Friday 29 January 2021

Late January Garden, ahead of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Update of 31 Jan. 2021: I have tried several times to upload my Big Garden Birdwatch results to the RSPB site, but apparently the volume of results has caused a glitch. According to messages on the RSPB England Facebook page, we are invited to keep trying to upload our data, and this can be done right up until 19 February.

I look forward to taking part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch over the weekend. Long-tailed tits may not gain my highest score, but I expect they will be in the top three. We hardly ever saw these exquisite birds when we lived in South Wales: I wonder whether they have become much more prevalent in recent years. We placed a robin-sized nesting-box of brushwood and a small roosting pouch in the garden today. It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks whether we have any takers.

'Our' nettles had a very poor summer season last year, so the ones in the photo above, taken this morning, make we wonder if 2021 will be a better year for them. I would love butterflies to lay their eggs in this corner of the garden.

Sadly this Dockbug has come to grief. I noticed it in the old shallow tray of water we keep out for the birds. On a happier note, I watched a ladybird moving along a branch in the sunshine. I expect it should really be overwintering, but the unexpected warmth had probably lured it out. I also saw what looked like my first bee of 2021. I always look forward to the return of the insects. 

The specks of ice (or hail?) on this leaf caught my eye the other morning. I have greatly enjoyed seeing the icy wonders on BBC Winterwatch this year.

Friday 22 January 2021

My First Snowdrop of the Year and Other Garden Observations


We had beautiful blue skies here in our part of Suffolk this morning, and it was a joy to watch the Long-tailed tits feeding from the fatballs. I love the way the top one clings on, projecting its bill forward. These birds are so acrobatic!

A number of folk have been posting about Snowdrops. I looked in the garden a few days ago and failed to see any signs, but today I came across two Snowdrops in flower, virtually hidden in a tangle of undergrowth. They brought a smile to my face!

David and I were out looking for the over-wintering Wasp-spider egg-sacs. We only managed to see one of the four that were in our mini-meadow (aka unmown lawn) last autumn. I hope the others have survived the frost. I wonder if you saw the Wasp-spider photograph on BBC Springwatch yesterday? 

We nearly missed this patch of Cyclamen in a shady corner... I wonder what we will find next.

And meanwhile, here is the Wasp-spider eggsac...

And just in case you have yet to see this striped spider, here is a link to one I saw last year...

Saturday 16 January 2021

Snow . . .

We finally had more than a five-minute flurry of snow today. It looked beautiful for a while, but began to melt fairly swiftly. There is still some slush on the pavements, which will doubtless turn to ice if the temperatures freeze again, but most of the snow has vanished. The Blue tits, Long-tailed tits, Great tits, Robin and Blackbird have been very active around the coconut feeder. We also had a couple of gulls and Magpies battling it out for a tasty morsel.

I checked yesterday and at least one of the four Wasp spider eggsacs is still intact, though much of the long grass is now bent over. I couldn't see any signs of a Snowdrop, but I guess it's early yet. At least some of the bulbs have started to shoot. Will there be daffodils in flower for 1st March, I wonder?