Today’s guest picture comes from my Sheffield correspondent Edward. He has acquired a second bird for his backyard.
We woke to a light snow shower and I took the hint and retired back to bed for a snooze and a crossword after breakfast, while alternating snow and rain showers appeared beyond the windows. I felt very snug.
I got up after coffee time and was happy to find a very large bird attendance at the feeders. I took my camera upstairs to get a different view of our visitors.
There were a great many siskins and goldfinches in the garden today, perhaps as many as forty at times.
Looking down on the feeder gave me a chance to catch some action shots but the background isn’t as satisfactory as shooting from eye level.
In the end, I went back downstairs and took up my normal station while I made some lentil soup for my lunch.
There was some siskin bad behaviour to record.
I admired the rather restrained response of the female siskin to being booted in the back by an aggressive male but in this day and age, she should have probably been a bit more outspoken about the outrage.
A male siskin certainly didn’t hold back when a chaffinch tried to sneak round the pole unobserved.
The victor on his perch.
After eating my soup, I rang up Sandy to see if he would like a walk as it looked as though the showers might hold off for a bit.
He was not in peak condition but thought that a walk might perk him up so we met at the corner of the Scholars’ Field and walked round the pheasant hatchery.
It was dry but evidence of the earlier snow was not hard to find.
I was keeping an eye out for moss and the wall at the Scholars’ Field held a good store, flowing over the coping stone on top of the wall and creeping downwards.
I am reading a moss book which tells me that where you think that there might be just one sort of moss, there is probably at least one other sort as well. That was true here.
We walked up the river to the Duchess Bridge and passed this mossy tree, set at an alarming angle on the banking….
… so it was not a total surprise when we found that the slope and the wet and the recent windy weather had been too much for another tree perched on an equally steep bank further up river.
The going was slippery and wet underfoot so we had to pay attention to where we were putting our feet and as a result, pictures were few and far between.
When we came out of the shelter of the trees…..
….a very eager and nipping wind made us grateful that we had chosen a well protected route.
We went up to Holmhead to see how the snowdrops were getting on, not really expecting to find any showing and were delighted to be proved wrong.
They are not fully out yet but I would say that this is a week earlier than we would usually expect to see this much growth and that is in spite of a chilly and gloomy winter.
I will come back in a week or two on a sunny day to see if I can do them justice.
I was still looking for mosses as we walked down the Lodge Walks and I enjoyed this two coloured display on a tree stump beside the road.
I took a close up of the darker green variety and added a small clump of a different moss which was on the back of the stump.
There was very little bird life along the river banks as we walked back to the town and what there was seemed to be as fed up with the cold wind as we were.
This is the correct practice for birds when the north wind doth blow.
We were just about to cross the suspension bridge by the church….
…when we had to stop and let an old man cross in the opposite direction. It was Dropscone. He had been checking on the progress of his wounded car and had taken the opportunity to extend his walk and drop a map of Malta off at Wauchope Cottage.
Sandy didn’t stop for a cup of tea but headed home, anxious to discover whether the walk had aided his state of health or not. Time will tell.
I have put extra bird food out but it doesn’t seem to be pulling in visitors and this chaffinch, late on the day, was the only one I saw…
…and I think that it was only resting and not eating.
I felt better for the little bit of exercise. I had lit a fire in the front room before I went out and I was very pleased to find it had heated up the room a lot so I spent a very relaxing couple of hours reading the newspapers and listening to Oscar Peterson tinkling away on the piano with his trio.
I am hoping that some time in a hot environment might help to clear my lungs a bit but once again, only time will tell.
Although it is cloudy now, looking at the weather forecast suggests that I might be able to get a look at the moon later tonight. I live in hope though the chance of seeing it low in the sky will have gone.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch seen from above approaching the feeder.