Saturday 27 January 2018

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2018 - And my top bird is...

I believe for the first time, the Goldfinch came out top in my 2018 Big Garden Birdwatch survey. As you will guess, the photo above was not taken today (too much sun, too many sorrel seeds)... but I think you will agree that it is a more colourful picture than this morning's record shot, taken in dull grey weather from behind glass, which I have posted below.

The species chart records what I actually saw during the hour...

There were more sightings of these species, but the records requested are for the highest number seen at one time.

Sadly a number of previous Bird Count avian visitors were missing, including the House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin (who is often around), Greater-spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker. I suspect the weather plays a part, but it would be interesting to know what the other key factors are. We had Greenfinches in the garden when we moved in some five+ years ago, but these have not been seen for a long time. The Song Thrush was here in the run-up to Christmas and the Wren. A score of two for Wood Pigeons is very low for us.

We are also invited to record animal sightings of the last twelve months. We have seen one Hedgehog some months ago (and back in the summer, quite a few hedgehog calling cards...)

Grey Squirrels come to the coconut feeder most days... but there were none during the hour of the count.

If you would like to take part in the count, there is still time as it continues until 29 January 2018. The link is here. Happy watching... and recording!

Saturday 20 January 2018

Suffolk Flora Preservation Trust Poetry Competition Event

I am just back from the Suffolk Flora Preservation Trust Poetry Competition (SFPT). Many congratulations to Tim Gardiner for winning the £50 adult prize in the SFPT Poetry Competition on the theme of the aquatic life in the Fromus Valley Nature Reserve. Lord Cranbrook hosted the event at Kelsale Village Hall this afternoon.

Tim's poem, along with three other commended entries including my own (about the Wandering Snail, Lymnaea peregra aka Radix peregra), will feature in the Suffolk Flora Preservation Trust's 2018 Adult Education volume on the reserves at Simpson's Fromus Valley and Orchid Glade. The judges were Kaaren Whitney, Poet-in-Residence for the reserves, and Suffolk Poetry Society Chair, Florence Cox. Sue Wallace-Shaddad and Sue Mobbs also read their poems to the enthusiastic audience. It was a real pleasure, too, to hear the winning and commended poems written by those who had entered the young people's section of the competition. 

Monday 15 January 2018

New Year greetings... and today's (grey) visitors

Belated wishes for a happy new year! 

I saw two Grey Squirrels in the garden today: while this one had knocked his food off the Silver Birch branch and was gorging away at ground level, the other was scampering up the bark, only to find an empty tree. 

The Grey Heron has become a fairly regular visitor in, or usually above, our local patch. I love watching the touchdown as those ungainly wings come in to land.