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).

COUNTRY LANES

This is the country lane, a little Boreen as it is known here, the word comes from the Irish bóithrín, meaning “a little road”, where I take my walk every day. It does not look like much but along its sides it is brilliantly covered with so many wild plants, even now that it is only 21 days to the winter solstice, wild plants are growing profusely. And there are flowers too, the Gorse is starting to show it’s golden yellow blossoms, they flower twice a year, but their best bloom is between now and February when whole hedgerows may be so coloured by the yellow flowers that it looks quite spectacular. Their scent is so sweet also.
I see a lot of Wall Pennywort at the moment too and it is looking so healthy. And Ivy which is in bloom at the moment, it is said that the Peacock and Tortoiseshell butterflies hibernate in the Ivy plant, that’s great to know as I was always wondering what they do during the winter months, I thought that they died at the end of summer though you sometimes see them inside the house at this time of the year.

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And over this all sings the Robin, he’s singing his heart out, sheer joy at all the beauty around it, what a delightful sound.

THE ATLANTIC WAY

Along the coast of West Cork there is a lot of wild nature to explore, half wild horses graze on marshy land separated from the ocean with a causeway, a road hugging the coastline. I was there today and managed to take some shots though it was a little foggy. The views are breath taking and the air so fresh and invigorating. I saw surfers taking advantage of the swell after the winds of the last few days. What a lovely Saturday afternoon it was.
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WINTER GARDEN BIRDS

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I can’t help it, I was taking photos again this morning while the birds were feeding in the garden, it’s so lovely.

This is a male Sparrow.  The Sparrow is well represented, however, the population seems to have gone down around here, slightly so.  The darker ones are the males, the lighter ones the females but I boosted both up to show the lovely markings albeit they are browns.

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We have Collared Doves too, they came to our garden some years ago, originally one pair arrived on Christmas day, now there are about six of them regularly.

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Some Finches come too, but not many this year so far.  We also get Blue Tits, Robins, Dunnocks and a Wren.  That is apart from the Jackdaws, Rooks, Blackbirds and Starlings.

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WINTER’S ARRIVAL IN IRELAND

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“That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.”
William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Sonnets

EARLY MORNING DEW

First thing this morning, and a beautifully sunny morning it was, I went into the garden to take these photos. I love to see the sun shine on the dew drops, it makes them sparkle like diamonds. Dewdrops on the grass blades, on the Nasturtiums, on the Leeks. There is so much beauty in minute details in nature, so inspiring.
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