"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

Monday, 30 January 2017

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, More Waxwing Photos and a Wildflower book

I know many of you will have taken part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch at the weekend and I do enjoy reading about people's results on their blogs. I did mine on Saturday afternoon - sunny with showers at times. Results were low again this year and as everyone knows so many species failed to put in an appearance during the hour!

So what did I see?

Wood Pigeon 4

Robin 1

Magpie 1

House Sparrow 2

Goldfinch 7

Blackbird 2

Dunnock 2

Blue Tit 3

Stock Dove 1

Long-tailed Tit 2

All the species, with the exception of Magpie, were either visiting the feeders/bird table or using the pond. I also enjoyed watching a pair of Grey Squirrels chasing each other round and round the garden :)

D and I went back to Castle Vale over the weekend to see the Waxwings. D was not happy that I had inadvertently changed a setting on the Canon Bridge Camera (no wonder my photos looked bleached out!! ) - we ended up having to return it to the factory default settings! I wish I had taken my Olympus camera with the 70-300 mm telephoto zoom as we got much closer views of the birds than when I went in the week.

Photos were taken by D and are a distinct improvement on the ones I managed!

I treated myself recently to the most delightful Wild Flower book by Margaret Erskine Wilson. The illustrations are just charming. Margaret Wilson an amateur botanist and water-colourist was the late President of Kendal Natural History Society. The book contains her paintings of British wild flowers (arranged month by month). She started them in 1943/44 to help her friend learn the names of flowers. In 1999 she donated to the Kendal NH Society 150 sheets of these paintings representing 1000 British and Irish plants and this has finally resulted in the publication of this beautiful book.

I'm making slow progress over my mother's house problems although still waiting for surveys to be completed and quotes prepared - I suspect it will be some months before life gets back to normal!


Toffeeapple said...

I wish you closer to normal than you are at the moment. Good luck m'dear.

That book looks lovely, I suspect that I shall have to have a closer look at it!

The Waxwings are such beautiful things aren't they?

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much for your very kind words and support - greatly appreciated :)

Book is superb - for some reason it is showing up on Amazon for extortionate prices. I only paid £8.99 so perhaps worth looking in WH Smith or Waterstones.

Yes, Waxwings are such lovely birds - every encounter is special :)

amanda peters said...

The Waxwings do look good, we have been very lucky this year, flower book is on its way, does look lovely, we are going to be needing it soon. We will have to come up with a plan to use it during summer :)
Amanda xx

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Waxwing are such enviably handsome birds...that avoid my home town like the plague

CherryPie said...

That book certainly looks delightful :-)

Rosie said...

The waxwing photos are wonderful, such beautiful birds and such characters too. Glad you got to see more of them. The book looks lovely and one you can dip into often just to admire the illustrations as well as being useful for identification. It is true that birds that normally visit just don't when you want them to, dunnocks and magpies were missing as well as great tits and chaffinches during our hour. It sounds as if you are moving slowly and surely with your mother's house, these things are always so complicated aren't they?. I hope all goes well for you:)

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda. Yes, we have been lucky with Waxwings - I heard of another local sighting last night! Not far from so berries I have been keeping an eye on - will visit when rain stops! You will adore the wild flower book - did you get it from Amazon? Prices suddenly seem to have increased dramatically on there! Yes, will try and think of plan!

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon - keep looking they may turn up eventually. :)

CherryPie - Thank you - it is a delightful book - really pleased with it :)

Rosie - Thanks very much Rosie. As saying to Amanda above I have heard of another fairly local sighting - I can never get enough of them :) I've left the book out as I can't stop flipping through it :) Great and Coal Tits were missing here - although to be fair we are not getting that many birds feeding at all at present :( Thanks for kind words re mother's house. So many jobs, so many complications but trying to take it a step at a time (which is not easy as I keep imagining the worst scenario!!).

Pam said...

Lovely photos of the Waxwings, I don't think i'll ever tire of seeing them! The book looks beautiful :) I hope if things with your Mums house are taking a while then they are at least running as smoothly as they can.

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks so much :) Just been to check out another local Waxwing sight but a huge flock was flying off as I arrived! Will try again! :)

Countryside Tales said...

There were waxwing in Winchester last week. Ten miles from here. I haven't given up hope! Love seeing your pictures of them . The flower book looks wonderful x

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thank you. Good to hear they are close to you and I hope you get to see some :)

David said...

Shame the Bullfinches didn't visit for your garden bird watch, but a great list nevertheless. Indeed I have never recorded Stock dove in our garden despite the fact they are common in the surrounding countryside. Even House Sparrows are rare here at Woldgarth!

Superb pics of the Waxwings, that Canon bridge camera certainly takes great pics, and hopefully you will still get a chance to photograph them with your Olympus camera some time this winter.

The book looks very, very interesting and I might try and find a copy myself (amazon have a copy at just £8.99). I particularly like books where the wildflowers are listed by season rather than colour & or name.

My continuing best wishes in regards to the ongoing problems with your mother's house, and my kindest and most sincere regards to all :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David - Thanks so much. It is strange about the Bullfinches - just that one sighting on the feeder and I haven't seen it again - would have thought once it had found the food it would have returned especially during cold spell. There again perhaps it visits when I am not looking!! We still have a good House Sparrow population here but these days rarely get Starlings. I suspect I overlooked Stock Doves for years :( So interesting to read in people's blogs how garden sightings vary.

Have just been out to another site where Waxwings have been reported but sadly no sign - does seem to be a good year for them.

Glad to hear Amazon still have copies for £8.99 - it really is a very lovely book. Very naughty of me to buy it though as I already have a shelf of wild flower books and I am sure you have a lot as well :)))) It is useful to have them season by season although I do use one I have arranged in colour quite a lot.

Thanks so much for good wishes and support re: my mother's house. Suspect it is going to be a long job - so many things to tackle and have only really made a start on the most important problem.

Sending you all by very best wishes. Caroline

Chris Rohrer said...

Yay!!!! You've got bird photos!!!! All of them are sweet birds you've seen. We'll go birding if I ever get there! It'll be fun.

I like the moss a lot. Those photos really capture their beauty.

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris. Waxwings are rather special and I do hope you can get over here one day.

So much beauty as you say in things like moss and lichens :)

Caroline Gill said...

How brilliant to see all those Waxwings. Our little group of about 9 some weeks ago represents our total for 2017...

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - thanks Caroline. There seem to be more and more reports of Waxwings appearing round here so hopefully you will get a bigger flock. Lovely birds to see though regardless of how many :)