Saturday, 23 March 2013

The pious bird with the scarlet breast

I came home early from work the other day on a beautifully sunny, warm, almost spring like day.  Opening the back door I could hear the melodious sound of a robin singing.  The song was so loud I assumed the robin was nearby however I found him sat at the very top of a tall fir tree two gardens away.  I should have known, the robin can never be said to be shy or quiet!

“The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off - and they are nearly always doing it.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden 

The song of the robin went on for some time, so long in fact that I had time to go back into the house and fetch Mr C's camera with a decent zoom.  Without knowing much about what setting I should use, I just zoomed madly, and tried not to shake too much.

The robin is a highly territorial bird, who will fight any other robin it assumes is taking over its territory.  This means you will only see the one male bird (and one female during fledging season) within a garden or three. They will sing all year round, even on the darkest winter's day - holding their territory by warning intruders with their song and their red breast.

Eventually the robin was replaced in his singing spot by a magpie, who was probably asserting his authority. 

I did find the robin in a nearby tree still singing away....

 'Art thou the bird whom Man loves best, The pious bird with the scarlet breast, Our little English Robin'. 
William Wordsworth 


Monday, 11 March 2013

The March of Winter?

Just under a week ago I was in the garden in shirt sleeves with the sun beating down on a beautiful warm day ripping up vast swatches of ivy and preparing the garden for the growing season.  Today we are reminded that winter hasn't gone quite yet, we woke up today to snow flurries and a fiercely cold wind. 

Daffodills amongst the snow flurries

It feels like winter this year has been icy and neverending, we've had snow several times which isn't usual this far south in England.  Spring will come of course, and we only have to see the flowers that are starting to bloom.

The lovely primrose and lesser celandine peeking through the dead leaves, as if to prove things will grow again.  

When down visiting in Devon we've sometimes heard buzzards circling high overhead, but rarely see anything.  I took this appalling picture which actually shows a buzzard in between the trees.  He did swoop a lot lower but I wasn't fast enough to catch him.  The exciting thing is that when we returned home, we actually saw a buzzard flying high over our garden at Hazel Cottage.  

Spot the Buzzard!  - no prize I'm afraid!
We made some halloumi cheese at the weekend - even though I did everything correctly, when we came to fry the cheese I was convinced that it would melt, but it worked pretty well and kept its shape.  I need to work on draining the whey a bit more, but it otherwise worked.    I will post pictures to this blog soon!