Sunday, 15 January 2012

Blooms & Bramblings...

But first…. drum roll please…
and a cake for Carol at May Dreams Gardens to celebrate 5 years of hosting Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day! Thank-you Carol :-)


I don’t imagine for one minute she expected this would still be running with the same enthusiasm from bloggers all around the world. Many from the early days are still sharing their blooms on the 15th of the month – congrats to them too. For newbies just pop over to Carol’s post for this month to read all about it – you might want to join in :-)


Hellebores are my contribution to GBBD tonight (Yay… my roof tiles didn’t fall on them!) Although the two flowers that have opened were weighted down with heavy frost when I went out in the dark tonight to take my photos.

The montage below shows the next hellebore buds ready to burst open. My ceramic bumblebee skelp with leafy bergenia nearby also caught my eye sparkling with frost. I'd love if a queen bee decided to nest in it during 2012.

The main pic in this montage is of a Pieris in a planter near my back door. It was moved there about 6 weeks ago and it has been holding on to the blossom plumes since then. More exposed to the elements, time will tell if it will be happy there. I hope so as I’ve planted over 300 crocus bulbs in this area.




Today’s frost is the coldest we have had in a long time and usually that brings in many birds to the feeders. Mm… they weren’t that busy today.

December 2010 with its prolonged snow and cold spell brought large numbers of birds to the garden feeders. It also saw the first appearance of the Brambling which was wonderful to see. The Bramblings (both males and females) had followed large groups of mixed finches. I hoped we might see it again but without snow I wasn’t looking for it just now.

Friday the 13th wasn’t unlucky in my garden then… to my great surprise a male Brambling visited again! This time on a sunny day. I’ve only noticed the one and no females yet but since then it has become a regular which has delighted me greatly.



Also delighting me have been the Robins visiting just now and a Wren which is becoming a regular at my small rockpool pond. The Wren is becoming quite comfortable with me going out and in my back door too which is brilliant.

Capturing photos and video in this area at this time of year is tricky with low light levels (bit grainy). However, back on Friday the 13th the male Brambling stayed quite a while over lunchtime allowing me time to get my video camera out…




Male Chaffinches were on the feeder behind the Brambling giving a good comparison between it and the Brambling. Other finches that are visiting my garden just now include Goldfinches, Siskins and Greenfinches.

We are also seeing plenty sightings of House sparrows, Blackbirds, Blue tits, Great tits, Coal tits, Dunnocks, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Starlings and Sparrowhawks. The feeders are fun to watch just now.

Now, although the Sparrowhawk visits suggest a healthy bird population I do hope it keeps away during my hour count for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of the month. As well as my request for it not to attend this event I’d like to invite the Wren and Brambling to join my other usual suspects to be included in my count. Yes, I know, wishful thinking :-)

Mmm… the bird population of my garden (and many others too I’ve heard) seem to be wise to this count and make themselves very scarce… I wonder why that is. I’m thinking more feeders get filled and hung up at this time so the birds are either spoilt for choice or suspicious of the increase in food supplies and stay away. What do others think?

Finally, a very happy GBBD to Carol and all the bloggers joining her with posts sharing what’s blooming in the garden on the 15th of the month - albeit belated wishes here in the UK as I post past midnight. Yawn… time to select publish post I think :-)


This post was written by Shirley at shirls gardenwatch in January 2012.

8 comments:

Rohrerbot said...

Love the video! Blogging is a lot of fun. Sometimes it's hard to focus because there's so much to share:)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You set off my sweet tooth with that cake. Yummmm. Love your garden shots too. My hellebores look much like this right now. COLD. Happy GBBD.

Randy Emmitt said...

Shirl,

5 years is something to celebrate, we are approaching 3 years soon. Can't wait to see all those crocus you planted. Nice bird list at the feeders.

Alison said...

When I did the Big Garden Bird Watch on the Sunday at our old house last year, not many birds attended. Strangely, on the Saturday there were loads around including a Jay and a Wren - never to be seen in the garden again!

Janet said...

The saying "Early bird catches the worm" springs to mind but in your case, Shirley we'll have to change it to the late bird. Lovely video. Interesting bird feeders with a saucer like base.I notice some of the birds have difficulty landing on our feeders. Will have to sort that. Don't they all love the sunflower seeds!

Anna said...

I am sure that those hellebores will put on an extra special show this year Shirl, in recognition of having avoided such calamity. It's amazing how resilient they are and how quickly the flowers perk up after a cold snap. What a special visitor ~ hope that he has female company before long.

Christina said...

Great video. i passed on the link to my MIL, I hope she might join in. Happy New Year, Christina

shirl said...

Hello again everyone, thanks for all your comments :-)

Roherbot, making the videos is great fun – delighted you liked it. You have some great bird pics there on your blog :-)

Lisa, lol… shame you can’t taste it. Missing you on Greenbow just now but loving your artworks on your other blog Artsy Endeavors . I love seeing your sketchbook pages together with notes in your handwriting :-)

Randy, time does fly by doesn’t it? I can’t wait to see the crocus planting either – this planting has a sentimental value behind it too. It’s great to see so many bird species at this time of year isn’t it – enjoy yours :-)

Alison, yes, bird absences during the bird count are mentioned by others too. It’s a shame our counts don’t truly reflect the birds that visit our gardens but then if a Sparrowhawk calls in our ‘counting hour’ it’s all over anyway. Collectively 600,000 counts average out so it all helps the RSPB and our birds – that’s what they say anyway :-)

Janet, lol… yep… thankfully we have the edit feature for the morning after too catching silly late night mistakes! Video is not as high quality as I would like (too far away) but I was thrilled with the Brambling capture. Ah… that saucer base, funnily enough the birds seem to have a problem with the idea of landing on it when it first goes out. This one is by the RSPB to screw under their feeders. I use it to catch the fallen seed as much can get wasted and germinate below the feeder. I also think of it as an extra safety net for prowling cats. Yep… sunflower hearts are the best all rounder :-)

Anna, you could be right there. I agree about the resilience of plants. The Brambling is a special visitor and I’m not taking his visits for granted. Perhaps there is a female about but she’s not been seen travelling with him – however if one does follow him she’ll be well impressed with the the bounty of food he has found in my garden :-)

Christina, delighted you enjoyed the video and that perhaps your MIL liked it too. It’s fun to join in. Thanks, wishing you a very Happy New Year too :-)