Sunday, 24 November 2013

It's for the birds . . .

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 The mornings have been really cold over this past week . . . we have even had some frost.   I think it is quite early in the year for over here.  The other day when we went out to Gordale, a glance over to the Welsh Hills showed snow laying upon their peaks, and indeed . . . a few friends of ours in Wales did see a few flakes, but no substantial amount, or any that lay.

On cold and frosty mornings I feel so sorry for the birds.   They hop about on tiny bare little feet, feathers fluffed and puffed . . .  we put out extra suet, mealy worms and cake crumbs for them.  These next few months they will need our help more than ever.

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(Earnest Walbourn)

I have always loved to watch the birds.  It is a love my sister and I share with each other.   When we were girls we used to feed the birds in the front garden.   They made so much noise in the mornings that my father made us stop because they were waking him up too early . . .

During the years that my children were really small and I was extremely busy I didn't do much bird watching.  It seemed I never had more than a few minutes to myself  in those years, and if I did . . . it was spent luxuriating in a bath or reading or just trying to catch up on the myriad of things I only ever rarely had time for.

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Once they got older though I had little pockets of time that I would spend in watching the birds.   One of the homes we lived in was backed by a tree line and we had lots of bluejays that would come to visit.  I would put out little peanut butter sandwiches for them along the back fence and watch them come to pick them up.  If I was late in putting them out they would sit outside and squawk at the house in protest.  They are cheeky little chappies.

When we lived in New Brunswick we built our own home.   It lay on the edge of a marsh in a very rural and remote spot.   There was no end to the wild life we saw from out windows . . . moose, porqupine, deer, bear . . . and the bird life was magnificent.  In Summer I had whole families of hummingbirds which frequented our feeder.  I learned a lot about them from my observations.  There was always a dominent one.  It would feed first whilst the others waited, sitting on the clothesline and only once he had done would they swoop in.   They also used to fight great aerial battles which were fascinating to watch.

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( Édouard J. Menta)

We also got flocks of Grosebeaks . . . most common were the Evening Grosebeaks, and the Pine Grosebeaks, but we also got the Rose Breasted ones which were exceptionally pretty.   Red Polls and Gray Jays were also frequent visitors.   I loved the Gray Jays.  They were very pretty . . . as were the little Juncos and Chickadees, finches . . . sparrows . . .

One morning after a heavy snow I remember looking out the laundry room window and seeing a whole flock of snow buntings.  It was amazing.

When we lived on the farm on the banks of the Georgian Bay the garden and trees around the house were filled with Cedar Waxwings, King birds, Cardinals and lovely little Nuthatches.  My sister and I were able to observe a very large Blue Heron one time, sitting on a fallen tree at the edge of the pond at the bottom of the vegetable garden.  We got quite close before it flew off, gliding over our heads with an amazingly wide wing span.  It was really quite glorious . . .

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 (Kris Blues)

The Robins over here in the UK are very different than the Robins in North America.  The North American ones pale in comparison.  Ours here are very tiny . . . only about the size of a chickadee, and are very friendly as well.  They are quite tame and will often work along side of you in the garden pulling up worms and grubs to eat  as you dig.  I love their song . . .

Down South we had no end of Song Thrushes and Jenny Wrens, Larks and the like.   Wood Peckers . . . Wagtails and almost every variety of Tit that you can imagine.  Just one of the benefits of living amidst orchards in rural England.

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(Chickadees in progress by me)

Of course here at the edge of the city we get mostly sparrows and the odd goldfinch, a tit now and again and of course robins.  Because we are not too far away from the sea, we also get gulls which come inland when the weather is rough out to sea, crows and starlings as well.

I enjoy all of our garden visitors.  I enjoy feeding them and am repaid immeasurably by hours and hours of quiet contemplation as I watch their antics in the garden . . . even if they are mostly sparrows.  I guess I just like birds.   I hate to see a bird in a cage.   I think they should all be free.

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I got this beautiful photograph in the post yesterday of my youngest son Bruce, with his partner Sarah and their fur baby Baxter.  I think it's a lovely picture, don't you?   I would not be at all surprised to hear news of impending nuptials over the next little while . . . family photo Christmas Cards are a big step towards permanence I think . . . but I could be wrong.  I only know I love Sarah and think she is a lovely girl and they made a great couple/trio.  I would love to see them get married . . .

Shall I leave you with a thought for the day?  I think I better had do before I get myself in trouble!

Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow."
- Mary Anne Radmacher  

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Pumpkin and Milk Chocolate Pudding.   Delicious!

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday!  I think we will be calling the plumber back out.  He did fix the flush yesterday, but something appears to be leaking this morning!

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