Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Wishing you an amazing 2015

A big thank you to everyone who has read my blog this year and also for the lovely comments on my posts and in emails :)


Created with the beautiful kit Mistletoe and Wine by DigiFiddle Designs.
Take a look at DigiFiddles Website and the Gallery for lovely layouts and inspiration.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

The Brambles, 22 - 28 December 2014

Hi, as you can see this weeks log post has a definite Christmas feel to it! I couldn't resist with the Christmas hat!

It's been a very average week in the garden and as I've noted above the squirrel is still messing with my tulip bulbs! I'm sure they are really tasty and that the recently turned soil is also great for burying pine cones in, but... Oh well. I guess I'd not have it any other way!

I've noticed that there have been lots more male peckers around recently. It used to be mainly females but there is often two or three males around at the same time. Sometimes they are quite funny. One will be on the nut hanger and the other will hide the far side of the trunk of the pieris and keep poking its head around to see it the other is still there. I just can't believe that the other pecker hasn't really seen it. They do get territorial and chase each other off. I still think the garden is the territory of a female though.

Also this week there has often been two nuthatches in at the same time and they also like to chase each other! And it's the usual situation with the blackbirds and song thrush!!!

As it's been an average week there isn't really much else to report, so it's time to say that this is all for this year. Have a great New Year and I will be back in 2015 with my next post, Natasha :)

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Brambles Bird and Wildlife Awards 2014

Hello, and welcome to The Brambles Birds and Wildlife Awards 2014!

This year there are the following award categories:

  • Sports Personality of the Year
  • Miss "Brambles"
  • Parents of the Year
  • Best Album
  • Best Actor

It's been a great year in the garden and all the visitors provide endless entertainment in all sorts of ways. So this year I decided to have an awards ceremony to celebrate some of their best moments!

Let us begin :)

The winner of "Sports Personality of the Year" goes to "The Real Mr Black", for his outstanding performance in goal. He defends his bird food like no other bird in the garden. He is always there making sure that no other blackbird or song thrush gets a look in. He chases off any competitor instantly. An amazing performance that is ongoing from dawn until dusk!

"The Real Mr Black" by Steve Ward
Miss "Brambles" goes to none other than the sleek and beautiful Nutty the Hatch. This beautiful bird with it's stunning streak of black is also an amazing gymnast, hanging upside down from any feeder and bending its body at right angles. This bird really catches the eye when it visits the garden.

"Nutty the Hatch" by Natasha Forder
Parents of the Year goes to the Blue Tit parents that lived in the eves of my neighbour's. The little birds accessed their nest via a small gap between two soffits. However, whilst one of the pair darted in and out, no trouble at all, the other had real problems. Sometimes it took the little bird several minutes to get in (or about half an hour in one case), but it never gave up and the baby birds always got their grubs. How about that for determination!

Blue Tit by Steve Ward

The winner of "Best Album" goes to Robby Redbreast, with his album Dawn till Dusk. It doesn't matter what time of the day it is Robby sings away in his instantly recognisable voice. He has a full daily repertoire that is a pleasure to listen to! Unfortunately Robby is a little camera shy and there are currently no photos of him.

The "Best Actor" award goes to Sid Squirrel for his role in "The Stolen Nut". The look of innocence whilst being caught red pawed is just amazing. His whole facial expression and body language, "wasn't me, really... it wasn't... What nut?" is so funny to watch. Let's remember a couple of iconic moments from the film!

Sid in The Stolen Nut (film strip from Algera Designs kit Projection)
Sid in The Stolen Nut (film strip from Algera Designs kit Projection)
That is it from this years awards. Thank you for joining me and I hope you've enjoyed this post with a little twist!

Who are the winners in your garden? Why not stop by the comments and share :)

Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Brambles, 15 - 21 December 2014

Hi, it's Sunday again, although being Christmas holidays now for me I actually almost forgot it was Sunday. So I hope I don't forget over the next couple of weeks too, please excuse any late posts!

