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Posts Tagged ‘bullfinch’

Today’s guest picture is a beautiful shot of the little lake in Regents Park.  My sister Mary took it on her way to play tennis at the weekend and remarked that it looked very spring-like in spite of being partially frozen.

Looking spring-like in spite of partially frozen lake

We had another dry, chilly day here without much sun to cheer us up so it felt cold.  There were even one or two desultory snowflakes but they came to nothing.

The dam bridge repair man was back and busy and by lunchtime, the bridge looked like this…

dam bridge repairs

…ready for the final finishing touches in the next day or two, weather permitting.

The forecast is very dramatic, talking of low temperatures and deep snow but at present our part of the country looks as though it might get off lightly.  We live in hope.

After breakfast, I cracked open my piggy bank (into which I put small denomination coins which otherwise would put an intolerable strain on my trouser pockets) and was able to take a couple of pounds worth of coppers round to our local shop who still need them for change.

I had a moment to look out of the window after that.

A goldfinch appeared but it was the only one that I saw today…

goldfinch

….and a greenfinch flew in.

greenfinch

Then it was time to welcome Dropscone for coffee.  He has returned safely from his holiday in the very south of Ireland where he and two of his children had had a good time going about and seeing the sights.

Not only was he welcome back in his own right but the fact that he brought scones with him was the metaphorical icing on the cake.  I had butter and blackcurrant jelly on mine.

While we were sipping and chatting, we had another visitor.

sparrowhawk

The fact that the sparrowhawk stopped for a picture meant that it had successfully nipped one of our other visitors off the feeder.  I have cropped the picture because it is too sad to view the reality however much it is just part of the natural cycle.

Later on, after coffee, I saw a most unusual burst of colour in the plum tree.  A closer look showed me that it was a male bullfinch.  It stayed on the plum tree for long enough for me to get the big lens and take its picture.

bullfinch

You might well think that such a magnificent little bird would be welcome but what it is doing in the plum tree is pecking off the shoots and eating them.

bullfinch panel

Left alone a bullfinch and its pals will strip a tree so rather ungratefully after taking its picture, I went out and shooed it away.  I like bullfinches but I like plums more.  This particular bird, having taken off a shoot, had the cheek to drop it as you can see in third picture in the panel above.

I spent some time after all this avian excitement in not quite getting a flying chaffinch picture right.

flying chaffinches

I took a stroll round the garden and was impressed by the hardiness of our small bunch of early daffodils.  We will need a few more before they can be considered a ‘host of golden daffodils’ but they are trying.

daffodils

The crocuses were keeping themselves to themselves, huddled against the cold but I liked the picture that this small bunch on the drying green made.

 

crocuses

After lunch, I went out for a short ten mile bike ride on my slow bike.   My plan was to go as slowly as was reasonable to avoid increasing the wind chill factor too much.

Although it was very chilly, the roads were dry and there was no danger of frost.  At one point on my way up the road, I heard a clink, as though something had fallen off my bike but a quick check told me that my bike was still all there. It was only when I went to look in my mirror before turning at Callister that I realised that it was the mirror that had fallen off.

I put my failure to notice this down to the extreme cold which had obviously numbed my brain.

I turned and pedalled back looking anxiously for any trace of the mirror but I fear that a passing car must have run over it and spun it off into the verge because there was no sign of it at all.

Ah well.

I made a tomato, potato and feta bake for my tea to cheer myself up

And to make things even better, I had a musical evening as first my flute pupil Luke came and then, after tea, I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel.   The trios were great fun and I hardly noticed the cold as I walked home.

I did catch one flying chaffinch without a feeder in front of it and it is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by my daughter-in-law Clare, shows Matilda, the world’s greatest toddler, lighting up the neighbourhood.

Matilda

Mrs Tootlepedal spent most of the day either at an Embroiderers’ meeting or getting on with her painting and decorating so I very much had the day to myself.

After a quick circular tour of my body parts, it was agreed by a democratic vote that a quiet day was called for and I was happy to fall in with the suggestion.

The morning was spent doing a tricky crossword and eating grapes, followed by making a pot of leek and potato soup.  The leek came from the garden where it and its fellows are the final things left from last year’s growing season.

I met fellow archive group member Ken at the front gate but could hardly hear what he said because of the noise in the garden.

In contrast to my quiet day inside, it was echoing to the sounds of frogs in the pond…

frog

…and it was more busy with twittering birds than it has been on any day recently.

There were blackbirds…

blackbirds

…and blue tits…

blue tit

…chaffinches and dunnocks raiding the coconut store…

chaffinch and dunnock

….with lots of birds at the feeder…

busy feeder

..and lots of chaffinches cleaning up the scraps down below.

chaffinches

Mrs Tootlepedal had seen a large group of goldfinches first thing in the morning when she got up but they had gone by the time that I emerged.   They were replaced by a small bunch of greenfinch later in the day.  (A siskin is looking on from below.)

greenfinch

We had been promised light rain which I was hoping to use as an excuse to sit around groaning all day but it stayed dry and so I roused myself up and went for a little walk after lunch.

A robin waved me good bye as I left.

robin

The clouds were low over the hills…

Castle Hill from Warbla

…so it wasn’t a great day for views.  Luckily there were other things nearer at hand to catch the eye.

hart's tongue fern

Hart’s-tongue fern growing from a wall as I went up to the Stubholm

sheep

An interested sheep exchanged glances with me as I passed

catkins

Healthy looking catkins

The two most interesting things were a small flock of bullfinches and some moss.  I didn’t have the right camera for bullfinch captures and this was the best that I could do…

bullfinch

More interested in preening than posing

…but I did have the right camera for a large patch of moss on a wall near the open hill which had spherical spores.

moss balls

I walked up the hill track on Warbla with the intention of getting to the top but as I climbed up, the clouds came down…

view from warbla

…bringing a hint of rain with them.  I sensibly turned back down and went home by way of Gaskell’s Walk.

I liked the flowing pattern of a decaying tree stump beside the path…

tree stump

…and I was interested to see that some rather haphazard tree felling had taken place on the bank above the Wauchope when I got back to the Stubholm.

tree felling at Stubholm

My neighbour Liz had told us about this felling and I was interested to see what had been done. The felled trees have been left where they lie and there didn’t seem to be much pattern as to what had been felled and what had been left but I dare say that there is some good reason for all this activity.   Time will no doubt reveal all.

When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from stitching and was busy painting and the birds were still busy eating sunflower hearts.

I had to fill the feeder twice and put out a back up feeder as well to meet the demand.  A brambling appeared in the plum tree but finding the feeders busy, it had to join the scavengers on the ground.

brambling

 

And that was the end of the active part of my day as I sank into the sofa and watched bits of the six nations rugby tournament, wondering as I usually do these days, why the referees whimsically enforce some of the rules some of the times and ignore most of the breaches of the laws for most of the time.  But that’s what growing old does for you.  Everyone’s a critic.  There was some good rugby as well.

I made a risotto for tea which went down well and then once more did a spot of sofa surfing.

Reading the posts of some of my American correspondents, it has been very noticeable that our weather here recently has been very dull, with the temperatures confined to quite a narrow band while, as far as I can see, on the other side of the Atlantic temperatures have been going up and down like a yo yo.  Our thermometer has been creeping up lately though and we may even get up into double figures (10 °C/50°F) next week.   That would be nice.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

chaffinch

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