A BLESSING

Something happened today, in the garden, something that I won’t forget for a long time to come and for which I will always be very grateful.

A little Robin came to sit about a meter away from me, Ian and I were taking a rest while working in the garden. The Robin sat and looked me straight in the eye, and then, of all things, he started to sing the most beautiful song, as Robins do! I was overawed, could not believe my ears! Ian couldn’t either. It was absolutely wonderful, an amazing blessing, and a very uplifting experience. It was singing so joyfully and I am sure of the fact that it was grateful too, for the lovely sunshine, and for a garden full of tasty little morsels.
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ANTICS OF THE FEMALE CHAFINCH

This morning I spotted these birds at the peanut feeder, and I could not be sure if it were female Chaffinches or some other bird, there were four of them on the feeder, and they were fierce in trying to outdo each other getting peanuts. To the left there is a Sparrow that is for sure. I took a few photos to try and identify these birds positively but have not managed to do so, the closed I got to it was a Chaffinch, so it probably is.
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Female Chaffinch waiting to go on to the feeder.

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BIRDS SONG AND CROCUSES

The last two days we have had no sunshine, it has been misty, but early in the morning the birds are singing to their hearts content. It’s lovely to wake up to these beautiful sounds and it sure makes you feel that spring is here though the weather seems to be a little behind just now.

This little Wren is one of our residents in the garden, it is lovely to have these perky little birds around, soon they will make their nests in our hedge.

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And bright yellow Crocuses opening up in the garden.

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The song of the Blackbird is one of my favourites, and I hope that we have a lot of visitors also this summer so we can enjoy their song everyday.  The Finch family is well represented, today I also saw a green Finch, a female.  Let them all nest and produce lots of offspring so that we can enjoy a good variety of beautiful birds in our gardens, they are lovely company.

FEEDING AT THE BIRD TABLE

Every winter it’s bird feeding time, but especially when it gets very cold, and the months early in the year when a lot of the berries have been eaten, and food might be scarce. So it is an every morning pleasant shore to put seeds out for a variety of birds. New this year are several Great Tits, they mainly feed from the peanut feeder. We also have Blue Tits and sometimes have seen a Coal Tit. Robins at the last count was only two, it seems they might be a pair. First birds on the bird table are mostly the Collared Doves, we have up to six of them. Then come the Rooks, the Jackdows, The Hooded Crows, and the Starlings, last year there were very many Starlings, but this year so far I have only counted one! Sparrows and Dunnocks are also plentiful, and a variety of finches of course. I sometimes see a little Wren and it makes my day as they sing so beautifully and we hope that they will nest in the hedgerows. We don’t have pets like cats or dogs, but the wild birds are taken very seriously and enjoyed greatly.
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SORREL AND A MALE STONECHAT

In this wintery weather today, due to getting a doze of cabin fever, I took a walk along the boreen (little path) and around the block, and past the heathland where there are some Gorse shrubs also. The boreen, which is an unpaved narrow path in rural Ireland, is bordered by lots of lovely vegetation, all sorts of wild plants and Hawthorn trees, lots of Ivy growing all over the hedges, and some Gorse along the way too. Today I found young leaves of the Sorrel plant, this is good as it is an edible plant, though I would not eat it too often as it is so sour. I am taking a lot more notice of these plants right now because of the Herbal course that I am doing, and it is nice to find and identify all sorts of plants so close to home.  As it happens I checked out Wikipedia and found some interesting information on how Sorrel is used in different countries, as in soups and stews and others, very interesting.  For example;  I never realised that Toor Dal contained Sorrel as well as yellow Lentils.  In my search I came across an excellent recipe for Toor Dal by the way, with a video to follow, it looks so delicious.  It I found here:  http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/toor-dal-tadka
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A little further along the walk I spotted a bird which I normally do not see in our gardens, and which does not frequent our bird tables. It was the little male Stonechat, a beautiful little bird about the size of a sparrow. Total black head and light brown chest. It was fluttering from shrub to shrub. I tried to take a photo for the record but my mobile phone did not catch it right.  But I looked it up in one of our bird books, an excellent guide this one; it is called: ‘Ireland’s Garden Birds’ by Oran O’Sullivan & Jim Wilson.  I found the bird in there, and then went and checked Wikipedia which gave me good information too.

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WINTER BERRIES

Today is officially the first day of winter here in Ireland, and it is nice to see such plentiful supply of berries for the birds.
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These berries are still giving a lovely show, not eaten yet by the birds either, I’m not sure what it is, it looks like a Cherry but not sure, and wrong time of the year.

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Holly berries, very plentiful this year, and Rosehips are also giving the birds lots of foods.

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Snow berries, and Woodbine berries, there is so much in the hedgerows right now.

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Hawthorn berries, and Cotoneaster, the birds, here the Blackbird, are having a nice time with them.  This Blackbird comes to feed every single day, a joy to behold.

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Then these are the berries of the Guelder Rose, these are native to the woodlands and hedgerows here in Ireland (Thank you Murtagh), some type of bird will eat these too and enjoy them. The black berries I still have not identified but they may be some type of the Prune family. It is still very mild for the time of year, that and the large crop of berries will sustain an already quite “fat” bird population around here (I have never seen the Sparrows quite so large as this winter).