Nature Report – W/e 12th Jan 2014

The blackest month in all the year
Is the month of Janiveer – Old Proverb

Weather

January was beginning to be rather black up until a couple of days ago due to all the rain and persistent wind we keep having.  However as soon as the rain stop the sun (mostly) appears and I find myself feeling not so gloomy any more.  The continuing rain had made much of the countryside sodden and unbearable to walk on.  Even flat, grass areas were muddy where the worms leave their casts.

However I awoke on Sunday morning, opened the curtains and before me was the hardest frost we’d had since last Winter.  Everything was glistening and white, that shining blanket that only a hard frost can deliver to everything on the outside of the house.

Once again the temperatures have stayed relatively mild, although it’s very cold at night.  As for Sunday, well even then it didn’t take long for the frost to disappear as the sun came over the horizon.  I suspect though that the harsh weather is on it’s way.  I’ve not noticed before but whatever weather USA gets we tend to get over here.  I don’t know how true that is but if it is even slightly true then we’re in for some extremely cold temperatures.

Habitats

Mostly urban areas, parks and a playing field.  All close to home as both weather and work have kept me mostly indoors.  There is plenty to watch in the garden now which is a growing habitat in itself.

Birds

At last, the black bird has made its definitive appearance in the garden.  Not just one, a pair no less!    And if that wasn’t news enough I even spotted the robin, great tits, and blackbirds all in the garden, all at the same time the other day!

I decided to buy some plain porridge oats to add to the table to keep the doves and pigeons happy enough without spending a fortune on seed which is meant for the smaller birds.  Bird noise is on the up again in the garden.  It had gone quite quiet as most birds were off elsewhere but it would seem they are mostly back – especially the black birds who I can hear once again daily just before the sun goes down.

The other bird spotted in the garden yesterday was a kestrel.  A very small one, but there all the same.  It landed on the fence in between our house and the neighbours without any worry.  Then it headed over to another garden to sit on top of a garage roof so it could get a better sight on a thick privet hedge that contains many sparrows.

After about three minutes of sitting, it spied what it wanted, swooped down and took off.  I couldn’t see if it had managed to grab itself a meal though.  It’s the first kestrel I’ve seen in the garden.  Usually we get a sparrow hawk.

While I was out for a walk the other day with Mouse, just as the twilight was upon us, I happened to look up and to my great surprise I spotted something rather large and feathery sat high up on a telegraph pole.  I kept looking and looking at it, from all angles.  It looked just like and owl, but a very big one.  It was just too high to be able to get a good ID on it.  It’s head moved, although not very much and I walked straight home to see what bird it could be.

My bird books couldn’t identify it either so I went out the follow day to see if it may have been using the post as a stage before heading out to hunt.  Low and behold the next day it was there again.  Lucky?  I think not.

Turns out it’s rather fake.  A bird that looks very much like an owl to scare other birds away.  Shame though – there was me thinking I’d spotted a new mega owl right here in Grimsby!

Trees and flowers

Almost all deciduous trees are asleep but their buds are beginning to swell.  I have noticed a few cherry blossoms with flowers though.  Mostly they are in shaded spots so I wonder if that’s helped them along?

Bulbs are just making an appearance through the ground now.  I’m pleased I planted so many.  It will be nice to see flowers again.  I suspect there is more to be seen in the woods.  Urban streets and gardens are certainly more bare at the moment.  The only berries I have seen belong to a rather beautiful set of pyracantha I have seen draped over a front door.  One side being red the other being yellow.  It’s quite a sight.

Mammals

Our grey squirrel is now making a daily visit into the garden.  So far he’s tried eating the bird seed and peanuts that were loose on the ground, then he hunted out some of the ground bulbs to eat and after that he spent time trying to break open the peanut holder.  I think he’s hungry, although he looks healthy enough.

6 responses to “Nature Report – W/e 12th Jan 2014

  1. A kestrel sounds like a rare and special treat to see. I hope the cherries don’t all bloom too soon and get caught in a frost! I feel like that happened most every year at my parents’ house growing up. It’s hard to blame them for wanting spring to hurry up after so many dark wet days though.

  2. I found some popcorn when cleaning out my cabinet. I wondered if it would be a good thing to pop it and put it out for birds and squirrels — what do you think? (I love the squirrel photos)

    • Sounds like a great idea to me as long as it’s not covered in either sugar or salt.
      Pleased you like the photo’s. I took them from indoors so the reflection of the glass has taken some of the colour depth away from the photo’s but he’s rather shy so the minute I try and go outside to capture him he scoots off!

  3. Lovely images. January sure is the darkest month and is always a struggle for me. It’s lovely to have those brighter days amidst the gloom. I feel like a switch goes on and off inside with regard to light levels!

    • Thanks for stopping by. It’s really nice to hear you like the photo’s. I know what you mean about a struggle. I was an early riser until Winter came, now it’s all I can do not to be asleep most of the day!
      Not to worry though – spring is just around the corner (well, almost), but until then – make the most of any sunshine. I try and get out every day (sunny or not), just to make the most of the the light on my skin. It does help.

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