Friday 31 December 2010

An Early First Foot

Brambling And Sparrow

Although tonight is the Hogmanay festival in Scotland, when we might expect our First Footers to pay us a visit, we had our first-ever visit - in 20 years - from a pair of Bramblings this month.

A Corner Of The Barn

Bramblings are similar in looks to Chaffinches, though their breasts are dark russet on top with white underbellies. Though we have seen several sightings of them on Winter walks, we have not seen them at Barleycorn before.

View From The Back Door

The reason for their proximity to the house was the freezing temperatures and the heavy falls of snow. The low Winter sun on the snow made for picturesque scenes in the garden, and the Big Freeze meant we had the pleasure of feeding more birds at the stations than in Summer.

Taz Indoors

Not only did we have the company of our feathered friends, but also Taz, the Barn cat, who preferred to snuggle up beside the radiator for spells each day and forego his occupation of the Barn.

View Across The Field

This did not stop him catching the mice in the Barn for his supper. For while he has the camouflage of the trees in Summer when he goes a-hunting, he has to rely on nocturnal mammals in Winter.

The Bird Station

Each morning, we could detect the tracks of the local cats, the early birds and a Fox in the fresh snow. Perhaps it is our friend from earlier this year scavenging once more, now that we have had more snow.

This Winter the local farmer has sheep grazing in the adjacent field. The artesian well has filled again bringing Mallards each morning, flocks of Crows and Rooks and hundreds of Pigeons gorging themselves on the grain left in the furrows.

The video this month is called Garden Birds In December 2010. The music which accompanies it is from my CD Pan Pipes Of The Andes and the track is Llamada Se Los Buitres which I chose because it reminded me of whistling birds. The Bramblings are at the end of the video.

I hope you enjoy it...and, as we say in Scotland at Hogmanay, Lang May Yer Lum Reek, which, roughly translated, means... May you always have enough fuel to keep your fire going to keep you warm...and what more could we want during a cold Winter?

Happy New Year, Everyone!