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Saturday, January 31, 2015

New Year resolution

In case you wondered why I uploaded a post about summer and autumn yesterday, I can confess that I made a resolution to try and do at least one blog post per month this year and realised I still  had a post in draft form from last year, so thought I'd publish it and then start afresh.

Now I am just in time to catch the end of the first month and keep my resolution going, so, here are some of my latest sightings!

Snowdrops have been out since at least the first week of January and although they are not perhaps as prolific as last year, they still make a welcome sight in the gloom of the depths of winter. I was particularly pleased to see them in Underway Meade, where some of you may know I am now involved in its future upkeep. (A separate blog post on the Meade will be uploaded soon.)

We have been doing some pruning of a small goat willow tree in the garden recently and I stacked the branches by the fence. It seems "Onky Donkey", in the neighbouring paddock, has a liking for the bark which he has stripped off every branch in a very efficient manner! Apparently it contains salicylic acid, the active component of willow extract which is used to make Aspirin, so perhaps he was self medicating!

Even though we still feel as though we are in the depths of winter with a very chilly wind blowing over the last few days the birds are already thinking about pairing up. The blue tits have been prospecting the bird boxes and the males of many species, including this lovely wren, find themselves a high perch to sing from and try to attract a mate. The rest of the time this one has been busy collecting spiders which have been dislodged when our windows and soffits were cleaned recently.

I did the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch last weekend but was a bit disappointed in how few birds visited in the hour I sat counting them. My usual Coal tit and Nuthatch remained elusive so, to cheer myself up on Monday I took myself for a walk around Nimmer. I was therefore delighted to see this chap, a Dipper, perched on a rock in the stream near the bridge next to the trout farm. A clever bird that lives by fast flowing streams and rivers and can swim underwater to catch its food of insect larvae and freshwater shrimps. Pity I don't have a stream in my garden so this bird is never likely to feature on my garden list either!

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