The starlings stopped by for a quick visit yesterday, so it's great to see that they are still around :)

The song thrush is still around too and has been working on its technique for being able to get a meal. It goes something like this. Mr Black does not like any other blackbirds or song thrush's. So the song thrush sits in the tree and waits until Mr Black is chasing away another blackbird and then nips in. However, it hasn't got its timing quite right, as before it's had a chance to eat anything Mr Black is back and chasing it away! The thrush is persistent though and has been able to get some grub!

And that is all for today.

If you've got any news to share from your garden or local area, please feel free to add a comment :)
See you next week, bye for now, Natasha

I used the following lovely kits by Createwings Designs to create the log book: Feathered Friends, Feathered Friends 2, Feathered Friends Add On, Winter Friends, Sing Your Song and This Moment Creation 23.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Brambles, 8 - 14 December 2014

Hi, today's highlight was a quick visit from a few redwings. They stopped off to tuck into the berries on the holly tree :) What has been happening where you are? If you'd like to share please leave a comment :) Looking forward to reading them :)

Every year the garden has been visited by redwings. The first winter here there were lots of them and by the end of their visit the holly tree that was covered in berries was totally bare! It was cold though, lots of snow too. Today's visit was just a quick one, but great to see them all the same.

I've shown a mouse on my log book today but I've not seen one for a long time. I am not sure what type they were that lived in the garden but they were tiny with big ears. I think either a wood or field mouse. Very cute ones!

I've seen lots of nuthatches this week and the thrush has been aroung too. The coal tits have had a good presence and I just love them, they are quite cheeky little birds I think!

This morning when I went out to feed there was a female chaffinch just sat in the snack shack, even though there was no food in there. Huddled right at the back. Even when I got really close to restock it didn't move for ages. Finally it flew off into the tree, I hope it is okay.

The bigger birds have been in more than ever. On the lawn yesterday there were about tewnty woodpigeons, the usual three crows, about 10 magpies and a couple of jays. I put some general bird seed on the lawn for them in the hope that they will eat that and not smaller bird food! But of course there is always one that is tucking into the songbird special!

And that brings me to the end of today's post. I'm back next week with more stories from The Brambles :) bye for now, Natasha.

I used the following lovely kits by Createwings Designs to create the log book: Feathered Friends, Feathered Friends 2, Feathered Friends Add On, Winter Friends, Sing Your Song and This Moment Creation 23.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

The Brambles, 1 - 7 December 2014

Hi, So today I have some exciting news; well it is to me :) Also you'll see I've changed my log book design this month. The lovely kits used are by Createwings Designs.

Today I walked into the kitchen and looked out on the back garden and thought, what are all those birds. It took me a few seconds to realise that they were starlings! And lots of them too. Somewhere between 15-20; I lost count. The only starling up to this point that I've seen in the garden was a baby one a couple of years ago. They seemed to be having a great time tucking into the food. The blackbird whose "turf" it is wasn't quite so keen. He seemed much happier after they had left! Anyway I am quite excited about this visit. Maybe they'll visit again, or maybe they were just passing through, I hope they will visit again.

So along with the "starling invasion" and the other blackbirds, Mr Black is having issues with a thrush. Second thing to be excited about this weekend. Thrush's do visit, but not all the time and even better this one was on the "patio" a lot outside the kitchen door. Some great views, no photos though.

A quick visit from the long tailed tits in the week was also great. They've not been spotted for a while, but I suspect they have been around. They stop by so quickly that they are easy to miss.

Lot's of all the usual visitors too :)

Oh and yes, I nearly forgot. The tulip bulbs I planted, I found half of them spread around the garden. The squirrel had taken it upon itself to dig them up, but at least they weren't nibbled!

The Createwings Designs kits used to create the log book: Feathered Friends, Feathered Friends 2, Feathered Friends Add On, Winter Friends, Sing Your Song and This Moment Creation 23.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

The Brambles, 24 - 30 November 2014

Hi :) As November draws to a close the weather has not so far been very cold here and the azalea is now in full bud, no longer just an odd flower!

