freezer?


Mr & Mrs Chaffinch having a quite Christmas drink…
from the snowflakes on the pine tree in front of my hedge.
This tree was only moved here a few months ago
and is very popular as a queuing spot for the feeders.


Goldfinches also queue here.


Blue tits will use both pine trees but favour the one that is outside my window.
This one is opposite my camera nestbox. There are still daytime squabbles with it.


Even pine tree branches bend with the weight of snow.
I’ve enjoyed seeing the baubles on this living Christmas tree.


Even the popular ‘smiler’ snowman is bent over with the weight of snowfall.
You’d never know a small pond was behind it now. Note the igloo on the right.
This was an experiment to find a way for the ground feeding birds
to find food in the snow. It’s an unused fruit basket with a large handle
on its side and I built up snow around it. It is working okay.


Finally, a bit of tradition in many houses here…
displaying Christmas Cards along staircases.
I like walking past mine.

Whatever traditions you follow at Christmas and however you celebrate it I’d like to wish you a good one! I hope its all you’d like it to be :-D


Update 2pm: Having lunch, looking out the window and guess who came to join me? I’m thrilled to catch my first glimpses of the Long-tailed tits returning (buzzing) through my garden.






I’ve been watching for both them and the Blackcap that can appear at this time of year too. Don’t know how many Long-tailed tits are in the group. At a guess at least five… they spread themselves around three feeders so are difficult to count.

It’s going to be hard… but I must pull myself away from the window and put my camera away in its bag so I won’t be tempted to use it for the next couple of hours!! Okay... let’s be realistic… I’ll just go and busy myself in another room. Perhaps I should put a Christmas CD on and then I’ll get through my jobs quicker ;-)


All snow photos except the long-tailed tits were taken in my garden on December 23rd. If you click on them they will enlarge.

27 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Shirl, any one of these beautiful photos could be your christmas card next year. Beautiful scenery. I hope you and yours have a healthy fun Christmas. Cheers.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

I was wondering how you were getting on when I was watching the weather forecast!

Beautiful images Shirl.
I wish you and your family a very happy, peaceful and warm Christmas
K
xx

Midmarsh John said...

A lovely set of snow scenes Shirl. At last ours is beginning to fade away though it will take a while for the compacted snow to go. Great idea with the igloo.

I thought having five Blackbirds was enough so I can imagine the amount of chasing going on with all those you have visiting.

What a lovely RSPB card. I love those pictures where I have to keep looking in case I missed any of the action.

Much as I did not enjoy having to give a blood sample this morning at least I don't have to go anywhere near shops today ;)

Best wishes to you all.

The Early Birder said...

Lovely Christmasy scenery shirl. No snow here so will have to be content with pictures on cards!

Have a splendid Christmas.

Frank & Anita.

Gail said...

Shirl, It's a beautiful wonderland in your part of the world! Gorgeous photos! Happiest of holidays to you, your family and the critters who live and visit your garden~~gail

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Wonderful photos as always, Shirl. I hope that this Christmas season is one of peace, joy and delight for you and yours (and the birds). See you in 2010.

shirl said...

Merry Christmas Lisa, Karen, John, Frank & Anita and Gail :-)

Lisa, Thank-you, it is lovely to see the birds visit when the garden is like this. Thanks for your good wishes too. Wishing you and your family and great Christmas too :-D

Karen, I was wondering about you in Wales too. I love your Christmas letter… must pop by and read it later. Thank-you, wishing you too a great Christmas :-D

John, Thank-you, I’ve another few for you now too. The LTT’s arrived a few hours later. Well, the first time I’ve spotted them fly quickly through anyway. You’ll know how fast their visits are. I thought you’d like that card. I wanted to include it so I can look back on it too. Oh dear, how your test is fine. Yep… prob and good idea to avoid the shops. Thank-you, sending best wishes to you and Bobby :-D

Frank & Anita, thank-you, we really didn’t expect to be still seeing it and the snow flurries continuing. I can tell you that my daughters always wish for a white Christmas but now (as we’re not getting out) they feel enough is enough! Thank-you, wishing you a splendid Christmas too :-D

Gail, yes, the snow does transform the ordinary into beautiful… for so long anyway. Thank-you, wishing you a Happy Holiday too with all dear to you :-D

shirl said...

Merry Christmas Jodi, thank-you. I could sit at the window taking photos all day at the moment!

Thank-you for your kind wishes, wishing you peace and happiness too. Look forward to 2010, hope you are too :-D

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

It's a great card, and the pictures are oh so wintery! We are going to have a very green Christmas here in the Pacific Northwest. Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New year!

VP said...

Our snow's started to melt :(

Have a wonderful (and warm) Christmas!

Anna said...

