Tea cards

Walking round a charity shop I came across this bundle of tea cards. As you can see the back of one says its a collection of pictures of British butterflies. And yet the top card is a bird?

When I looked at the cards there were a few birds mixed in with the butterflies and there are also duplicates in the pack.

Tea cards, and cigarette cards too, used to be included in the packaging of the product to help sales. I used to collect them myself when I was a child. But you had to rely on getting the right card in the box to make a set so I didn’t ever get a full set.

I guess it’s similar to pokemon cards in the 1980s or 1990s.

Anyway I like these. They are bright and cheerful. I just wish I had the album to stick them in.

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Ducks

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Well a duck and drake actually. Bog standard Mallard ducks, but I do think they look smart. The male (drake) has the green head and ring round his neck. The female duck has neat brown feathers bounded by white edges. These were photographed on a cold day about a month ago.

It’s soon going to be time for little ducklings to emerge from their eggs. In a few weeks time I might be taking pictures  Of some of them.

Meanwhile I hope you enjoy this image of nature.

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Looking out

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When a cat wants to look out of the window they don’t care what’s in the way. A few days ago I found one of my cats with their back half on the box of bird food and their front paws on the window ledge. The bird activity at the moment is quite busy because of the warm weather we have been having. It was 18 degrees Celsius yesterday in this area and has been 19 degrees in the Midlands today. The highest temperature in the country today was 20 degrees the hottest since records began for a February day. The normal temperature is about 5 to 8 degrees at this time of year. Last year when the beast from the east was here we were getting lows of minus 5 degrees.

Part of the reason for all this is the fact that Britain is in a temperate area. We have winds that arrive from all directions, and depending on the direction we get lots of varied weather. At the moment we have had a high pressure area situated over us so we are in a quite stable situation. There is a big dip in the jet stream so warm air is being pulled up from the south. We are actually in warmer air than in Greece at the moment. The pressure is due to reduce and we are expecting cooler air and some rain later in the week.

Anyway I was talking about birds but got distracted.  My husband bought a woven birds nest yesterday that wrens can nest in. We are expecting blue tits to nest in the garden this year and we also get blackbirds that nest in the hedge and the ivy on the house. The only problem is this warmth is bringing insects out but their food plants are not flowering yet. We need it to be cooler for at least another month .

The cats enjoy watching the birds, chattering at pigeons and sparrows. I’m glad we don’t let them out in the garden. But we have many cats that visit so we try and keep the vegitation cut enough but leave some cover for birds to hide in.

Anyway I’m feeling pretty bad at the moment with tonsillitis so I think I will just leave this ramble here.

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Sunday walk

After all the fun of the panto we went for a Sunday afternoon walk round  westport lake.

As the temperature had soared to over 16 degrees it was very busy and we only just managed to find a parking space. After a lunch in the visitor centre we got some duck food and walked about two miles round the lake. There are catkins on the trees and baby iris plants starting to come up along the edge of the lake  The site is now run by the Staffordshire wildlife Trust who have done a lot of groundwork to make the place much more pleasant for people and animals alike.

Well worth a visit.

Dawn chorus

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It’s twenty to five in the morning and I can hear birds singing outside on this cold February morning. We have been feeding the birds over the winter and last week my partner invested in an extra long bird feeding tube to accommodate them.

We have had house sparrows  blackbirds, blue tits and great tits  robins, and a tiny wren visiting the feeders. There are also wood pigeons and a collared dove that visits and a grey squirrel that hangs upside down from a branch and takes food from the feeders too.

When a blackbird sings its usually on top of the neighbours chimney or high in the branches of a tree. You can tell the age of a blackbird by its song. As it gets older the song becomes longer and has less repeats in it. Robins are also beautiful singers with sweet liquid notes which are a high volume considering how small they are. The other tiny birds make less interesting cheep cheep or tsee tsee songs, one makes a teecher teecher song, and there are individual whistles and tunes. There are sometimes magpies which chatter away. I always know if the blackbirds have been disturbed because they make a loud pink pink pink noise to confuse predators such as cats.

In fact urban birds are apparently louder singers because of having to sing above traffic noise.

This year we have bought an extra nest box and placed it in the ivy next to the window. This offers cool shade when the sun gets hot in the spring..

Well I go back to bed now as the chorus seems to have died down. Other early things happening are blue bells coming into flower in February (they are in a box by the house) there must be a bit of a microclimate  but everything, including the temperature, seems too soon this year. Maybe it’s to do with the jet stream and global warming?

Grainy shots of herons

Honestly there are Herons here!

Old Nog, flying on wide wings,

Flapping slowly across the sky.

A flight to a nest

Long legs and neck extending

Squabbling with its mate.

Grey dots in my camera’s lens,

Specks of dust, motes in the air

I see them there.

Herons, like long necked dinosaur birds,

Cawing and squawking.

Flailing legs and beaks.

Life is returning to the lake.

Watch the birdie

 

I just went into the kitchen, the cat had been sitting on top of the tub of Bird food but he had moved and had his paws on the window ledge, crouched down and looking out. So I crept up behind him and saw what he was looking at. We just got a really large bird feeder and the birds love it. I guess there will be a lot more birds in the garden.

I’m glad he’s an indoor cat. …

He also likes scratching his claws on the settee although he has two scratching posts.  Being the cats mother is an interesting job.