Sunday, January 25, 2009

RSPB Bird Watch

The weekend of 24th-25th January is the Big Garden Birdwatch.
As a member of the RSPB we were asked to record the highest number of each species of bird seen at any one time in the garden during one hour this weekend. This helps the organisation learn more about the various birds and how they are faring throughout the country. After putting out a variety of foods at the feeding stations it was very relaxing to sit down and watch the different species come to eat. During the hour I recorded; blackbirds, blue tits, chaffinches, coal tits, dunnocks, goldcrests, great tits, long tailed tits, robins and a treecreeper. I did spot an unusual male Blackcap in the shrubbery and got quite excited when it actually landed on the bird table. It was an aggresive little thing and did not like sharing the food.
Watch it in action.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Stag party.

As I looked out of the window in the dim dawn light of the early morning I was suddenly aware of being watched. A young stag was helping himself to my plants a few feet away from the window. A red squirrel was enjoying a nutty breakfast and the gang of long tailed tits were swarming round the nut feeders and fat balls. Made me fancy my tea and toast.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

View down Loch Ness.

Yesterday was quite bright, clear and calm with a touch of chilly frost in the air. Went for a walk up to Aspenwood, back along the lane and down on to Inverfarigaig pier. Someone has kindly put a smart new gate at the entrance and also trimmed the gorse bushes...perhaps the Loch Ness spirits. The view down towards Fort Augustus was enveloped with snow capped mountains. The view towards Urquhart Castle and Inverness looked very tranquil. Could well be calm before the storm as rain is forecast for later today so the snow on tops might be washed away.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Goldcrest on the move.

 The tiny goldcrest is the smallest bird in the UK and therefore usually quite difficult to actually see. It feeds on insects and spiders underneath vegetation but this cheeky female has developed a taste for the peanuts in the feeders. She has also been spotted on the fat balls hanging from the branches. They flit about very quickly and we have not had them in the garden before - or have we ? See her enjoying breakfast.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Eye of the storm.

Loch Ness did not experience the gale force winds that hit the west coast and Ireland at the weekend. On Saturday evening we did have a few strong gusts travel along The Great Glen and rattle the windows but possibly we were in the eye of the storm. Woke up in the morning to a covering of snow everywhere. Went into Inverness passing Urquhart Castle jutting out on the opposite shore and silhouetted against the snowy background.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Work of art...

The rain and strong winds have finally died down and we are once again able to appreciate the clear skies and the magnificent scenery. The mountains opposite now have a light dusting of snow on tops and today the temperature has gradually dropped to about zero degrees. Drove into Inverness passing 3 buzzards. One was on a tree by lochside and two were on the outskirts of the city sitting on the tops of lamp posts with their brown and cream coats gleaming in the afternoon sunshine. The strange eerie mist coming along the Great Glen sometimes makes the mountains look like a work of art you want to frame and put on the wall.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Goldcrest returns

 The goldcrest is Britain's smallest bird,even smaller than the wren and weighing about one quarter of an ounce therefore making it quite difficult to spot in the garden. They tend to scurry rapidly around tree trunks and vegetation, rarely keeping still.This one certainly didn't want to pose for a photo shoot.I happened to notice a slight movement in a bush nearby while I was outside and then spotted the female goldcrest darting in and out of the shrubbery foraging for insects and spiders. The female has a yellow crest on the head while the male has a distinctive bright orange crest. Both have double whitish wing bars making them appear like miniature chaffinches. They do seem to thrive in coniferous woodland and their numbers are always severely reduced by a severe winter so let's hope they find enough to eat in the garden. Will keep a lookout for the male of the species.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Feed the birds.

During the very cold snap we have been experiencing lately the birds have been swarming round the various feeding stations desperate for any help with food. Unusually we have had blackbirds on the fat balls and the tiny goldcrest appeared fleetingly under the bird table picking up scraps.The ground has been frozen solid and we have had to use alot of force to break the thick ice in their water bowls and this ice is still lying on the ground. Yesterday we had a welcome thaw with refreshing rain and the temperature rose above freezing.However, during the night there was a star studded sky which allowed a sharp frost to settle with temperatures of minus 3C all day today with minus 7C forecast tonight. Fortunately this is not as cold as predicted for England and Wales and the rest of Europe.The red squirrels still appear regularly at the nut feeders. I seem to spend most of these cold days catering to the birds, squirrels, cats and then us.....hopefully making everyone happy.