The "mob" are still coming in strong every day, and they are still eating everything! A fat block is now lasting just one day! So I bought a few of those fat blocks in coconut halves to try, in the hope that the magpies will find it more difficult to get comfy on it, and so prevent them from eating too much in one go! So far, so good. It's been up for nearly two days and there is still lots left. The great spotted pecker, blue tits and great tits have all been tucking in too :) I don't have anything against magpies, except that they eat too much!

I snapped the azalea flower earlier today on my iPhone and processed in Snapseed (30% HDR and a frame). I still can't believe how many buds are on it. Ever since moving in a few years ago it hasn't done much at all, and now, totally out of season it is just about to give the best display ever!

I finally got around to planting some tulip bulbs that I bought a while back. Half are now done; hopefully not too late and I'm hoping to get the rest in very soon!

The oak trees are still dropping leaves, even though they look bare already. It's quite a job raking and sweeping them up!

The lovely kits are by Dawn Inskip. I've mainly used Light and Shade Flower Garden, Owl Love and Nature Walk Sunset.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Brambles, 17 - 23 November 2014

Hello :) It's been a quiet week at The Brambles this week, so a very short post today.

The photo of the hornbeam was taken using the Hipstamatic app on my phone last week.

Unfortunately on Thursday morning whilst putting out the food for the birds I found a dead chaffinch in the pond :( I always find it a bit upsetting when I see unwell or dead birds in the garden, but it happens from time to time.

Otherwise "The Mob" has been in with increasing numbers. There must have been about 15 of them on the lawn one morning!

The lovely kits are by Dawn Inskip. I've mainly used Light and Shade Flower Garden, Owl Love and Nature Walk Sunset.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Brambles, 10 - 16 November 2014

Hi from The Brambles :) The November weather has certainly been around this week. Lots of rain, but luckily some sunshine too.

The photo of the hornbeam was taken using the Hipstamatic app on my phone.

There have been lots of the bigger birds in this week. Magpies, jays, crows and woodpigeons but not so many blue tits and great tits. Although saying that I've not long seen two blue tits taking quite a lengthy bath in one of the drinkers! It is funny that one sees another having a bath and just has to get in and have one too!!!

I still need to get to the bottom of the stuff being taken out of the pond at night, ducks and the floating light this week :)

The oak trees have now lost nearly all of their leaves, just a few hangers on left. The squirrels are still busy storing away their autumn finds, and there are still lots of great spotted woodpeckers around.

Maybe there will be some winter visitors soon to write about :)

The lovely kits are by Dawn Inskip. I've mainly used Light and Shade Flower Garden, Owl Love and Nature Walk Sunset.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Brambles, 3 - 9 November 2014

Hello :) It's again time for a Brambles update. A change of design for November but still using kits by Dawn Inskip. I've mainly used Light and Shade Flower Garden, Owl Love and Nature Walk Sunset this time.

The photo of the acer was captured on my iPhone using the Hypstamatic app.

There isn't so much to talk about this week. It's been quite an average one. The squirrels are still doing their thing, the "mob" are still coming around everyday in their huge gang and Mr Blackbird is still around nipping in to grab some food in between "mobs" visits!

A yes, one new interesting thing, I almost forgot... There is a chubby greenfinch. It looks quite young, but has a fighting spirit! It holds it's own whilst hogging the sunflower seed shack and has, this week, been seen often with a beak covered in sunflower seeds, it is certainly a messy eater!

I heard the owls hooting and screeching a couple of nights ago in the distance and that really is it for this week.

Hopefully there will be a bit more to report next week :)

Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Brambles, 27 October - 2 November 2014

Hello, I hope that everyone is enjoying the nature in their own backgarden and local area. As I sit here writing this I am watching a squirrel in the nearly bare oak tree, running along the branches, and I just love seeing that on my doorstep :)

This week I've also spotted a wren and a coal tit. Coal tits are usually quite common but I've not seen one for a while. The wren I am sure is resident but they tend to stay hidden in the undergrowth. A couple of years ago one of the nest boxes was used by wrens. Unfortunately when I came to clean it out there was still an unhatched egg inside. There was a lot of action in and out of that box and it is the only time that, that box has been used. It's situated on a holly tree at the end of the garden and had the "great tit option" attached. So quite a big hole.

