Tuesday, 30 April 2019


Yesterday morning I could see seven eggs in the Blue Tit nestbox.
Unlike previous days Mrs BT spent most of the day on the nest.
I assumed she had finished laying but when she nipped out this morning ...


... the total is now eight.
She didn't leave the nest for very long and is back keeping the eggs warm.

Monday, 29 April 2019


Spotted this small fly with its feathery antennae a few days ago.
As far as I can tell it is a midge of the Chironomidae family.
I was surprised how close it let me get with the iPhone to take a photo.

Midge IMG_0605

On the nestbox front it looks as though there are now seven Blue Tit eggs in the nest.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Definitely Six

This morning I had a clear view of the eggs in the Blue Tit nestbox


Saturday, 27 April 2019

Song Thrush

Yesterday I was delighted to see a Song Thrush visit the garden.

Song THrush

Song THrush

A short video.
A bit wobbly, even after stabilization, as I was taking it hand held while reaching over the kitchen sink.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Your Guess is as Good as Mine

When Mrs BT moved out of the way this morning:


Is that three or four eggs?

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Now We Are Two

This morning two eggs can be seen in the Blue Tit nestbox


I wonder what the final total will be.
Average is 5 to 7 though there can be as many as 15.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Do You See What I See?

Mrs Blue Tit has spent the past five nights sleeping in the nestbox.
Video clip of her settling down the first night:

Most nights she has avoided sleeping in the middle of the nest.
Also she is careful to keep to the edge of the nest during day visits.
From past experience that should mean she has started laying but not ready to incubate yet,

This morning I managed to grab a poor video snapshot when she left the nest.


Near the centre of the nest it is possible to make out at least one egg.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The Flaming Parrot and the Ice Cream

I don't usually bother to plant tulips.
I like them to look at but rain and wind often makes their display short lived.
Last year I couldn't resist a couple I saw advertised so decided to give them a try.

IMG_0603     IMG_0612

On the left - Flaming Parrot. On the right - Ice Cream
I love them and so far the weather has been kind.

On previous topics:
The garden pond is still teeming with wriggling, growing frog tadpoles.

Mrs Blue Tit continues to add to her nest in the camera nest box.
Looks as though she is now collecting finer material to line it.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Busy Day for the Blue Tits

Mrs Blue Tit spent much of the day building her nest in the camera nestbox.

Mr BT also made lots of visits usually ended up being gently pecked to get out of the way.
I did spot one visit where he brought food for Mrs BT.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

All Change in the Nestbox

The Great Tit seems to have lost interest in building a nest in the camera nestbox. After one day of hard work the next day showed no activity. That was followed by a short burst the next day followed by another day of no activity.  Today, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted new activity. A bird was removing some of the coarser nesting material. At first I assumed Mrs. Great Tit had decided to use it for another nest elsewhere. Then it dawned on me. It was a Blue Tit which was removing material.

That went on for a while and then she started bringing finer dried material to build her own nest.
Will she get away with it? Who will finally settle in to raise a brood?

Monday, 15 April 2019

AR2738 Revisited

Managed a few shots and a video clip in the gaps between clouds this morning.

Cropped photo:

Saturday, 13 April 2019

All Systems Are Go

After weeks of no bird activity in the nestbox, today there were about 100 visits.
Mrs Great Tit worked all morning and most of the afternoon with an hour lunch break.

Let's hope they are successful this year.
Last year the nest was nearly finished when a bumble bee took possession.

Soundtrack is
Disco Lounge by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Friday, 12 April 2019

Another Spring Favourite

Not sure whether this tree we see on our morning walkabout is a flowering cherry or flowering almond.


Either way it brightens up a frosty Spring morning.

Thursday, 11 April 2019


Always guaranteed to put on a small show each Spring:


Unfortunately they don't seem to multiply very fast.
Must try to remember to order more in the Autumn.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Lone Sunspot

Sunspot activity runs in 11 year cycles.
Although it is a period of minimum Sunspot activity the occasional one appears.
It was a bit difficult trying to photograph the Sun with the amount of patchy cloud yesterday.
Sunspot AR2738 is just coming in to view.
It may not look much but is said to be larger than planet Earth.


