Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Bug Snugs, Beavers and Snowdrops

 We're at the end of January.  I can't decide whether days have passed quickly or slowly.  Things have got done, appointments kept, walks taken to boost daily steps but somehow without much enthusiasm or solidness about them.  Sort of drifting really.

Last week we walked at Trentham as we do most weeks. We found lots of changes.  Some tree felling had taken place, lots of clearing of shrubs and some new additions.

Bug Snugs
As the label says they have been built to keep insect life warm and to act as shelter for things like frogs and hedgehogs in the winter months.   Birds will use some of their material for nesting in the Spring.  What a good idea.
Elsewhere around the lake there are signs of Beaver Activity.  The little family of Beavers on the island in the middle of the lake has grown to four and they are making their presence felt all around the lake.

There are two or three areas where they have been gnawing at branches.  They are adding to their food cache of juicy green wood which is full of nutrients for them.

Apparently they create food storage areas and eating stations.

There are signs too of them starting to build a canal network in the reed beds.
More about the Beavers  here
There were quite a few Snowdrops along the garden paths.

Bobbing gracefully in the breeze.
Lots of Cyclamen too showing arcs of colour under the trees.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch

 We started the bird watch about 9.30 a.m. on Saturday as there were quite a few birds in the garden.   We'd topped up the feeders around 9a.m. and the birds started to appear.

First in were Starlings and Blackbirds followed by a couple of Magpies, a couple of Rock Doves and a couple of Wood pigeons.   Most prolific visitors were Goldfinches.

There was a distinct lack of Sparrows in our garden this year although we've seen plenty around on our local walks.  About an hour after the count finished 4 Longtailed Tits appeared on the fat ball feeder - too late to be counted.  

Not great photos I'm afraid as they were taken through the conservatory windows.

The full list

4 Starlings, 3 Blackbirds, 2 Woodpigeons, 2 Rock Doves, 9 Goldfinches, 2 Magpies, 3 Dunnocks, 2 Collard Doves, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Blue Tit and 1 Robin.

All for now.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Wintry Days

 After all the wet weather the last few days have been sunny but oh so cold.  We have managed to get out and about for a couple of walks this week. Both yesterday and today the sky has been so blue.

Tuesday we woke up to a light dusting of snow and the car had to go into the garage for it annual service.  Wednesday, after a supermarket shop, we visited the Brampton Musem in Newcastle (under Lyme) for a mug of coffee and a shared slice of banana bread.  I liked the sign on the front of the counter in the tea room cafe.

After coffee we popped into the galleries to look at the latest exhibition.  Art work by the Society of Staffordshire Artists.

Yesterday we took a walk around Trentham Gardens the weather was so different from last week.

The fountain in the shopping area had frozen with some beautiful patterns in the ice.

Lots of blue sky, shadows and reflections.

Even though it was getting towards midday it was still very cold.

On the lake the Coots were marching across the ice, there were quite a few of them all together. Apparently the collective noun for Coots is a cover.

They were joined by two Little Grebes.  The Little Grebes or Dabchicks had found an un-iced over area to keep diving in.



At home Snowdrops are peeping through the frost and snow, there is no sign of the Winter Aconites yet.

I'm looking forward to seeing them both again this year.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Gently into the New Year

We are ten days into January already and I can't really say that we have done anything positive, just a bit of walking, a bit of shopping, some reading but no gardening as it is still far too wet.  A few days ago, I'm not sure what day other than that it rained all day, the paths were flooded and the pond overflowing.  The paths have dried out now although the grass is still squelching underfoot.  We took a walk in the local park one day when the sky was blue.

and the shadows were long.

 I've just been into the garden and taken a layer of ice from the top of the bird baths.  The bird feeders are being emptied every day by loads of goldfinches (we counted 60 at one point up in the trees just over the top hedge) plus a few blue tits, great tits and long tailed tits.  There are several blackbirds about today and also collard doves.  Crows and Magpies have been calling in the distance and both owls and foxes can be heard in the small hours.  Wood pigeons have started calling in the early morning just as the heating jumps and stutters into life.  Today it is sunny but very cold and windy.

Last week we had a little walk around Leek where I took a few photos.  It was quiet but thankfully dry.  After a coffee and a look at an exhibition at the Foxlowe Arts Centre we walked around the park and back up the cobbled path to St Edward's church.

Later the same week we walked at Tretham Gardens.  It was quite misty as we arrived and it took some time for the sun to burn it away.  The mist made for some atmospheric photos around the lake.

 I've also been looking out old photos and found the one below.  It is of a wedding party in 1908.  The Edwards family in all their finery.  My great grandmother and grandmother and grandfather are on the photo as well as my Aunt Millicent Mabel, always known as Millie.

I've returned the books I've been reading over Christmas and New Year to the Library this morning.  It's half closed for refurbishment so I didn't choose any more books.  I have a couple of e-books from the Cloud Library to read.

More gentle pottering is in order this week as well as cooking and baking for the freezer. 

All for now.