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Diary 2013 February


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5 February

Snowdrops  Polemonium  Winter jasmine  Crocus
After all that snow, I went on a garden inspection. It is all rather muddy and gloomy, but there are flowers in odd corners. Here are snowdrops, pulmonaria (lungwort), winter jasmine and crocus. The blue pulmonaria is always first out, and feeds the very first bees and insects that appear. Sometimes it has pink flowers on the same stem as the blue ones.

Cotoneaster berries
There are a good amount of berries left on the cotoneaster bushes so I know the blackbirds still have something in their larder.

6 February

Bracket fungus on log end  Bracket fungus on log side
On the riverside walks, there are lots of tree trunks left to rot, to provide places for insects and wildlife. I really like these little bracket funguses, they look just like an owl's feathers. I had this fungus on my old apple tree stump a long time ago. They look soft but they are quite hard.

River Cray weir  Mossy brick wall
This is one of the deeper weirs along the River Cray and is quite noisy when there is a good flow of water. I love the mossy bricks on top of the wall, they look like miniature forests of shrubs and trees.

White egret in river 
I see this white egret quite often nowadays and he likes the quieter parts of the river. He stands very still waiting to see a tiddler fish. There must be some there, because if not, he would soon go elsewhere.

11 February

Yellow Teddy behind net curtains  Yellow Teddy with pigeon footprints in snow
Dino took this picture of me looking out to check up on the new fall of snow. He said I looked as if I were in a snow blizzard! There was only a little covering snow which did not last long. Out the back it was obvious that a big woodpigeon had been walking around to see what he could find.


15 February

Garden centre primulas  Primulas and penguin ornament
Spring has definitely arrived in the garden centre which was looking very colourful. The ornament is a penguin with a shiny mirror finish. He has obviously been attracted by all the snow we have had and has decided to stay for a while.

Yellow Teddy viewing cut down bramble patch  Primroses
This is by the River Cray. In the summer this patch is full of brambles about three metres high. It has all been cut down, but I know that it will soon be back bigger than ever. It will be interesting to compare this picture with one taken next summer. I saw some primroses about, but I suspect they were planted by the parks people. I hope the plants spread about as much as possible in their new home.

Crow preening
This strange shape is a crow preening. He was too busy to see me walk past, which is unusual as they usually fly away when someone is near.

 Yellow Teddy weir  Branch in weir
This big weir is very noisy, especially with the high winter water flow. This branch has made it under the barrier and it making for the edge of the weir. I think it might have too many snags and bits of branch to slide along smoothly. It will probably collect loads of other bits of rubbish, and then the water will push the whole lot over the edge.

Ball in weir
Further along this colourful ball looked as if it was doing its best to jump up the weir. The white water is curling over and travelling backwards and pushing the ball against the smooth edge, making the flying splashes.

River with ducks  White duck
This is a more peaceful part, where all the ducks live. Here is my favourite white duck. It will be much nicer when everything is greener and they have more places to hide away, especially when they want to have a nap.

Yellow Teddy by riverside
Here is the part of the river where a big muddy bend has been added at the edge of the river, to provide a boggy place for plants. It is here that the blackbird in the snow was flinging the muddy leaves. This will be all green before long.

17 February

Crocus on grass verge  Snowdrops on grass verge
It was a chilly morning but the sun came out, and we decided to take a walk. I was very pleased to see these crocuses and snowdrops on the verges of the path.

Robin's nest in basket in shed  Robin
We had to get some things out of the garden shed, and went in very carefully, but the robin, who we thought was out in the garden, came shooting out of the shed. We were very quick to get our bits and I quickly took a photo of the nest in the basket. I am glad to say that our disturbance has not put the robins off their nest site.

18 February

Yellow catkins  Yellow wagtail
We went on a river walk determined to get photos of spring arriving and found these beautiful dangling yellow catkins. Near the river we saw this yellow wagtail and he sat long enough for us to get several photos. Seems to be a yellow day today!

Paving with square holes
I was puzzled by the holes in this paving near the river. It is made so that the grass can grow through the squares, and I think some are empty because the rain may be seeping through and taking away the soil. Maybe in the summer they will fill up again as the dust blows in.

Moss on top of brick wall  White egret
I just love these mossy brick wall tops and this one looks like a grassy mound with green daffodils about the come out. This white egret was in a very secluded place having a rest.

19 February

Water ripples pattern  Grit strips on bridge planks
I really like the water patterns and we spent some time taking movies of the ripples in this shallow part. I found some more interesting patterns on the wooden bridge, and on looking more closely I realised that they were strips of grit glued onto the planks to prevent slipping.

Pavement sign
I find these pavement signs amusing and this one is like the road safety campaign Be Safe Be Seen. The character's dull jeans are invisible but his teeshirt and hood is clean, white and can't be missed!

Dunnock eating crumbs  Dunnock amongst plants
We don't see much of our resident dunnock but unusually he came out for a bit of bread. The second picture proves why he is stripy and prefers to stay amongst the plants - he is almost invisible.

27 February

Bluetit eating crumbs
This is the first time we have seen a bluetit taking the crumbs, as they usually stay in the trees looking for insects.

Ancient oak tree
This ancient oak tree is getting some care and attention from the Parks Department. They have decided that the soil is too high round the trunk and have removed some of it. If the soil comes up too much round the base, it would eventually rot the trunk and kill the tree.

28 February

Sugar Easter eggs  Easter chicks
Dino was very excited to see these pictures of Easter Eggs. He loves eggs, firstly to play with, and secondly to eat if they are sugar or chocolate. The little chicks look very warm with their fluffy feathers.

Outlet into river 1  Outlet into river 2
I found an extra outlet today along the riverside. This is where a tree has fallen, and the outlet pipe has been exposed and the bank has worn away a bit. For a small animal it would look like a huge waterfall in a big gorge, with plenty of interesting places to hide and find snacks. We had to tread carefully at the edge because it could be slippery at this time of year.

Wren on river  Duck on log
This wren was walking on the twigs and leaves on the water. Being so small and light, he can walk on almost anything and not sink or make it bend. I was wondering what he was finding to eat, was it insects or maybe seeds washed down. This duck also looks as if it is walking on the water, but it is really standing on the end of the big log. The Parks people leave bits of log in the ponds for the ducks so that they can have a rest in safety without leaving the pond.



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