"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Still No Moths, Millennium Wood and another Theatre Outing

I put out the moth trap last night for GMS Week 4. Minimum temperature recorded was minus 0.7 degrees centigrade so I wasn't surprised to find an empty trap again this morning!

I haven't been to Millennium Wood for ages so as I was in the area this morning and had half an hour to spare I made a brief visit. It was freezing cold with a bitingly cold wind.

This small nature reserve covers 10 acres and was planted with over 9000 trees and shrubs in 2000.

Most of the time (like today) I see very few birds just the commoner species such as Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blackbird, Robin and Blue Tits but occasionally visits pay dividends and I've seen large flocks of Lesser Redpoll, Long-Tailed Tits, plus Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and Bullfinches

The most productive part of the reserve, bird-wise, tends to be the area along the entrance road - there's a horse paddock on the opposite side of the road to the reserve and the hedgerows contains lots of holly bushes and mature oak trees. On the reserve side there is a layer of shrubs and bramble under the silver birches.

Last night David and I went to the Old Repertory Theatre for an event by The Rep called "Hidden Histories" which has been created by The Foundry - an artists' development programme for theatre makers, writers and directors. The evening consisted of a tour of the theatre with various events explaining the history of the Birmingham Rep which is 100 years old this year. The Rep spent the early part of its life at the Old Rep Theatre before moving to a new Theatre in Broad Street. In each of the locations we visited such as the Stage, Dressing Rooms and an Exhibition, 7 different short plays were enacted each covering an incident in the history of the Rep. It was a fascinating evening and we got chance to take part as the crowd in a scene from First Night/Twelfth Night(The Rep's first ever play). It was interesting to stand on stage and see the auditorium from the actor's viewpoint. The exhibition was very interesting with various props, programmes, costumes, miniature stage sets and information about the Rep's performances over the last 100 years. The last play of the evening was by David's friend who attends the Foundry as a Screenwriter.

Back at home the cold, snowy weather has brought in a few species that rarely visit the garden these days - Mistle and Song Thrushes though no Fieldfare this time. The Goldcrest is seen on the feeders every day and 3 wrens are still roosting in the hanging basket.

Primroses and Cowslip flowers and buds are covered in snow. I was hoping this week to return to St Giles - the churchyard I discovered last year which has masses of primroses. There doesn't seem to be much point at the moment if they are going to be as snow covered as ours.!


Em Parkinson said...

Very envious of your Goldcrest. I do wish we got them up here!

Ragged Robin said...

Em - They are very pretty little birds - hope he/she survives this cold spell and finds a mate to nest locally.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Caroline :-) Your chilly looking images are very similar to the ones I have seen here in the last few days, thankfully it has pretty well gone today though. I don't recall ever seeing a Mistle Thrush in the garden in fact I don't see them very often on my walks either. I am very envious about your garden Goldcrest too, it is amazing that they manage to survive in this awful weather!

Your theatre trip sounded fascinating. When you first mentioned the tour I thought what fun it would be to actually go on the stage...and you did! :-)

The Norfolk DVD arrived this morning!! Only ordered on Monday afternoon!! Probably won't get round to watching it for a while but I'm really looking forward to it :-)

Toffeeapple said...

My daughter lives just two minutes away from me and she gets Goldcrest in her garden but I don't, also Bullfinch.

Your Rep theatre sounds like a darned good place to go, so glad you had a good time.

I wish the weather would warm up so that everything can come off 'hold'.

Wendy said...

The one benefit of the snow is that it does draw in the rarer birds, although I've never seen a goldcrest on my feeders - I'd love to see that. Hope the snow clears soon so that we can appreciate the spring flowers at last.

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird Hi Jan :) So glad your snow has almost gone - ours is slowly disappearing but there were a few more snow flurries this morning :( Mistle and Song Thrush garden sightings are very sporadic these days. Usually in cold wintry weather and sometimes fleeting glimpses in the summer.

Am getting a bit concerned now about Goldcrest as I haven't seen it today or yesterday :(

TBH I wasn't over looking forward to theatre event especially as I only had a few hours notice but I really did enjoy it. Isn't it strange sometimes how things you are not looking forward to can be so enjoyable whereas something you are excited about tends to end up disappointing?!

Glad your Norfolk dvd has arrived - that was quick. Let me know please what you think when you do watch it and I can't wait to hear your views on the Country Diary one when it arrives. I fear I am going to succumb to buying temptation very soon :)

Toffeeapple - Its strange how gardens can vary with bird species even when they are close. We only see Bullfinches a couple of times a year.

I do enjoy the Rep - have never seen a bad performance there. Every event they put on is excellent!

Fed up here too of the cold especially the biting wind. Our daffodils are still in bud.

Wendy - The cold weather gets a bit wearing after a while. Might expect a touch of "Blackthorn Winter" in March but not one that goes on and on :( There was just one other occasion years and years ago when I saw a Goldcrest on the Nuttery appearing to eat peanuts. But the fat containers are very close to the house and so can definitely tell this time its feeding.

Hopefully things will improve in April and we'll get to enjoy the spring flowers.

Jerry said...

Great photographs and a lovely read as always! I had no moths again today either. When or if we DO get a run of mild nights it'll be interesting to see the Quakers etc. suddenly appear in numbers.

Ragged Robin said...

Jerry - Thank you so much :)

Good point in your last sentence. It was minus 3.7 here last night - and weather forecast in forseeable future is for continuous minus temps :(

ShySongbird said...

