• Name your 'Irresistaberry'


    I did have another posting in mind for today, but sometimes a subject pops up that is far too distracting.

    The thing is that, in response to my last posting looking at which berries are left until birds are desperate, the query came back, "So which berries get taken instantly, then?". Good question, Matt :-)


    • 24 Dec 2010
  • When second best becomes vital

    Spot a winter tree covered in berries and my reaction used to be, 'Ooh, that looks good for birds'. But if you think about it, it can't actually be that good if the birds haven't eaten them yet. Uneaten berries must be the plate of plain digestives next to the almost-empty plate of choccie ones; they are the sprouts of the Christmas dinner vegetable selection.

    And so last week I decided to go for a…

    • 19 Dec 2010
  • A face at the window

    A couple of nights ago it warmed up slightly. I'm not saying it was mild, you realise. But it was enough of a hike in temperature for me to get a nocturnal visit.

     And here is the little fella who decided to pop by. He's only about an inch across (about half the size it appears on your screen), and not exactly the most exotic-looking moth in the world, but you have to give credit to one that is out and about in this…

    • 17 Dec 2010
  • A hoary story

     When Jean sent me her photo of Waxwings this week, she also sent me this (left) showing a gorgeous hoarfrost on the berry-laden trees where her Waxwings were feeding.

     Here too in Sussex we had one day during the week with a hoarfrost to remember. In the sunshine, the delicate crystals remained solely on the northern side of any twig or dried flower stalk like sprays of blossom (right).

    And it all reminded me of a hoarfrost…

    • 13 Dec 2010
  • At last, Waxwings!

     The only problem is that they were in my Inbox rather than in my garden.

    Here they are (left), in a photo sent by my very pleased friend Jean in Flitwick of the scene outside her house.

    She had been walking home one day through the estate where she lives when she noticed what at first glance looked like 'funny Starlings' (left).

     If I zoom in on the centre of the photo (right), you can see even in Jean's snatched…

    • 10 Dec 2010
  • Mavis, what are you doing in my garden?

     I had dreamed of a Waxwing; I had hoped for a Blackcap. But I was more than pleased that my surprise visitor to the garden this weekend was Mavis!

    Here she is, looking very neatly turned out indeed. Note how the spots are really like chevrons, and how the upper breast has got a subtle but distinctive yellow wash to it, unlike the round spots and cold white background on the bulkier Mistle Thrush.

    Quite why Chaucer should…

    • 6 Dec 2010
  • Surprise at the Oscars!

    I hope you'll excuse me if for one blog only I take you out of the garden and into a big function room in London packed with the great and good of gardening. 

     You see, a couple of weeks ago, I had an email to say that I had been shortlisted for the national Garden Media Guild's New Talent award for my RSPB Gardening for Wildlife book. Would I like to come along to the awards ceremony in London?

    Well, I was chuffed…

    • 3 Dec 2010