Saturday 27 November 2010

O, For The Wings

Female Sparrowhawk

At the beginning of November when the harvest bales had been gathered in and the adjacent field lay empty, a female Sparrowhawk graced us with her presence by landing on the post next to our bird feeders, where flocks of Sparrows graze for hours on end. With so much food on tap, she is becoming a frequent visitor.

The Barn

This morning's weather has brought us a light dusting of snow and temperatures of minus 6 degrees. Brrr! indeed...but, with it comes the company of our feathered friends. From a very young age I have always marvelled at the infinite beauty of our garden birds; each with a different set of claws, feathers and beaks; each created for a different purpose.

Bird Tracks In The Snow

My Hubbie rose early and braved the freezing temperature - his breath visible in the chilly air - to top up the feeders and the already groaning bird-table with seeds, nuts and dried fruits. For, though a sudden fall of snow is always a bit of a shock to the system, what better way to spend a cold day than watching the antics of the birds at all the feeding stations?


As the day wore on, the Chaffinches perched high up in the Rowan tree to feel the warmth of the sun. They are with us all year round, but perfectly camouflaged when the trees are covered in leaves. And what a wonderful sight they make on a snowy day with their plumped-out chestnut feathers.

At The Bird Feeders

I love the bare bones of the garden in Winter, the silhouettes of the trees and shrubs, the frozen ponds, the outlines of birds. Rather than finding the garden boring at this time of year, the birds bring it to life once more, feasting on the remaining berries, gorging on insects around the eaves of the house and prizing open teasels and other perennials to extract seeds.

Male Blackbird

Part of the secret of having a garden is to find pleasure all year round, and not solely when the trees, shrubs and flowers are in bloom. Close observation reveals so much. Snow is a perfect backdrop for intensifying the colours of the birds. As they come closer for food, we are able to tell their food preferences, where they like to feed and be entertained by the behaviour of the pecking order.

Robin Redbreast

In surveys, the Robin is often chosen as Nation's most popular bird. Partly, this is because it is easily recognised by everyone, is common the length and breadth of Britain and never leaves our shores. It's daily appearance is a reminder of God's constant presence, and so the Robin has been chosen as a symbol of the ever-present God on our Christmas Cards, for, like God, he is always with us.


Robin is a ground feeder. He is not designed to be an acrobat, suspended upside down on the hanging feeders, like the Titmice. He, and his friend the Dunnock, are often found scrabbling under shrubs for grubs and insects. I love his habits, as he bounces upon his legs and cocks his head to one side.

Female chaffinch

Chaffinches also sing wonderful songs to us, and, as they prefer safety in numbers, we always have huge flocks of them at any one time. But, whatever the bird, each has its own charm, its own beauty, its own reason for being part of the ongoing life of the garden. Birds don't cost much to feed and the pleasure they bring supercedes any effort required by us to have their presence in our gardens. I love 'em all!

The Bird-Table

This month's video is called Our Feathered Friends. The music is Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina's Mass, Missa Papae Marcelli, for 6 voices, Kyrie. It begins with the Sparrowhawk, moves on to footage of hundreds and hundreds of Crows and Rooks foraging in the adjacent field, followed by the antics of the garden birds at the bird-table, and, lastly, skeins of Greylag Geese flying in formation over Barleycorn. Enjoy!


Cheryl said...

Dear Wildlife Garderner, Indeed winter holds a magic all of her own. I love the starkness of the season, and the fact it leads us to light.

The robin is indeed always with us. My friend comes into the shed and takes seeds from the bench. I love the fact you say 'like God, he is always with us' That is beautiful and I can relate to it totally.

How wonderful to have a Sparrowhawk as a regular visitor. They are stunning birds......the eyes are amazing.

May I take this opportunity of wishing you and yours a peaceful and blessed Christmas.
You may just like to know that little Poppi is a sheep in the nativity play. At first she was disappointed and felt sad that she was not an angel. BUT then the teacher told her that she would be telling everybody about the birth of Jesus. She has learnt her part well and I am so looking forward to seeing her play her role in church......

Linda May said...

G'Day, Yes gardens in winter hold their own special treasures. We are just coming into summer here.I love your birdie observations. Thanks for sharing them as our garden visitors are quite different here and I will probably never get to see your side of this lovely world.
Britain's cold snap made the Australian news here today, just thought I would see what your blog had to say about it, :)I Love your blog.

Sheila said...

The Chaffinches and Robins are adorable. I love getting cards from my English family as they frequently feature the robin.
The music you chose for the video is beautiful, it makes me weep. I get emotional when I hear such wonderful sound.
I would like to wish you and yours all the very best that Christmas has to offer.
With love

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

I feel as you that winter is the perfect backdrop to showcase our feathered friends. They do seem to be friends that come to visit and socialize at the feeders everyday. Other than a pot of soup bubbling on the stove, I think watching all the wildlife from the window is my favorite thing about winter. You always choose the most uplifting music to feature your lovely corner of Paradise.

Babara said...

As always it is a great pleasure to visit your blog and also listen to the music you choose for your videos. And everytime you have the perfect "sound" for your pictures...this time too, matching to the somehow melancolic season. A lot of our feathered friends have now left to warmer climates, but they'll come back in a few months. I hope you'll have a wonderful Christmas with your family. Wishing you all the best,

joey said...

Always a joy to visit and write my comment listening/watching your, as always, lovely video ... this month's so perfect for this beautiful time of year. May the joy of this blessed season surround you. Merry Christmas :)

Wanda said...

Somewhere along the way, with this new computer... I lost your bookmark. So glad you stopped by I have you saved again.

Your corner of paradise is as beautiful as ever.

Merry Christmas
Wanda from brushstrokes.

SandyCarlson said...

That dusting of snow is just perfect. Wow. These birds are interesting and beautiful.

Wendy said...

That's your barn? What a beautiful building! It looks made of stone. How enchanting. Our barns here in canada are ugly wood structures.

Your dear little robins look so sweet and puffy. Ours fly to warmer climates for winter. I wish I could join them!

And the chaffinches are adorable, sitting so colourfully in your rowan tree. Did you know that rowan trees are supposed to protect one from bad luck?
Happy winter.

Q said...

Merry Christmas!
May you and yours have the most joyous of New Years.
Always a delight to visit your gardens. I do love all the seasons. Winter for me is a time of rest. A time to plan and a time a silence.
Always you share the beautiful ways Mother Nature fills our world with wonder.

Bimbimbie said...

Wishing you and all the wildlife in your garden a Merry Christmas. I know you'll be giving them a helping hand with some food handouts to see them through the winter months*!*

Juliet said...

I have just been catching up with your blog - sorry I have left commenting so late - I meant to comment on some of your previous posts too but I've been short on time this year. I always enjoy looking at your lovely photos though, so I'll say thank you now for posting all those beautiful insects and flowers as well as the birds and snow!

I have been enjoying finding tracks in my garden too - as we are in a large village with clay soil in a flat arable landscape, we were surprised to discover that we apparently have a badger!

Wishing you all the best for Christmas and for a happy new year.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Dear WG,

Just popped over to wish you and yours a very Merry Christamas and all the best for 2011.

Yolanda and the Bliss Team

PS The Bliss garden is full of birds too, it seems they like the new birdfeeder.

Duxbury Ramblers said...

Merry Christmas to everyone :)

Marie said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family :)