Hi Caroline :-) Just a visit to say the Edith DVD arrived today. Thankfully, no extra charges this time so £21.09 and £1.26 for delivery. Will let you know when I have watched it but I KNOW I will love it :-) I really do want to emphasise though that for the one I bought you must have a DVD player which plays all regions as it is a region 1 version, the region 2 version having been butchered to only 90 of the original 312 minutes. We purchased a multi region player a little while ago because we love old black and white films from the 30s, 40s and 50s and so many weren't available on region 2. We couldn't find any multi region players in the shops, I think that although they are perfectly legal they are frowned upon because some people buy them so they can watch brand new films from America before they are released in the UK. Anyway, consequently we had to buy ours on line. So I am a bit worried that you may buy the Edith and then find you can't play it on your DVD player. You will need to look at your player settings, if your player only says PAL or NTSC (region 0) you WON'T be able to play it, it must say either region 1 or multi region. I hope this makes sense. I would hate you to buy the DVD and then be disappointed!

Wishing you and yours a Very Happy Easter :-)

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird Hi Jan :) - So glad your Edith dvd has arrived and you escaped the extra charges :)

Thanks so much for the warning - I won't buy anything until I have double checked with Brian ( and get him to check the settings) but sadly, from what you say, it doesn't look as though we could play it here. The dvd player is on the blink by the looks of it and will only play some dvds anyway. If we go ahead and have to buy another one I will get Brian to look at the multiregion players online.

I presume computers with dvd drives won't play Region 1 - I am totally useless and a real technophobe but again I'll ask Brian.

As you say the region 2 version has been "butchered" - I wonder why they have cut it down to 90 minutes? to keep costs down I suppose but it does seem a shame when you can buy full series of so many other tv programmes.

I know you will love it Jan - I only have vague memories as it was so long ago but I know I really enjoyed it. Let me know what you think when you have watched it :) and thanks so much again for the warning.

A very Happy Easter to you and your family too :)

Bovey Belle said...

I can say snap for your Goldcrest this week (see my recent post). There must be more around than I ever notice. LOTS of bird activity at the moment so they must be more optimistic than me!

I smiled at your three wrens roosting in the hanging basket. We have an absolute colony which cwtch up together in the space above (and behind) our bedroom window (walls 3 feet thick). I counted 86 one year, going in, and may have missed a few. I can hear them in the night sometimes, claws scrabbling as they move along the plasterboard above the window aperture. We have some more who go in the ends behind the bargeboards too, but the middle section is given over to House Sparrow Headquarters . . .

ShySongbird said...

Hi again Caroline. I tried the DVD on my computer last night and it (the computer) told me it was set to region 2 (which was to be expected) and would I like to change the setting to region 1 which I did and it played fine. Whether all computers give that option I'm not sure my laptop is only about a year old and is Windows 7. Perhaps Brian could look into your computer settings. Anyway we watched the first 25 minute episode last night and I was completely enchanted! I do hope you are able to get it eventually. I'm sure I must have seen it originally but don't remember it. The acting, photography and atmosphere is just lovely.

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - So pleased you are getting Goldcrests - must check out your recent post sometimes My Blog List fails to update and I don't think I have read that one.

I can't believe the amount of wrens you have roosting - wonderful :) Sounds like some sort of record to me - I checked out maximum amount recorded recently and I am sure it was less than that. Its amazing the places they find too roost :)

ShySongbird - Hi again Jan :) Thanks so much for checking your new Edith dvd on the computer for me. Our desktop must be about 5 years old now and I am ashamed to admit I haven't a clue what Windows it uses!!!! Will have to ask Brian as you suggest about that and computer settings. David has a new laptop but not sure whether it has dvd drive! I will check all the things out you so kindly suggest though.

I am so glad you enjoyed the first episode - from memory it is totally charming :) I seem to remember that you managed to get hold last year of a copy of The Country Diary Companion book which accompanied the series?

In my desperation to see the series I've been checking through a cupboard stuffed full of old videos from years ago just in case we recorded it. Sadly all I can find are Postman Pat, Thomas The Tank Engine and Fireman Sam recordings!!!! I think in those days we only videoed for us episodes of programmes we couldn't watch at the time rather than recording series to keep.

Keep on enjoying the dvd and I'll let you know if I find a way round watching (and order) the dvd.

Thanks again Jan :)

ShySongbird said...

Hi yet again Caroline :-) Sorry to keep bothering/boring ;-) you but I have found that if your computer won't play the DVD you can download the free VLC media player which plays just about everything including region 1 DVDs. If David hasn't got a DVD player on his laptop he can also download it which is what G did when he realised his laptop didn't include a player. Just Google VLC media player and you should be well away.

Still laughing about all the Postman Pat etc :-)

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird Hi again Jan :) Its lovely to hear from you again and I can't tell you how much I appreciate all your help in this :) No such thing as you bothering/boring :)

Haven't asked Brian yet - he's been sanding down wood on the staircase (mountains of dust :( ). I had a go myself but couldn't find anything out - not surprising really bearing in mind my lack of technical skills!

Thanks so much for all that information re: VLC media player - I will have a look at it now. Sounds as though it will definitely solve the problem :)

Thanks again :)

Rohrerbot said...

That looks to be nasty cold:) Poor birds. As long as they have food, they'll be okay. They love bark butter, nuts or peanut butter....unsalted. Hope spring is coming soon for you.

Ragged Robin said...

Rohrerbot - Snow's gone now but still very cold with overnight temps below freezing and day time not much better :( Think it may be milder soon but accompanied by rain!!!!

Still no frogspawn but birds in garden seem fine - putting out plenty of food :)