Quiz time - what on earth are these?
They are not R and my haloes. Answer at the bottom of the blog
Now to the blog.
No loaves and fishes though it feels a bit like that at times - feeding the avian population of our garden - so black sunflower seed, nyger seed and peanuts (not salted nor honey roasted).
Below are four images - the first shows feeders on the left and my dwarf - NOT a gnome - on the right. It is Doc given to me on my retirement. The bed in which he stands has been recently manured and the green shoots of oriental poppies are pushing through. There banking behind is liberally planted with bulbs - daffodils, snowdrops, crocuses and camassias.
The birds that feed here are mainly chaffinches and goldfinches with all sorts of tits, the odd dove and pigeon, pheasant, woodpecker and this morning a magpie.
This second image is also out of my study window and shows the feeders currently hanging on the shed - two with seed and a peanut feeder with an anti-squirrel cage. This seems to work (so far) and the beasties are trying to tear apart the one in the first photo.
Now we are looking out of the kitchen window at the feeders in the buddleia - one big seed feeder and peanut one. This is the dining area for house and tree sparrows, the ubiquitous tits and a few finches, mainly chaffinch and greenfinch. The population of the latter has suffered in the last year or so from sone sort of virus. They used to be the most common of our finches here.
The buddleia is approaching February end when it will be cut back to one bud above last year. By the summer it will have regrown to over eight feet tall and be covered in butterflies.
And so to the mower shed wit its attached trellis hiding the bins, barrows and stuff. Here is the giant peanut feeder and one seed feeder. This is again a sparrow area and especially where the greater-spotted woodpecker comes. The trellis is covered with a clematis montana and a honeysuckle - Halliana.
We also have half a dozen nesting boxes like this one in the wood.
No we have not had any snow yet - this is an old pic. You will note the metal surround to the entry hole. This is to stop the woodpeckers enlarging it and eating the chicks. I did consider other boxes - kestrel or owl - but as they are very much predators of small birds I have decided not to erect any. Visiting raptors are enough - low skimming sparrow hawks - and no doubt the squirrels eat many eggs and young.
One small mammal we have in our garden but we do not see often is the common shrew. I found one this morning lying dead in a puddle at the back of the house. It looked uninjured so I wondered if it could just have drowned in the heavy rain in the night?
Now, before, I have mentioned the fly infestation we had from our supermarket basil. I have had a letter from them (and £4 of vouchers with apology). It states that the insects are sciarid flies and a hazard of not using any pesticides on the basil. Thank heavens they do not bite - swat!, slap! - but been so . .
We have removed plants with infected compost elsewhere and now just have the odd bug about.
With the mild weather (so far)(I believe that the Vortex will soon be with us)(but not as extreme as North America)(we hope) the winter has been very kind to molluscs - especially slugs and snails. Hence a cold snap would be welcome even though it puts small birds like our wrens at risk. I see one almost every time I go into the garden this year.
So, back to the quiz.
They have nothing to do with Roswell, ET, aliens let alone our haloes.
They are, in fact, reflections on the ceiling in the kitchen from the small lights above shining on a pan.
Is that not very disappointing.