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Monday, 4 February 2013

Birdwatch





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For those of you who have't visited me at Wordpress this week, I repeat my post here:
Well, as you know, the weather has been fierce lately! We've had this (see above)
and this (see below)
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so I've needed these...

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and this:
fireplace with fire
and this to keep me warm...

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but I haven't forgotten my geranium cuttings! Remember my post back in August? You can remind yourself here. I've been nurturing those cuttings since then.  Just before the first frosts came, I brought them into the cottage and put them along the window-ledge at the front where they get the evening sun. The trick is to keep them alive but not to encourage them to grow too fast. I don't want them to get leggy. I water them once a week and that is enough.  It is quite dry in the house and they dry out quickly, but they don't seem to mind that.

This is what they looked like last week:

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When I bring them in, they sometimes have a caterpillar among the leaves, so Dylan and I go caterpillar hunting:

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The other day we took part in an RSPB Birdwatch. Click the link to read more about it. Basically, during the course of one hour, we were asked to observe the birds, which turned up in our garden and submit the results online in order to take part in a nationwide survey of the bird population. For example, we had to record the most number of birds of each species that we saw together during that hour.
All was going normally at first. We saw two blackbirds, two wood pigeons, two starlings, a robin and a magpie. Then all of a sudden! a whole flock of waxwings descended onto our cotoneaster bush and stripped it of all the berries. I counted 23 waxwings, which is an awful lot more than all the other birds put together.  These gorgeous birds, pictures follow, come down from even colder regions, like Sweden and descend upon us at this time of the year.  It is quite a new thing. I don't remember seeing them in years gone by. Here are the pictures. The best pictures are here and the others I had to take through the window so as not to disturb them.

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We have submitted our results to the RSPB and I'll let you know what the total results were when they come out. Sadly there has been a decline in the bird population here in England. Some birds are rarely seen commonly anymore, but others have been on the increase.
So that's a glimpse into my garden this week. The snow has gone now and been replaced by ferocious winds and rain. It really does feel like I'm living on an island. I never thought about that when I was living in Tennessee, but when I came back I realised that 'yes' we are an island race of people and we're never very far away from the sea. Long may it continue so!

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