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After at least 9 years wi’ my trust fuji finepix have upgraded to 16million pixels and a 22x wide zoom… not got the hang of it all yet but here a few starters.

sunlight and beech leaves, soaring cow parsley/hemlock, fuzzy young blue tit, some o’ the gang (last count 21), happy duck in the river, wee cock sparra, scavenging dunnock and lastly a jaunty chiffchaff

sunlight through beech leavessoaring sprig of of dried cowparsley or hemlockfuzzy young bluetit on the peanut feederhappy duck sitting on a submerged stone in the riverthe gang on a  wall - last count 21a wee cock sparra in his denwee dunnock scavenging under the bird feederchiffchaff captured on a twig of philadelphus

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So where on earth did all that time go? Happy new 2013 to one and all!

Went off up the hill this morning to take a photy of  the bleak owing to the dull light and foggy conditions.  Nothing too exciting to see however but found a wee bit of colour and an unexpected primrose. In fact it looks like there will be a super bank of them later on. Cheers!

The Bleak!

Decaying Hips - January

Unexpected Primrose - January

My middle of June was busy. A visit to the Borders Book Festival followed by the first few days of the Melrose Festival. In all I managed four events at the first and saw a couple of the second. All my summer socialising stuffed into 5 days!author as an oystercatcher

But back to the birds…  oystercatchers in particuler.
One of the smaller flat roofs in the town has, for a few years now in the spring and summer, played host to a visiting pair of oystercatchers. Therefore what better than to dress up as one of the black and white birdies for the Melrose Festival fancydress parade. I have a wardrobe full of black/white/red clothes so sewing on paper feathers and a few modifications to make  wings and creating a big beak was all it took. On Tuesday this big bird fluttered off down the street to join a growing crowd of children and some couples and groups of adults, all dressed up and ready to go. We were duly judged in our respective groups and set off to parade round the town following the pipe band! And very jolly we looked too. (p.s. guess who came first in her class? mind there was only one entry)

oystercatcher chickA few days after this giant oystercatcher posed in the garden a funny thing happened… the real thing appeared. Tiny and fairly helpless a chick made its way from the relative safety of the nest on a neighbouring flat roof. It seemed to have wandered over the edge and across our flat roof and dropped unscathed into our garden. Spotted in the morning running and calling to attract a parent, around the bergenia and hosta plants.

Eventually the adults found him and flew down to comfort and feed the noisy toddler. A worm was deposited in front of the wee yin and was gone the next time I looked, the parents performed the same ritual all day – not sure if another chick remains on the roof, mibbe? because they went between the two places all the time. The mother would also sit in the flowerbed and the chick would climb into her feathers. So the garden oystercatcherwas more or less out of bounds, the birds got a bit more used to us being close as the day wore on.

Nightime was quieter and only punctuated with the chicks’ peeping call when left alone.
Unfortunately around dawn either jackdaws or crows found and attacked the little chap. I found him near a small shrub later, he had been far too small to defend himself and sadly the parents had been out the way.

On a lighter note, we have found that a blackbird is sitting on a nest (a second clutch?) of  tiny babies in another corner, here’s hoping they all make it.

Speckled Wood butterfly, behaving exactly as described here.
Very fluttery and quick but I stalked them till they sat still for a moment. The male could be chasing another male or a female, either way they make a wee walk more fun., ‘specially the bit where you lean too far over the edge of the path and nearly slide downhill into the undergrowth… eek!

Speckled Wood Butterfly Speckled Wood Butterfly
May Blossom Bluebells

Another spring, and despite the “smog” took a set of photys around the top of the hill. Comparing them with those from last year (about a fortnights difference), the same plants are out but there might be a bit of cross over with the primroses still in flower.
After ten years I have finally caught the fabled Duke of Argyle’s Teaplant, the winter conditions and the warm dry spring must have prompted it into flower. Or I have just wandered past it for all those years? Nahh!
The number of orange tailed bumblebees took me by surprise too. At first I was sure that only one was following me around till I came to the whins – there were more than a dozen of them! but would they sit still for me, of course not.

I have included the sign describing the castle, click on it for a large, readable version.

And here is the song Another Spring performed by Nina Simone… enjoy

Duke of Argyll's Teaplant lilac
may blossom - hawthorn wallflower
ivy flowers fern furl
Orange Tailed bumblebee bluebells
red dead nettle and primrose Halton Castle signage
buttercup dandylion

I have to admit that last years photys were brighter and more colourful. Sunnier day, or sunnier photygraffer?

  1. Duke of Argyll’s Teaplant
  2. light colourd lilacs
  3. may blossom (hawthorn)
  4. dark orange wallflower
  5. sinister ivy flowering
  6. fern furl
  7. annoyed Orange Tailed bumblebee
  8. english bluebells
  9. primrose, goosegrass (stickywullie), red deadnettle
  10. Halton Castle sign, click to read
  11. buttercup
  12. dandylion

Female Orange Tip butterfly, only showing the green and white pattered underwing, but how fluffy and perfect is she? Glad I left the Honesty to flower and it is already making the lovely seed “pods”.

Quite unnoticed by me the forgotten pot and bucket of grape hyacynth (muscari) had grown, multiplied and bloomed! So jolly and springy. And today it promises to be warm again. The daffs are out in the street too so here’s hoping they are left alone for us all to enjoy.

A bit straggly I know but has made me feel more optimistic about restoring the wee flower bed and rejigging the space in the coming months.

bucket o flowrs

The deep glowing blue of the flowers is not represented accurately, my wee camera does tend to freak out with some colours but I didn’t want to fiddle with the pic.

grape hyacynth

Also awake is the first wee violet, these lettle devils are impossible to move so I’m just letting them grow wherever unless they are a nuisance.

violet

forsythia – pruned last year to get rid of the longest straggly branches, this has forced the flowers in nearer the base.

forsythia

Spring’s Near a few pics taken whilst stumbling about the locality in the past couple of days… will caption them later 🙂

crocus clump primrose spring fungi Aminata Fulva
crocus crocus clump spring fungi

Captured earlier today, a furry acrobat nabbing as much as he can from the birds fatballs. Having failed to destroy the replacement seed feeder he/she has resorted to hanging by three toes and ripping through the green plastic nets!
The replacement seed feeder is held onto the branch by a bulldog clip and two medium sized safety pins – I defy the fuzzy critters to work that out!

After a while fiddling with facebook and not managing to add my flickr photys I have managed to add them here! Hooray! See the panel on the left showing my most recently added 4 pics.

planetaye @ redbubble

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planetaye @ Flickr

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