Lovely photos Shirl. Hope that you, your family and all the birds in your garden have a great Christmas!

easygardener said...

The snow here has brought more birds into the garden than usual including 4 squabbling Robins and 10 chattering Long Tailed Tits squashed into the fat feeder cage. A joy to watch.
Have a great Christmas and New Year.

Magic Cochin said...

Merry Christmas Shirl!

Lovely birds and snow - delightful as ever!

After some very snowy and very cold days (-5C all yesterday) it's now milder and the snow is disappearing fast.

Best wishes for 2010
Celia

Juliet said...

Thanks for calling in today, Shirl - and a happy Christmas to you too!

I haven't had the time to keep up with reading many blogs lately so I have quite a few posts to catch up with over here, sorry - hopefully I will have some more time over Christmas so I'll try to call back in the next few days.

I love the photo of the tree catching the light in today's post :)

leavesnbloom said...

Merry Christmas Shirl and I hope that you and your family have a wonderful "Christmas to remember"

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

Now that's what I like to see for Christmas...happy birds in the snow.
Just perfect !
Love the card you sent out to everyone.
Best wishes.
hugs,Patsi

Chookie said...

Merry Christmas, Shirl -- wow, a white one. They don't happen here! Best wishes to you and your family (including the feathered and furred ones)

Rothschild Orchid said...

Merry Christmas Shirl xxx

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Merry Christmas & Happy Boxing Day, Shirl! Your garden looks lovely in the snow.

shirl said...

Hi there Tatyana, thank-you! Sending all our best wishes to you in the greens of the Pacific.

Funnily enough this is not a usual scene of white for our garden. Often we get snow flurries before Christmas but it doesn’t really hang around but more often than not it is February/beg March we get it return and stay a little while.

shirl said...

Hi there VP, Thank-you we did… hope you had a good one too :-D

Sorry to hear you are disappointed to lose your snow… I’d send you some of ours if I could. You get too much of a good thing! We’ve been getting stir crazy here. We went out yesterday to our nearest town where the roads and car parks were horrendous. After seeing the queuing aftermath of a road accident on our return road, then some time later joining it ourselves, we won’t be going out much until this snow recedes.

We just need the temps to stay above freezing. We were driving in minus 7 deg C. As light comes up now I can see the garden still frozen over… at least we had no new snowfall overnight… that’s a bonus :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Anna, Thank-you, We did thanks and the birds have enjoyed quite a few feasts too :-D

Now, sh… don’t tell the birds but we are running out of sunflower hearts and I don’t know if the roads will be safe enough to drive out for some more. Maybe I’ll just have to pick up some seed mixes from our local supermarket :-D

Hi there Denise, yes the snow really does bring in both birds and squabbling inot the garden doesn’t it :-)

Yep… we’ve had three robins but only a fleeting glimpse of a small group of LTT’s. LOL… at them squashing into your feeder cage! Yes, they really are a joy to watch at the moment. It’s the blackbirds that I can see squabbling on the ground outside my window at the moment as I drink my morning cuppa :-)

shirl said...

Hi there Celia, thank-you we did... hope you did too :-)

Thanks, delighted you enjoy seeing my snow, birds and photos. To be honest I’d like a few milder days here too. It was brilliant to see a blue sky for a while yesterday… I’m beginning to miss colours in the garden.

Thank-you, all the best for you and your family for 2010 :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Juliet, you are most welcome! I don’t get blog visiting as much I’d like to but wanted to run by all the blogs that stop by and take the time to leave comments here. I do appreciate them :-D

Now that tree you mention is huge and fortunately far enough away but close enough at the same time so we can admire it catching the many different rays of light on it. I can see birds up there at this time of year too :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Rosie, Thank-you, we did… hope you did too. Stay safe out on the roads… keep warm :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Patsi, yes, the birds have been a joy to watch in the snow although we are getting tired of it now ourselves! The roads aren’t so good to get out and about so we haven’t been visiting as we usually do.

Thanks, I just couldn’t not pick up this card when I saw it then posting it here I’ll be able to see it again too! Thanks, best wishes to you too :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Chookie, RO and MMD :-)

Chookie, Thank-you… yep (for a change) a white one. LOL they don’t always happen here now either… sometimes before and other years after. LOL… now for certainty we won’t be planting tomatoes (like you) on Christmas Day ;-) Thanks, best wishes to you and your family too… not forgetting your wild and domestic creatures! All the best for 2010 :-D

RO, Thanks, we did. Hope yours was good too and wishing you all the best for 2010 :-D

MMD, Oops… well past both Christmas and Boxing Day now. Sorry, slow with replies. It’s a change for you to see my garden in the snow. I always think of your snowy garden at this time of year. Nice to see you children enjoying it too :-D All the best for 2010 :-D