Sunday, 25 January 2009

Another day, another post.

I couldn't think of anything to put on my blog today. Then I read a beautiful piece of writing on Riverdaze (see my blog list) about Sunday morning and I thought - why should there be anything spectacular to write about - what about an ordinary day. So thank-you Incorrigible Scribe for making me appreciate today!
It is Big Garden Birdwatch day here in the UK. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds asks us to watch our garden bird table for just one hour and in that time record the greatest number of each species that we see.
So at ten this morning I sat down with two biscuits, a cup of coffee and a note pad.
Outside the sun is shining and there is a faint breeze from the South. Under the Scot's Pine trees (see my header) the snowdrops are just beginning to show their white flowers and here and there a tiny ball of bright yellow tells me that the aconites are also coming through. Winter jasmine flowers along the hedge, its pale yellow flowers lighting up the dark green of the holly, as it has done since early November.
We are never short of garden birds here. We put out a lot of food and there is good cover. Although we have a resident sparrow hawk who patrols the table regularly, there is good cover in the shape of a large rhododendron bush which backs on to the bird table, so the small birds can always rush for cover.
As I watch our two cats - Blackie and Creamy cross the paddock and make for the far hedge, where there are usuallly young rabbits to be had. At least they are well away for my bird count.
The first bird to come is the Greater Spotted Woodpecker. He always makes the same approach. First he lands on the side of a pine tree trunk and strips off bits of bark - then he swoops sideways on to the seed hopper and has a few seeds before darting to his main meal - at the peanut dispenser.
As I watch him I catch sight of a small movement on the pine tree trunk and see the wonderfully camouflaged form of the tiny tree creeper making its way quickly up the trunk - such an agile little bird.
Then the birds come in thick and fast. There is nothing unusual but a great number of chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch and tree sparrow. Suddenly in comes a squadron of Long-tailed tits, their tiny pink bodies darting about and scattering the other birds. As quickly as they come they are gone and all the birds resume their breakfast.
At one point there are three robins, all sticking out their red breasts and looking threatening, so that finally two give way to the dominant third one, and fly off.
Not so the blackbirds. We have six cock blackbirds and they seem to quarter the lawns and give each other space. It is only when a hen blackbird appears that they start to fall out.
Under the hedge a little wren scratches and flips over the leaves. He does not visit the table, but prefers to skulk under the hedge and find his rich pickings there.
An hour passes quickly - an hour of pure pleasure. The birdwatch is done again for another year and I go to the computer to log-in my results. There will be thousands of others doing exactly the same throughout the country. What a nice, warm feeling to start a Sunday morning.

27 comments:

Cynthia said...

Wow, what a way to pay attention. I admire you knowledge of birds. I think I've been lazy about identification though I do love them. There are so many different birds here in Puerto Rico. I notice now though that I can identify their sounds when they return. I sometimes wonder why they leave...it's so warm here. Oh I know they are not people!

Cynthia said...

Hi- add an "r" to "you", please. I type too fast and check to late!Some habits are hard to break...

jinksy said...

How lucky you are to live in an area where there are so many birds. Lack of suitable habitat round here would give slim pickings, evn if I sat all day peering out the window!

Leslie said...

What a pretty picture you paint with words, that is a real talent.

I hope you Sunday is a "special."

Hugs~~~~

Leslie said...

I left off an r to, is there a shortage of rrrr's now. Chuckle.

Bdogs said...

A lovely Sunday activity--even when the bird count isn't going on. We're finding that the birds aren't feeding much today. After a warmish week, we've had two chill days, and nature has retreated for the moment. I saw a wren this morning on the porch and some small sparrow feeding on the suet/seed square. Only a few cardinals and haven't seen one feather of our usual woodpeckers. It's due to warm up a bit this week, so maybe then.
I loved your post.

Elizabeth said...

Dear Weaver,
What a delightful post. I followed with rapt attention.
Yes, sometimes one isn't sure what to write about and something wonderful drops in our laps - very close to home that we hadn't thought of before.
When we lived on Long Island we had binocs and a bird book by the window.......!

Word verification: deadli
that's a bit depressing!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

What a wonderful, lovely post. There are no "nothing" days…just days when we decide to see a half-empty glass, to don our blinders and ignore the beauty—the incredible simple gift—of life all around us.

You made me "see" your day, your morning, through your eyes; made me long for the emerging color of those garden flowers (many of which I have planted somewhere there, beneath the snow); made me wish I, too, could add chaffinches and greenfinches to the goldfinches I see daily at my own feeders.

I'm honored you give me credit for inspiration, though my writer's head says all you needed was to sit and look and SEE…and your own excellent eye and talent would carry you along just fine.

Heather said...

What a lovely way to spend an hour. We do quite well for birds in our little garden in it's semi rural situation. Blackbird, robin, wren, greenfinch, longtailed tit, bluetit, greattit, chaffinch and plenty of starlings, collared doves and pidgeons. Only rarely do we see a green woodpecker or the greater spotted woodpecker, but maybe we aren't watching often enough!

Leenie said...

Enjoyed your bird count. It sounds like you are diligent about filling your feeders. Liked the post about walking as well. Many people seem to have forgotten the joy of traveling by foot.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

What a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning! You have a great variety of birds there.

I like to listen to bird song too. Often I hear blackbirds singing when I'm doing a night drive (I think they are blackbirds - we hear them often during the night and day). They sound so uplifting.

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely list of birds to see in your garden, nice that you have a garden you can watch easily too. Our backgreen is invisible from our flat....

The Weaver of Grass said...

We lose our swallows Cynthia, every winter they return to Africa. If we have a cold summer I too wonder why they bother to come - I suppose they are programmed that way.

The Weaver of Grass said...

We lose our swallows Cynthia, every winter they return to Africa. If we have a cold summer I too wonder why they bother to come - I suppose they are programmed that way.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jinksy - because we are surrounded by our own fields we do get a huge cariety of birds - we are very lucky.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Leslie - I too suffer from typing too fast, often it is only when it is too late that I see the mistake.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Bdogs. Isn't it funny - today is a little colder and there are far more birds at the table. We find that on mild days the birds go into the hedgerows and fields - then when the cold comes in they return to the table.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Elizabeth. Sometimes I think it would be a good idea to close one's eyes and pick up an object and write about that. I am sure it would do my writing skills good to use that approach rather than to sit and try and think of something to say!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Incorrigible scribe - you may not have goldfinches and chaffinches but I bet you have chickadees, robins (your sort) and cardinals. Horses for courses as we say over here.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Heather - we used to have eleven collared doves and they would eat the whole feeder of seed within half an hour, so we mounted it on a bracket and now they can only feed on the floor so we rarely get them.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I agree about walking Leenie

The Weaver of Grass said...

Raph - as I do not hear verywell, bird song does not always penetrate my ear - but I did hear a nightingale in Provence last year - that was a real treat.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Raph - as I do not hear verywell, bird song does not always penetrate my ear - but I did hear a nightingale in Provence last year - that was a real treat.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Crafty green poet - that means you have to do your birdwatching when out walking I suppose - and that can often be very rewarding.

Reader Wil said...

Hi your knowledge of birds is phenominal! And you can even dicriminate male and female birds! Good post!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks reader wil.

BT said...

What a lovely post Weaver. We love our bird table. We don't have any woodpeckers though and the long tail tits are often around but don't come to the table either. At the moment there are quite a few goldfinch around. Such pretty birds with their little red faces! My husband's daughter works for the RSPB though at the moment she is on maternity leave.