Sunday, January 28, 2018

RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch

Each year we join in with the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch.  This year was no exception and we enjoyed taking part. 

Saturday was very wet and windy so we decided, as the recipe came with the pack we received, to make the Bird watch Bites to eat with coffee whilst sitting for an hour counting birds today.

They were quite easy to make once all the ingredients were assembled.  I used dried cranberries instead of raisins and desiccated coconut instead of flakes as they were in the cupboard.

They came out quite well the photo above is of the first batch.  

They soon cooled down enough to try one with morning coffee

The ingredients made fifteen in all so plenty for the next day or two.

We sat down around eleven o'clock today and saw quite a few birds but not as many as usual because of the rain and wind.  No sign of the group of goldfinches which usually visit our feeders nor as many sparrows as usual.
Paul managed a few photos whilst I was busy in the kitchen baking cakes for my next door neighbour for an afternoon tea following a funeral tomorrow. 


 Male Blackbird

Then we started the count

In our chosen hour we saw:-

3 Blackbirds
1 Blue Tit
1 Chaffinch
1 Dunnock
8 House Sparrows
3 Robins
13 Starlings 

also 1 Wren and 1 Goldcrest which weren't on the main list but could be recorded elsewhere.

Where were the wood pigeons, goldfinches and magpies that we usually see? Perhaps they were on a day's outing somewhere!

Did you do the bird count?  How did you get on and what did you see?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Scavenger Photo Hunt January 2018

 It's time to share the photos I took for the first Scavenger Photo Hunt of 2018 organised by Kate at 'I live, I love, I craft, I am me' blog.  There are six word prompts this time - Yellow, It starts with an 'O', light, found, colourful and my own choice.

 Yellow - Toy Giraffes on wheels at the Peak Wildlife Park, near Leek in Staffordshire.

It starts with an 'O' - Owl - a sculpture in Trentham Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

Light - on snow covered fields on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border not far from the town of Buxton.

Found - we have taken out a month's access to Find My Past as we wanted to look at the 1939 Register.  I found my Mum and Dad and my Dad's parents but couldn't find my Mum's parents and sister and Dad's sister.  I eventually found them all but they were very hard to find because whoever had transcribed the original had spelt surnames wrongly.  My grandparents and Mum's younger sister were found at the address I remember visiting as a small child in the 1950s I knew that they should be at that address so waded through pages until I found them. My Dad's sister was found lodging with a family on Granby Road in Leicester where her employment was listed as a nurse.

Colourful - a parrot figure in the houseplant section at Bridgemere Garden World, Cheshire.

My Own Choice - a collage of alternative photos for the above categories.
Found - delicate little pink cyclamen flowers hiding in the undergrowth, the first yellow daffodils of the season, light on silver birch trees, colourful flowers at the garden centre and an old, leafless oak tree.

Click on the link below to find other bloggers who are joining in.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Peak Wildlife Park

Just a few of the animals we saw last week at the Peak Wildlife Park near Leek.
Meerkats - great fun to watch.  I think the photo bottom right of the collage should be entitled 'Alexander and Sergei begin their journey to the centre of the earth'.  Apologies to those readers who don't know of the Meerkat adverts here on British television.

Fluffy Wallabies, their fur bushed out because it was so cold. It seems apt to have wallabies here as up until about twenty years ago there were wallabies on the Roaches in the Staffordshire Mooorlands and many people still remember seeing them.  They first arrived in the mid 1930s when Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Courtney Brocklehurst established a small private zoo in Roaches Hall, Upper Hulme.  Information from a label on on 'Wally' found in Lud's church 1st December 1993,  now in a glass case at the top of the stairs in the Nicholson Institute and Library in Leek.

Humbolt Penguins, charming creatures even though the aroma of their fishy dinner was overwhelming.  There is an area where you can watch them swimming underwater. The little visitors and their parents loved them and the viewing area was always busy.

A whiskery Otter of the Asian short-clawed variety.  When we last visited the Peak Wildlife Park there was one lone, male otter who had lost his mate.  Eventually, another one was found for him and when we visited there were now five otters in the little family.

There were three of these sheep in the paddock but this one seemed to take a shine to us and came down to the fence to meet us.  I think they are Swiss or Valais black-nosed sheep.  They have such cute faces.

Ring tailed lemurs - we spent ages watching them and their antics. There were also black and white ruffled lemurs and black lemurs, interestingly as with blackbirds the female is brown.  The latter two types were quite shy but the ringtail lemurs made up for that and played to the crowd - well us and two others.

Last but not least fluffy bunnies.  I do like a fluffy bunny and these were huge!  Each one had its own little home.

Hard to choose a favourite from these but I think the Otter would have to be at the top of the list. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Mistle Thrush

Yesterday we saw not one but three of what we are fairly certain are Mistle Thrushes flying around the trees in between the Trent and Mersey canal and the larger of the two lakes at the nature reserve at Westport.

I only had my little Canon camera with me as we hadn't expected to stop for a walk on our busy morning of shopping, getting my hair cut and taking Christmas cards for recycling.  We also had loads of used stamps which I'd been collecting for ages and so we took them to the Westport Lake Visitor Centre for the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

After a coffee and toasted teacake we walked around both lakes and it was there we spotted the Mistle Thrush which had the brown head, pink legs and white edges to the tail mentioned by the RSPB on their bird identification site.  It isn't a song thrush and we are fairly sure the one above isn't a Fieldfare which when we first spotted the birds we thought they were. I'm so glad the bird was close enough to take a photo of and that it stayed long enough whilst I fiddled with my camera with extremely cold fingers.

According to the RSPB the Mistle Thrush has a red UK conservation status which means it is a highly endangered species.

Here is a link to the RSPB  and more about endangered birds. 

Also this week I have registered for the Big Garden Bird Watch which will take place this year on 27th to 29th January.  We have been participating in this survey for quite a few years now and it is always an enjoyable thing to do, you can do the survey in your own garden or a nearby park or reserve.

Here is a link to more information.

As we walked around the lake we spotted a pair of Little Grebes or Dabchicks as they are also known.  They were too quick and also the angle of the sun made it impossible to take any photos with the camera I had with me. It was great to get out in the fresh air and I'm so glad we decided to walk for a while.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Into the New Year

Blue skies on our walk yesterday such a contrast to the driving rain and gusting wind howling around the house this evening.

I'm just popping in to say thank you to all the people who visit this blog, thank you for your continued support, comments and blogging friendship throughout last year, in fact for the last few years.

I hope there are many blue skies to come for us all in this new year.

 Welcome to 2018,  may it be a good year for all of you.