Sunday, 12 April 2015

Little star and Little brown one

Now that it's spring, all kinds of birds that visit our garden here at Hazel Cottage are making more noise, and there is no bird noisier than the common starling.  We have been watching them closely and we have heard some quite remarkable sounds!  I never realised how much they mimic other birds - we heard a bird of prey followed by the quack of a duck today which sounded rather funny.
Starling and winter jasmine in our garden
Starlings are often seen as noisy and swaggering birds, which is probably true, but they are quite remarkable.  They are acrobatic in flight, you only have to see the photos of the wonderful murmurations in the countryside to see that.  We often see a little group at our bird table, squabbling and chattering amongst themselves and slightly intimidating the otherwise bullish woodpigeons. 

We've been learning more also about the Dunnock.  Its name means 'little brown one' and it is one of the unobtrusive birds in the garden, usually quietly hopping amongst the undergrowth.  For such a small, generally quiet bird it has many names, hedge sparrow, accentor as well as dunnock.  This time of year of course, the dunnock is singing beautifully - I think this year is the first time  I've heard it sing and known what it was. 

Dunnock in a small hazel sapling
Two common birds in the garden, but by watching them more closely we've learned quite a lot about them and probably learned to appreciate them more.  The weather this week has been bright and lovely and great weather for taking pictures as well as gardening.  I'm very pleased with how the garden is coming along, and we haven't reached the height of spring yet.

Today in the garden

Monday, 6 April 2015

Rare as hen's teeth

Today was one of those seemingly rare things, a sunny and warm Easter Bank Holiday.  I always equate bank holidays with watching old black and white films whilst the rain pours all day outside.  Today after a non-descript Easter weekend weather wise, it was sunny, warm and clear for most of the day.

The flowering currant is now resplendent with its pink flowers.  Looking from one end of the garden to the other, you can see the pink of the currant next to the warm yellow of the forsythia.

The weeds or wild flowers are growing apace as well.  We now have speedwell growing in our lawn.  Luckily our garden isn't manicured and perfect, we rather like wild flowers unless they choke everything else!

For some reason we also have chives growing in a shady corner of the lawn as well.  Which makes a change from moss I guess.  It was wonderful to spend hours outside, looking at everything growing and listening to the birds singing.  The last week has been very busy at our local church and preparing for various social occasions at home.  I even helped our flower ladies with a few displays.

I'm sure most people would think me crazy, but when it comes to Easter, I do like to make an effort decorating the house with flowers.  And eggs and chicks!

I also enjoy making a simnel cake with home made marzipan.  This year's simnel cake went particularly well I think.  It was very tasty.

I do hope you have all had a good Easter weekend.  I would love to hear how you celebrated.