Buds on the willow tree

Ooo the fuzzy buds are opening on the old willow tree in the garden. Once they fully open the blue tits will start pulling at them, I don’t know if they get the fluff out of them to use in their nests or if they are eating insects on them?

I’m not sure what type of willow tree it is, I think it’s a wild type, one that floats in on a seed and grows, a bit like a buddlea Bush, we have them too. They sneak in, but the butterflies love them. Which reminds me, I need to prune the buddleas, you have to cut them back by two thirds before they start growing in the spring, so that’s a job to do. Spring is on the way! Gardening begins.

Chocolate and oatcakes

Afternoon tea, a couple of cheese ant tomato Staffordshire oatcakes with a dab of brown sauce and a hot chocolate with squirty cream, marshmallows and a tiny jammy dodger biscuit with a ram heart at its centre, presumably for valentines day? (which I have hubby). We had this at Westport Lake visitors centre. We sat on the balcony in a slightly chilly breeze, overlooking the lake. The geese were calling, I think they wanted bird food. But we couldn’t feed them because there us bird flu in the area and feeding a flock can help spread it. The latest news is that it has jumped species to small mammals which is very worrying. Anyway, sorry to put a downer on this post!

Winter watch is on

Winterwatch is an offshoot of Springwatch which is a programme that started on BBC TV several years ago. The presenters have changed over time, but it gives us a view of the British Isles through the seasons.

Winterwatch is lovely, seeing badgers, falcons, water rats, deer, stoats and seabirds amongst other animals gives you an idea of how they live and survive and in some cases thrive during the winter.

The programme explores wildlife and behaviour over a couple of weeks, sampling their lives and how humans affect them. The series is a wonderful reminder of nature. Some of it is filmed live during the evening programmes and also has videos of other animal activity happening at this time of year.

If you want to know more about the natural history of the British Isles during winter you can watch it in the UK on BBC 2, or the BBC I player, or the Facebook page which is called BBC Springwatch. Or bbc.co.uk/winterwatch

Birds again.

Whether or not its the time if year, I’m seeing far less birds in the garden now than I did a few years ago. We always had a flock of house sparrows flitting in and out of the hedge, and blackbirds and a Robin and bluetits. Maybe some have migrated for the year. I must get some more bird food. Now the weather is getting colder they all need more support.


Leave the nest and find a partner, lovebirds dance and coo. Symbol of love, kissing turtle doves. Blue birds fly over white cliffs, a timeless memory caught in glass. Does the sunlight shine through and cast flitting shadows, flying across the room so slowly and gradually, a slow motion, stop and go motion, drift of love. Like an orbit around the sun celebrated in a year but played out in a day. Background colours changing fron bright white to rose to purple and blurred blue.

Cheap birdbath

I wanted a birdbath/waterstation for small mammals. I decided to buy some plant pot saucers. Our garden is on a slope, so I’ve used bricks and a piece of wood to place them one above the other. I also used an oblong plant tray to hold more water. I’ve seen a blackbird nearby so I’m hoping it attracts them. I’ve put the saucers in an open area so they don’t get pounced on by cats. X


I’m enjoying Springwatch on BBC TV. It started last week and runs Monday to Thursday for three weeks. It shows you wildlife in different parts of the United Kingdom. So far there have been birds and mammals, views of Herons on the nest, nature red in tooth and claw (a hedgehog munching on some ground nesting baby birds – who knew? ) and lots more. The presenters including Chris Packham are very informative and share lots of interesting and sometimes obscure information. We are promised among other things film of Badgers this week.

Hand cranked music

Using a handle, the owner of this small but pretty organ was playing at the Etruria Canal festival today. The birds on to of the organ sang and whistled too. They could work independently of the organ and it was good to hear their beautiful sound.

I think the mechanism must drive bellows that sends air down the different pipes of the organ. I didn’t look at the mechanism but it probably runs on cardboard/wood slats with holes and slots cut into them to hold the organ stops open for different lengths of time in order to play music. Presumably the music changes speed depending on how fast the handle is spun round.


Multiple bird images drawn ib black ink fine line pen. I tried to fit the shapes together. Clearly I can’t compete with Escher and his wonderful tessellations, but it was fun to try and think about how the shapes fit together. I looked at patterns as well as shapes, so each bird is an individual. They all seem to swirl round each other.

Sculpture /planter

A metal squirrel climbs up and birds perch on this sculpture at Trentham whilst plants including tulips grow in the planter. 15 minute sketch while we were at Pieminister at the retail Village. I could also see butterflies and a spider. I decided this is an example of art nouveau or that sort of style. It’s made up of four sections bolted together.