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I adore garden birds and we always have feeders up and provide shelter and water for the local birds. There are quite a collection of regulars including; blackbirds, sparrows, blue tits, chaffinches, collard doves, wood pigeons. Occasionally we have a greater spotted woodpecker drop in and in the winter we have been known to see a redwing, if there is snow on the ground and we have put apples out.

The other day I was in the garden and noticed although the large flocks of starlings had come down for the crusts of bread I’d put out (soaked in water, so not a choking hazard to little uns) that once the bread was cleared they start to prod at the grass looking for leather jackets and ants. There was an ant’s nest under the bird bath and I saw one starling delicately picking up single ants and placing them under its wing. It’s known as anting, the ants spray formic acid as a defence and its thought that the birds are using this either as a mite repellent or as a feather conditioner. We get large flocks of starlings, and call them the Dyson Squad as the descend on mass and hoover up any food in the garden. They gather at dusk on the house roofs and leave on mass. We get to see them swirl sometimes, especially if the sparrowhawk comes round as they chase it off.

The sparrows have nested for a third year running in the loft. They are on their third brood this year.

The blackbirds need asbos! They are bonkers! They have decided the bird bath is theirs and chase off anything that comes..but the sparrows come in gangs and the black bird can’t chase a dozen of them, so while he’s chasing one the others nip in the water. There are dedicated ‘wash a starling’ sessions where one bird notices we have a bird bath and the whole crew comes down for a wash, very social birds, they bath with a friend or 3! The sparrows sit just out of reach and enjoy the splashing till the starlings finish then they go in.

Wash a starling day

Wash a starling day

Time Team investigations in the garden

After the ‘Dyson squad’ made a visit at lunch time, I went out to refill the baths for them all and noticed the grass looked like it had been Geo-physed by the Time Team people, the lawn was covered in holes. (Good for aerating the grass though).

Garden Birds do a Time Team Investigation

Garden Birds do a Time Team Investigation

Loads of holes where the starlings beaks had dug in the ground looking for tasty morsels.

Garden Birds do a Time Team Investigation

Garden Birds do a Time Team Investigation

The blackbirds are joining in with the Time Team experiment and have opened up a ‘trench’ in the rockery!

Blackbirds opened up a 'trench' in the rockery

Blackbirds opened up a ‘trench’ in the rockery

All the feathered Time Team are very keen and have been back several time for further investigations.

Haven’t seen the robin for a while, I think he’s hiding out moulting as there was a juvenile robin some weeks back. The pair of dunnocks has gone into hiding after their little un fledged too.

Bless em!

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Welcome Back  

In today’s post a couple of pictures of the snow we had here the other week. My attempt at a snowman didn’t go entirely to plan, the body was a pile of snow. But since we had powdery snow I was unable to make a decent snow ball so couldn’t do his head properly. DH had a go and his snowball is on top…hense Nearly Headless Nick. Fans of Harry Potter will get the joke ;)  

Nearly Headless Nick, the almost headless snowman!

The garden looked very beautiful in the snow  

Billie's Back Garden in the snow, December 2009

This is the heaviest snowfall we have had in SE England in about 20 years and the first before Christmas in 30 years. As ever in the UK, all the snow was gone in a week.

Please send healing thoughts this way though, between playing in the snow and sorting out the birds, I have hurt my back again :( Wrecked it Christmas eve. If I sit very still it only aches, moving hurts like hell. I’ll try to keep posting, but if rest will fix my back, then I’ll need to take the time to let it recover. 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon  

Billie :)

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Welcome Back 

Well I must have been a very good girl last year, as I received some lovely pressies for Christmas. Here are a few highlights. 

From my husband, some wonderful stamps from Glenda Waterworth’s Elusive Images range and Black UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel). From my mother in law; a Bind It All, so handy for quick projects. I was a bit naughty and bought myself a few pressies too, some of the snowflake dies from Spellbinders. 

My Creative Christmas pressies for 2009

 

When my back improves I hope to bring you some inspiring projects to tempt you to play too. 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon 

Billie :)

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