Thursday, 23 February 2017


The BTO BirdTrack app is made for people like me. Birds in a list. What's not to like? Yesterday 32 species seen in the garden including Siskin. The nettle roots that form almost impenetrable ropes beneath the soil surface at the end of the birch border had momentarily beaten me. I sat on the big slab of the wood seat by my newest pond to regain my strength, reflecting on my organic principles. A tiny young male Siskin landed in the bare twigs of a beech branch overhanging the pond and chattered - buzzing, twittering - immediately above my head; almost within touching distance. Siskin song, scratchy and often from high in conifers is one of the delights in the rhythm of the year. It was not the apple green of an older male and I could see its little black bib below the bill, not as well developed as it will become. Belatedly, I realised it's song may have been indignation at being denied access to a drink.

Single male toad and frog spotted during nighttime torchlit pond searches - both in George's Pond. We planted purple loosestrife there this week: memories of Colonsay in August where they were abundant during our 2013 visit. The added impact of plants flowering en masse.

Storm Doris is blowing the garden now. Gusty showers with adjacent Bestwood Country Park closed for safety and also preventing work outside here. The wind in the trees roars. Really roars. Tiny goldfinches cling to the bucking bird feeders - ancient mariners in the rigging. The mother feeder - a huge cylinder of sunflower hearts towers to eight feet, but despite my best efforts it sags and leans in the wind before sinking like an overloaded galleon. The hen pheasants are quick to take advantage of the flotsam.
The leggy Scots Pines jostle with the weight of the westerly wind. I watch as a branch is broken from a conifer and for all its' size, sails to earth like a feather. Conifer branches seem brittle and are usually the ones causing us problems. Later, as the wind slows, a phone call from a neighbour. A really large bough has sloughed off one of our huge Atlas Blue Cedars and crushed two of his fence panels. Another neighbours' outbuildings roof is scattered across our Woodland Garden. One of our sheds has been stripped of its roof felt.

So, onto another 'must do' list: clearing after the storm.
Wounded knee preventing much driving or walking. 
I'm listing in every sense.

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