There has been the usual goings on with the ducks being found out of the pond! I so need a night time camera. But then I might be disappointed if I found that it was Leo the ginger cat from down the road that was playing with them instead of the foxes! Although I really do suspect it is the latter.

The hydrangeas are going over but this one looked great captured on my phone camera using the Hipstamatic app, Jane lens and Ina's 82 film.

Mophead Hydrangea
Mophead Hydrangea
And just as I'm about to post I see someone on a horse go by, whilst texting on their mobile phone! The horse part isn't so unusual but the phone bit is!!!

I used a mixture of Dawn Inskip digital kits to create my log book and I'm still loving using them :)

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Brambles, 20-26 October 2014

Hello :) I hope that everyone is enjoying their wildlife closer to home and the changing seasons.

This week I didn't just see the evidence of a fox, I didn't just hear a fox but I saw two foxes! I awoke to a noise from outside. Not too disturbing, but close. When I looked out the window I could see two foxes on the front lawn having a tussle. I am not sure how friendly it was! They had triggered the outside light. One decided it had, had enough so moved away and the other followed behind. But they were both still weary of each other. Then the light went off and that was that!

Otherwise not too much to say about the garden. The "Mob" have been in. There were about seven of them on the lawn yesterday morning. They seem to have developed a taste for fat block too, so that is lasting no time at all. I do like magpies, but they are costing me a fortune!!!

The crows have been around quite a lot too. They are so big. There are often three of them on the lawn and even a magpie looks quite small in comparison. They are impressive birds really. Very skittish though.

And I don't really need to say this, but the squirrels are still digging up the garden :)

I used a mixture of Dawn Inskip digital kits to create my log book and I'm still loving using them :)

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Brambles, 13-19 October 2014

Hello there :) It's time to report on this weeks garden goings on! And as ever it has been busy, busy, busy!

Whilst preparing dinner today it was all go. Four blackbirds all wanting a bath. Next there was a blue tit bathing with a Mrs chaffinch watching. The blue tit was barely out before the chaffinch was in. Next thing the blue tit is back in and they are bathing together, now that is not quite a first, but a first for two different species. There has been multiple blue tit bathing before now. And it wasn't the biggest of water containers that they were in either, so there was a bit of collision going on! It didn't end there for the bathing either. The blackbirds were back a few more times later!!!

Whilst out doing a little cutting back in the garden we came across a couple of blackbirds hiding out in one of the conifers. They didn't fly off either. Just stayed where they were :)

Something has been playing with the rubber ducks from the pond again this week. This morning two of the three were on the lawn! I can only assume it is the fox. I need a night time camera, so I can see what is going on!

I'm sure that earlier I saw a green woodpecker fly past. I thought I saw one a couple of weeks back too. During the first few months of owning The Brambles there was a resident female woodpecker. It used to spend hours on the lawn eating ants, and we do have a lot of ants! Since then we've not really seen any. Briefly saw a male one, then nothing. Speaking to my neighbours they had more recently seen some. I assume they are still around, just not so brave as to dine on the lawn! Up the wooded bit at the back, where I can't see much of the ground there are even more ants. So hopefully they still visit up there instead.

I used a mixture of Dawn Inskip digital kits to create my log book and I'm loving using them :)

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Brambles, 6-12 October 2014

Hello :) I can't believe it is Sunday already! And time for my latest post from "The Brambles". Everything is all very similar to last week, but we were treated to the sound of an owl screeching last night!

I think The Brambles is the Sunday morning breakfast location for the Greenfinches. They were in again today. Lots of them, on all the feeders and waiting in the trees and bushes for a spare 'table'!

No part of the garden, I am sure, has been left without something buried in it! The whole of the front 'lawn' must be full of nuts, just under the surface! Those busy squirrels just don't stop!!! I look out onto the front garden whilst I am scrapping/blogging/crafting and it seems like I am constantly watching one squirrel or another hiding nuts of various kinds.

Please don't be too shocked but today I have a photo :)

Viola, taken with Hipstamatic app on my phone
If you've been across to my The forget-me-not blog you will know that I am having a play with camera apps at the moment. Check out my latest post: ScrapWithApps. Here is a photo I took today in the garden using my phone camera with an app.

