Sunday, 5 December 2010


We got our share of snow this week. Last Sunday Midge Farm looked like this:



It felt odd taking these shots with no tortie shadow hopping along in my footprints, mithering endlessly about how Cold She Is and Why Are We Outside Anyway? and Isn’t It Time to Put More Cat Food Out?

The garden wasn’t empty though. The birds monitored my every move with pretty much the same attitude as Smudge i.e. what are you doing out here and where’s the food?

snow spugs




It didn’t take them long to empty all the seed feeders once I went back inside. Then they sat around tapping their claws and “tsking” until I came out and filled them again.

snow birds

They’re going through seed at a phenomenal rate. I’m filling the feeders three times a day plus putting out peanut cake and fat balls. Expensive but rewarding because the harsh weather has again brought unusual visitors to the garden. Last year Thor the viking field fare arrived. This year I have had bramblings for the first time. These are much shyer, quieter visitors than Thor and a pleasure to watch in amongst the chaffinches and sparrows. I have two males and a female.


This is one of the Mister Brambles, he has much bolder colouring than the Mrs who is a more subtle creature.

Mr Bramble 142

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And here is Mrs Bramble, who seemed a sweet, shy little bird, hungry but easily bullied by the others.

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I could get used to snow if it brings such pretty things to Midge Farm.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Good-bye Smudge





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Aggravating, demanding, ungrateful, imperious, soft, cuddly, affectionate, head-butting, mouse-watching, bird-ignoring, permanently-shedding, yoghurt-loving, carpet-destroying, crisp-munching, sun-adoring, desk-hogging, cardboard-clawing, fountain of pee. Good-bye my friend Smudge.


Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Frosty mornings are back.146

The sparrow and chaffinch kids have flown the nest. The adults disappeared during their moult too but are gradually reappearing.

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Someone else is back. Can you see him?




He’s very busy stocking up on sunflower seeds for the winter.

Over and over again he jumps down onto the step,


gallops across to the rowan tree, too quick for the camera to catch.


He roots among the discarded sunflower husks under the feeders looking for seeds that have been tossed aside by my wastrel birds.


He stuffs his cheeks and heads back for his burrow.


He seems unaware that he is being closely monitored and not just by me. A well camouflaged Grande Dame hides in the grass above the step. She watches but she doesn’t pounce. Maybe October isn’t the mousing season,

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or maybe two mice are too much for ole fatso to handle.


Mr and Mrs working together.mice1

I have visions of them curled up together in January, sleeping on their mound of sunflower seeds, mouse treasure more valuable than a dragon’s hoard.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

July to August


This poor robin sums up July, as usual it started to rain at the end of June and just forgot to stop.


At least he has fat cakes to keep his energy up.

There are three robin fledglings in the garden, all very independent and quite strident in their demands that everybody clear out off their patch.


Baby birds have been everywhere. Some fledglings are so cute they look like they should be Bambi’s best friend.


This chaffinch obviously agreed as he fed his fledgling assiduously all day.046043

Much to the sparrow fledgling’s disgust.012

Other bird families are less well mannered. They arrive in a rowdy group and the kids trample their parents underfoot to get at the food.

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I call this pair Asbo and Yob:

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Then there was the blackbird fledgling who sat on top of the food and waited for his father to drop the kibbled peanuts directly into his mouth.218

My favourite was this little goldfinch who did the “feed me” wing wiggle so hopefully at every passing sparrow. 007



Meanwhile the parent bird was stuffing its beak at the feeders muttering, “you’re on your own mate!”


What else?

The bees have been luxuriating in the hawkweed pollen. I’m glad I left it to flower even if it is a weed.

bumble and pollen

The honeysuckle recovered from its severe pruning last year and attracted a lot of attention from the hoverflies.hover

I saw a red admiral on the hebe, so brilliant with its wings open,


and so well camouflaged when it sat on this dead flower with its wings closed.


Loadsa tatties,


courgettes and broadbeans.


and Midgefarm an unkempt jungle.