Monday, 6 January 2014

Winter visitors

Saying goodbye to our swallows and warblers at the end of Summer and then welcoming the fieldfares and redwings to stay over the Winter, is not the end of the story.

Yesterday after lunch the farmer and I walked down the lane on a mild, damp day.   We have luckily escaped the worst of the weather here in the Dales and although it is wet quite a lot of the time and there have been gales, it is nothing compared to the poor folk in the South West of the country, who have been flooded out by either rivers bursting their banks or tidal surges.

Our walk was peppered with blackbirds, who have a silly habit of crossing the lane from hedge to hedge and flying only about a foot off the ground, which is why there are often fatalities as they get hit by cars.  

Every few yards yet another blackbird flew out and this morning there were a dozen or so at our bird table.   Yes, another Winter visitor has arrived from Northern Europe.   It is easy to spot the visitors - our native blackbirds have a yellow/orange bill while the incomers have a nondescript brownish bill.

So it is welcome blackbirds - you are welcome to visit our bird table for breakfast every morning because we love to see you.

Today is damp and breezy again - not actually raining but certainly it is not worth pegging out the washing, which is now drying on the Sheila Maid above the Aga.

Must go and prepare the lunch.   This eating of good, healthy, low calorie food certainly takes a lot of preparation.   Today it is lentil, tomato and onion soup followed by pasta with chicken breast, low fat cheese, mixed vegetables and a topping of parmesan.

17 comments:

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Same here - no flood but plenty of mud! Our Fieldfares must have exhausted the berries on the field hedges as they are beginning to feed nearer to the houses, though I haven't noticed any increase in our blackbird numbers.

sonia said...

The heavy snow here has pretty much driven much birdsong from the skies. However, we do still have our crows, blue jays, and chickadees. I've never seen a blackbird (I don't think!) and would love to. Actually, there are many European birds I don't remember seeing on my visits and I would especially like to see a rook or a raven.

George said...

If I were in the area, I would surely pop in and join you for that lunch!

Heather said...

Your lunch sounds highly edible. I thought that the blackbirds we see with dull coloured beaks were immature males - I didn't realise that they were visitors.
Still wet and windy here but we are promised gentler conditions later in the week. The coastal areas in the southwest have taken a battering and all the inland flood prone places are under water but we are very fortunate in our locality.

Linda Metcalf said...

Don't know about you but the bad weather makes me cook and bake and eat. Like you I am craving veggies and salads and healthy foods after the holidays! Especially with our morning temp this day of -8 degrees.

John Gray said...

I always thought that blackbirds enjoy the game of dare

John Gray said...

I always thought that blackbirds enjoy the game of dare

Dartford Warbler said...

Flood and mud again here, so no walking for us. Just the everyday jobs that have to be done when you have animals.

Your lunch sounds very good!

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I enjoy a good blustery cloudy day - maybe make a big pot of soup - some bread and an apple to munch on while the food cooks.

We have the winter birds visiting too - it is wonderful to have birds all year.

angryparsnip said...

Goodness your lunch sounds wonderful. Served in a warm kitchen when it is so cold outside, must be heaven.

cheers, parsnip

Totalfeckineejit said...

That foiod sounds lovely! Fieldfares? Never heard of them but I like the name. Happy New Year Weaver! Chirp, Chirp!

Cro Magnon said...

In autumn we see the Cranes flying high overhead on their way down to N Africa, then in spring they return. I always find it very emotional, and always wave to them... I wonder if they see me!

Crafty Green Poet said...

We've got more European blackbirds round here than ever before, they're everywhere!

Rachel said...

Perhaps they have come over from Romania and Bulgaria.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for calling on these cold, dismal January days - it helps to brighten them up a lot.

Mary said...

Like the new header photo Pat - glad to know you have escaped the horrific storms of the southwest.

This morning, here in North Carolina, we have the lowest temps. (without any snow cover) since 1994, 6F when I awoke at 7 am. That's about -14C I believe! It really feels so cold even with the heat pumping away - had to pull out the little portable heater from the potting shed to run here and warm my feet - that's a first!

Today I'm making my favorite warming veg stew - Bean & Winter Squash with Chili, Mint and Cream (from an old UK Country Living recipe by Brian Glover - I loved his recipes always). Then a pot of veg soup will be simmering on the back burner for later in the week - love cooking in the winter.

The garden birds amaze me - here we are, freezing our you know whats off inside, while they just seem to go about their daily routine out there, eating from the feeders, standing on the ice in the bird baths, sitting on the porch railing singing in full voice in the freezing sunshine - amazing tiny creatures!

Stay warm and dry in the Dales -
Hugs - Mary

mrsnesbitt said...

Some lovely soup ideas here Pat!