Monthly Archives: February 2019

First spawn so far…

a couple of days ago I notice a blob of frog spawn in the pond – the first for this year so far.  Last year I didn’t see the first frog spawn until around the 20th  March, (beast from the East meant snow and ice last year) but this winter has been pretty mild.  According to the Guardian the 26th February was  the warmest winter day on record, but is  pretty warm today too.   It has been the warmest winter since records began in 1878 and there have been fires breaking out on some moors and even on Arthur’s seat in here Edinburgh.  Sadly the nice weather is not set to last, and I hope the wildlife can cope with the change back to cold in the next few days.  I read somewhere that a female frog only produces one clump of spawn per year and I can only see one clump so far.  I hope to get more because that would suggest that there is only one female frog about which would not be good news.

wildlife, pond,
1st Frog spawn 2019

That sparrowhawk again…

so a slightly better picture of the sparrowhawk but I still haven’t got to grips with the new camera lens.  I just can’t get a really clear focussed shot and through a window is never going to do it justice.
It was hiding beside a large shrub and checking out the bird feeder for little birds.  It had it’s left claw tucked inside it’s feathers again.

birds, wildlife,

February colour continued…

a few more plants have come into flower and the sun has been out on this lovely mild day.  In the stumpery; I planted some wallflower last year by the garage wall, beside the apple trees, in amongst the cyclamen and crocus.  The crocus are looking good but the cyclamen have not flowered this year yet.  The Helleborus argutifolius are looking good (apart from the bird poo that is!).  They are planted beneath a tree where the pigeons, crows and jackdaws often sit.  The snow drops and golden Japanese rush help to brighten the shady area.  Just last week I bought and planted 3 small cyclamen coum Ruby star and they are so pretty.  Along from them, near the stump, is the primrose ( primula vulgaris) and a lovely creeping fern (polypodium vulgare).  In the raised bed; I normally have to cut back the huge fern (Polystichum setiferum ‘cristato Pinnulum’) around this time of year but it is looking fabulous just now so I won’t touch it.  On the patio; the tiny yellow iris (Katherine’s gold) are looking nice and bright and a few of the other Hellebores are flowering but pretty much look the same as last year so I won’t take more photos yet.  There is still a chance of some bad weather and snow before the spring really gets going, but so far, so good.

plants, flowers,
Purple crocus
plants, flowers,
Helleborus argutifolius
plants, flowers,
Cyclamen coum ‘Ruby star’
plants, flowers, ferns,
Primula vulgare and Polypodium
vulgare ‘Bifido grandiceps’
plants, ferns, foliage,
Polystichum setiferum ‘cristato Pinnulum’
plants, flowers,
Iris ‘Katherine’s gold’ alpine

February colour…

well there aren’t many plants that like to flower in this cold weather. The snowdrops are up but the buds haven’t quite opened yet.  Other bulbs are poking through but will need a few more weeks to flower.  Some of the hellebores are flowering whilst others are not.  The best one so far is the white one in the woodland area (that I call my stumpery due to it having one stump).  Also in that area is the witch hazel with it’s fiery orange flowers.  I do however have more colour in the conservatory with the cyclamen and bulbs coming up.  There is a lot of green in the garden with the ferns, grass, evergreen shrubs and ivy.  Shame the cold hasn’t got rid of the greenfly.
I thought that I would try and get some of the fallen leaves out of the pond but only the top couple of centimetres are melted and the rest of it is frozen.  Most of the leaves were frozen in so I am going to have to wait.  Poor frogs and other pond dwelling creatures.  In the past we had a pond heater on throughout the winter but something kept hauling it out leaving it dangling over the side and it would melt a hole in the pond liner.  The pond liner is concreted in now so we have been trying to keep a small hole open in the ice.  Doesn’t look like we managed to do that so any noxious gases will be accumulating under the ice.  The last time that happened a few dead, bloated frogs rose to the surface once the pond ice had all thawed.  Don’t worry I didn’t take photos.

plants, flowers,
white hellebore
plants, flowers,
Hamamelis inter Diane
plants, flowers,
conservatory bulbs

Brrrr it’s flipping freezing today…

but it has brought in a few more birds to the garden.  At least it is nothing like the polar vortex that is hitting the US at the moment – I really feel for them over there.  I don’t know how the wild life over there will cope with that kind of extreme cold, I guess many won’t survive.
I have been camped out beside the camera in the back room taking bird pics through the window.
The bird bath and pond are totally frozen so I keep putting out fresh water for them and feeding them as it is bitterly cold.  I haven’t seen the fox with the poorly leg so I don’t know if it has survived.
The redwings wanted their bath in the the pond but it is completely frozen, and they don’t want to have a go in the 1/2 melted bird bath, so they will have to wait for Harry to melt a hole in ithe ice when he gets home.  The pheasants have been picking up the little bits of fat that fall down while the squirrel is feeding at the fat cake.  Trouble is all the other birds want to do the same, so there can be a lot of chasing about happening under that fat cake feeder.

wildlife, birds, woodpecker,
Woodpecker with fat cake
wildlife, birds, redwings,
wildlife, birds, squirrels, pheasants,
2 hen pheasants under a squirrel
wildlife, birds, pheasants,
2 hen pheasants
wildlife, birds, pheasants,
hen pheasant feeding
wildlife, birds, pheasants, squirrels,
squirrel and hen pheasant feeding
wildlife, birds, pheasants, squirrels,
squirrel and hen pheasant feeding