Thursday, 24 January 2013

Love Is In The Air

Yes it is, despite the snow.


This robin has been visiting the garden recently with its mate, who refused to have its photo taken. Typical. Robins are very territorial, and only tolerate another robin in their territory during the breeding season. Also had a couple of blue tits checking out the nest box, already.


So despite a very wintery picture outside, spring is definitely on the way. And how do I know that, you may ask. Have I been listening to the weather forecasts? Well no, it's more to do with observation.


Take this magpie, for instance. It has not only been flying around with its mate, but they've also been building this:


Yes, even when it was covered in snow, they continued to build this nest. Magpies do tend to nest early, so that their young can be fed on the eggs and chicks of smaller birds, but they don't usually build  the nest this early. And that would mean that the other birds should soon be nest building too. Time will tell. Of course, the magpies could have got their timing wrong. And, to be honest, they were building the nest with very prickly hawthorn branches. Ouch!

This weekend is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch when you can record the birds seen in your garden. Unfortunately, it also corresponds with the "big garden holiday" when all the birds you've seen in the garden over the past few weeks, decide to take a weekend break. They do, honestly. They've obviously been checking out the internet on their iPhones.

And finally, if you're fed up of the snow, take a look at this:


It's a hellebore, but look at the colour of the leaves. Looks like it's had a good feed, and indeed it has. You see, snow is not just water. It contains lots of minerals as well. And when the snow thaws, it not only waters the plants but feeds them too. Check out the plants in your gardens, when the snow disappears this weekend. They should be looking really happy, as long as they're not knee-deep in water, that is.

23 comments:

  1. Oby budowanie gniazd przez sroki było zwiastunem wiosny, bo u nas tez już są. Pozdrawiam.
    I hope to build nests by magpies harbinger of spring was because of us are already too. Yours.

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  2. I really hope you're right about spring and wrong about the big garden holiday. I am looking forward to putting my feet up for an hour and doing useful counting. I love your optimism about the snow disappearing - I suspect ours may still be here in June!

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    1. I should still have the magpies, robins and blue tits in the garden this weekend. They won't desert their nesting sites now, but the other birds, they'll be off.

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  3. The snow in my garden has almost disappeared, hopefully we won't get any tomorrow and that will be it for this time! Double figure temperature by middle of next week according to weather forecast - I am hoping they are right!!
    I will be counting birds on Saturday, but despite leaving food for the birds I haven't seen much besides pigeons yet...

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    1. We're expecting heavy snow on Friday night and heavy rain on Saturday night. If that doesn't tempt the birds to have a weekend away, I don't know what will.

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  4. We are still covered in snow it hasn't budged - but it has brought loads of birds into the garden, it is a full time job just keeping them fed.

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    1. Not as mant birds here in the snow. Must have gone to your garden.

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  5. I swear (although I won't) that this is my garden...same birds, same coloured snow, same hellebore...your birdtable is wayyyy posher though. Mr TG wanted to do the RSPB birdwatch today as the garden's got everything imaginable (ahem) but he swears (although he won't) that come the weekend they'll all leg it (or fly it) to someone elses garden for all the survey glory. More snow forecast this evening then the big thaw.....have a groovy weekend :-)

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    1. Hey, they won't come into your garden if you keep swearing.

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  6. Your snow photos are lovely, the first two photos in particular. I had a magpie nest in my garden last year; I wonder if they will continue to use the same nest?

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    1. My neighbour has had a magpie nest in her tree for several years, but this year they seem to have abandoned it and moved into my tree.

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  7. Very heartening to see those signs of Spring, we need something to keep us hopeful in this weather! I love the photo of the little Robin looking really rather snug in there :-)

    Lots of nice birds in the garden the last few days, Fieldfare, Redwing, Brambling, Blackcap and Pied Wagtail but today barely anything....I think the Sparrowhawk must be around....which bodes well for tomorrow!

    More heavy snow expected here too later this evening.

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    1. Yes it doesn't make for a good count does it ? Sparrowhawk 1, other birds 0.

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  8. Oh dear, I am returning to Yorkshire from Madeira on Monday.
    Hope my Hellebors are as fresh as yours!
    You might have seen some of my pictures of plants in the sun!

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    1. The snow should have gone when you get back.

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  9. Looking forward to seeing some baby robins or blue tits, which ever wins.

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    1. Probably none if the magpies have anything to do with it.

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  10. We didn't do too badly with birds for the count. I think some decided to put off the break due to the snow.

    We have bird fights going on all around the garden - mainly blackbirds but the robins and goldfinches are joining in. We've also had a blue tit checking out a prospective nesting box - sadly not the one with the web camera installed.

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    1. The blue tit obviously not a keen fan of Celebrity Big Brother then.

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  11. Ahh, I love seeing signs of spring. We have a few months yet, but I will keep my eyes and ears open.

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    1. We've a couple of months really, but then again....

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  12. Snow has been scarce here in Edinburgh and the bird count didn't go too bad, although I had spent some of the morning pottering around in the garden and there was birds in their droves, as soon as I sat down to count, most of them disappeared. So perhaps you are right, they checked their phones :)

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    1. Yes, they've got an app for that.

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