The Garden Diary 2013

February - part 1 

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1 February - A day that started off dull and a bit damp but which became bright and sunny in the afternoon, although the temperature only made it to around 6C.

There was a promising start to the day when I spotted a male Siskin (first of the year) down on the ground under the Hawthorn. Unfortunately it left before I could point a camera in its direction and I didn't see it return all day (we were out for a couple of hours during the afternoon).

Other bird news includes pairs of Robins and Chaffinches here, up to six Goldfinches at the feeders, and a single Jay in the late afternoon. With no further sightings of the Fieldfare(s) the Blackbirds are regular visitors again. I've not seen a Woodpecker in the garden for a while now, but at around 10.30am there was one busy drumming on a tree in the Brickfields Country Park.

My trusty old food processor finally gave up while I was chopping peanuts this evening - it looks as though a visit to the local car boot sale will be required on the weekend!




4 February -  A bright afternoon after a dull start, with the temperature hovering around 9C, although a brisk westerly breeze makes it feel colder.

Today has been rather quiet in the garden. However, this morning there were at least thirteen Goldfinches here around breakfast time.

A male Siskin visits the feedersAnd there has been another appearance by a single male Siskin.

My camera was not set up when just after breakfast I looked out and saw a female Blackcap. Needless to say, as I moved to get the camera she flew off (not to return again). However, as I waited, the Siskin arrived and was able to grab this shot.

Subsequently it returned numerous times during the rest of the morning.


The first Primroses opened during the weekend



It looks as though I missed the first flowering of this Primrose during the weekend. It is situated between the big pond and the path down the garden.

I had a look around the rest of the garden and could see just one more Primrose bud that seems close to opening.






6 February - Just a brief entry on a dull, cold day. The temperature made it to 5C but a brisk north-northwesterly breeze made it feel nearer to freezing.

After there being no Siskin sighted yesterday, this morning the sunflower kernel feeder was visited by a single Siskin - this time a female. As I aimed the camera a Sparrow arrived at the feeder and spooked the Siskin, which I haven't seen since, despite being home all day.

There were no more than three Goldfinches at the feeder at any one time today, and I didn't see a Jay at all (There was one here several times yesterday). Around lunchtime I once again heard a Woodpecker drumming in the Brickfields Park.





8 February - A bright morning with somewhat hazy blue skies and a temperature of just over 2C at 10am. There is hardly any breeze.

Ice pattern on birdbath


There was just a trace of ice on parts of the big pond first thing this morning, and there is still a thin, very neatly patterned veneer covering parts of the birdbath.



Female Siskin in Hawthorn



The female Siskin returned this morning, along with a male.

(Notice the small red buds on the Hawthorn branches.)





Female Siskin at sunflower feeder




 She headed for the Sunflower feeder,




Male Siskin chases off a female from feeder




and all was well until she moved up the column and disturbed the male who was perched behind the feeder and out of my sight.

While a Goldfinch looked on he put on an threatening display towards the female before the pair flew off. That was at around 9am, and an hour and a half later they have yet to return.



Whilst a Jay made numerous visits yesterday I have not seen it so far this morning.





9 February - A grey, cold day (maximum of 3C), with a mixture of drizzle, light rain and the occasional snow flake. However, the day was brightened considerably by the appearance of what are rare visitors these days.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a small child sized step so that our grandchildren can watch out for birds in the garden more easily from inside our dining/computer room. However, when our grandson tried it out he managed to make it tip over to one side - fortunately I was on hand to catch him, and no damage was done! This afternoon I set up my workbench on the veranda to add some stabilizers to the step, just in time as little Evan arrived unexpectedly.

Anyway, as I got on with the job with Sheila and Evan watching from the warmth of the house a male Goldcrest arrived in the Buddleia plant right next to me. I watched as it moved closer and closer, to less than a yard away, and as a female arrived to join it! The pair stayed in the bush for a couple of minutes, with the male literally no more than an arm's length from me at times as they checked every branch on the well pruned shrub. If only I could have photographed them....

The last time I recorded a single Goldcrest in the garden was 16 February 2009, and I cannot recall ever seeing two here together like this before.

Before I forget, around breakfast time a single Long-tailed Tit spent a short time at the fat balls that hang in the Hawthorn. There was no sign of the Siskins today, and while a Magpie turned up to feed twice, the Jay(s) didn't make an appearance while I was watching.




12 February - The dull, cold weather continues, although it is dry today. Over the last couple of days the temperature has struggled to get above 1C - this morning it did manage 2C briefly around 11am! The 10th was a thoroughly wet day, yesterday was just damp, with a bit of snow in the morning, not enough to have any effect on wet ground, but sufficient to cover the car windscreen.

Siskins at Sunflower feeder


I had another sighting of a Goldcrest (I think it was a female) this morning while I was outside and this time it was just a brief visit to the fat balls in the Hawthorn.

I was back indoors when this pair of Siskins spent time at the sunflower feeder, this time with no arguing!



I have not seen any Jays here over the last week, but we have had a few visits by a pair of Magpies, which impressed our little grandson tremendously! He is spending quite a bit of time with us at the moment and it means that opportunities to take photographs are rather limited as I can't leave a tripod set up during the day.



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2013 Garden Diary Index....  ....................... . February part 2