Gentle reminder -
do not look directly, or point your camera, at the Sun unless you have a suitable solar filter.
I wrote about the one I use HERE.

Monday, 8 April 2019

White Hedges

At last we have reached the time of year many field hedgerows are starting to show their flowers.


Blackthorn flowers

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Public Footpaths

Following my last post I had an interesting set of questions from Mick in Australia.
We (I) can tend to take for granted what surrounds us.
Most of the following applies to England and Wales as Scotland may have slightly different rules and regulations.

What is a Public Footpath? Put simply it is a legal right of way across private land.
Most will date back hundreds of years though occasionally new ones are added.
Every local authority has to keep a definitive map / record of every Public Footpath in their area.

There are several types of Public Footpath, each with different rules on who can use it.

They are marked by signs with different colours.
This explanation from Walks Around Britain:

Screenshot 2019-04-07_07-27-07-252

There are hundreds of miles of Public Footpath across the country:

My local area from Footpathmap.co.uk:

Screenshot 2019-04-07_07-39-02-892

The vast majority of Public Footpaths are across rough open or farm land though occasionally one will go through someone's garden. It is normally the land owners' responsibility to make sure any footpath on their land is free of obstruction. Some are jointly maintained by local authorities. Some in my village usually have vegetation trimmed twice a year.

Where a Public Footpath meets or crosses a highway there should be a sign to indicate its presence.

DSCN9484    DSCN9485

There can also be small coloured arrows to indicate the direction of the footpath:

DSCN9481    DSCN9482



There can be conflict between land owners and footpath users.
Much can be caused by irresponsible dog owners not keeping their pets under control, especially where footpaths go through fields containing livestock.

Friday, 5 April 2019

A Walk on the Full Spectrum Side

It's been quite a while since I gave the Canon 1200D an airing. That is the camera which had the internal UV filter replaced with clear optical glass. The first thing I have to do before each session is reset the white balance. That is done by photographing something green and instructing the camera to use that as the white balance level. I always take a photo of the lawn.

Today's mid-morning walkabout was in full sunshine though the breeze still had a cold edge.
Focussing is not easy as IR and UV light have slightly different focal lengths to the light wavelengths the camera was designed to use. Instead of autofocus I have to use manual focus in live view on the LCD. That can be difficult to get spot on with bright light from the Sun on the screen.

Anyway, here are a few from our walk. All have some tweaking to the RAW files in Affinity Photo.

A quick shot of Winter Pansies:


Footpath to the back of the church:


The South side of the church:


An old tree in the churchyard:


Footpath to Mill Lane:


Mill Lane:


Sheltered Housing:


Ladybirds on nettles:


Blackthorn along Old Mill Lane:


On our way back along the main street:


To finish off - orchid still in full bloom:


Some subjects work better than others.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Frosty Mornings

For the second morning running it was well and truly frosty on our early morning walkies.
Any pools of water in the lane were solid ice and most surfaces covered in frost.

Wheelie bin handle




Growth on the garden pond waterfall



Fortunately this time of year it soon melts away as the Sun starts to shine.
I had a quick look at the tadpoles in the pond and was relieved to see them still moving, if somewhat slowly.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Hot Lips

No. I'm not referring to the M*A*S*H character Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan.

Late last year I wrote about a plant I had seen locally which had small white flowers with bright red lips. I discovered it was Salvia Hot Lips. The six plug plants I ordered have been growing in the greenhouse over the winter and are just showing their first flowers. Disappointingly the ones I have seem to be pure red but are pretty none the less. I have read that the colour can change throughout the year so they may yet develop the white later on..

Two I have planted out, the rest will be put outside soon.



I would describe this bushy plant as half hardy as it can stay evergreen if the weather doesn't get too frosty. Mine have kept their leaves right through the Winter while in the unheated greenhouse.

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