My garden log used kits by Dawn Inskip, including Roots, Autumn Collection and Enchanted Autumn.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Brambles, 29 September - 5 October 2014

Hello :)

It's weekly post time and this week is the start of my new log card for displaying what I've seen in the garden.

I've used Roots and Autumn Collection by Dawn Inskip for today's card. They are lovely digital scrapbooking kits and I'm really pleased with how it's turned out :)

This morning the garden was full of greenfinches, they were everywhere. Four just on one seed hanger, it's a good job they are quite social birds! I guess there were probably about twelve of them milling around.

The magpies are around all the time, and there are lots of them too. They are a real mob! I call them a mob of magpies, but when I looked it up according to one source they are called a tiding of magpies - and another source had a few other options too, congregation, charm, flock, gulp, murder, tittering and tribe. I prefer my version!!! None of the other birds get a look in with the food when they are around.

There has been a lot of bathing going on this week and the "drinking" facilities have been in constant use!

There are still lots of great spotted woodpeckers. Every time I look out on the back garden there is at least one in, and often two. I think that the numbers have been increasing since in the last couple of years.

Unfortunately I found the remains of a dead chaffinch on the lawn this week :( Just a few tail feathers and skull.

I'll be back next week with more about what has been going on at The Brambles :)

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Brambles, 22-28 September 2014

Hello, another week has flown by and it's time for my weekly post!

This week I've created a scrapbook layout showing and listing all the "usual suspects" that visit the garden. I used a number of lovely kits by Dawn Inskip and details can be found on my Flickr by clicking the image below.

The "Usual Suspects" at The Brambles!

I had great fun putting this page together and it really does make me realise how lucky I am to have so many visitors to the garden. I know that they come for the bird food... but still!

There have been a few male and female blackbirds around this week, all in various "states of repair"! Some really are looking a little worse for wear still. There was a male great spotted pecker today, so a change from the usual females and young ones.

The goldfinches are back and tucking into the niger seeds, and about time too. More recently they haven't touched those, preferring the sunflower seeds instead.

The squirrels are still busy burying and I am sure that the one I saw today had a tulip bulb in its mouth! I've actually bought some more bulbs this weekend to replace the ones they've been having a nibble on!!! This years display of them was very poor due to all the eaten bulbs.

Whilst doing a bit of tidying in the garden today Steve found the pond light that had gone missing not long after I saw the fox in the garden. So not stolen, just hidden!

The garden still needs a bit of a tidy up before the winter but it's almost there. Hopefully there will be a few nice weekends left before the dreary days of November start and we can get finished.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Brambles, 15-21 September 2014

Hi, I can't believe it is Sunday again already! The garden has been as busy as ever, lots of little birds and great spotted peckers. There were three in the pieris one day this week, two females and a young one. They all seemed to be "hiding" from each other, whilst all keeping an eye on the fat block. They can't seem to get enough of it. It's been popular all year so far, with all the birds that are able to access it. They get through about three a week as well as all the other food that I put out every day!

The robins have been singing at the tops of their voices this week. It is so lovely to hear them, there is nothing quite like the sound of birdsong :) (Birdsong is not to be confused with the "song" of the magpie, jay or crow!)

All the usual birds have been around, although I've not seen any goldfinches this week.

The squirrels are still busy burying! And I guess the last thing of interest was the tiny frog I saw one morning whilst I was out feeding the birds.

I've not been out much with my camera recently, so no new photos. Hopefully some new ones soon.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Brambles, June - September 2014

Hello :) It's been a long time since my last post, but I am still enjoying my garden and all the birds, wildlife and flowers that visit or find a home within it, as you can see by one of my latest scrapbook pages. No new photos, so I've been "recycling" my old ones! The scrapbook page was created for a challenge with the theme of Happy at Real Life Scrapped.

Happy is enjoying my garden

Last weekend would have been the perfect time for a photo of a fox in the garden. Unfortunately I had my hands full of aquilegia's that had long gone over and not my camera. I'd been working at the end of the more "formal" bit of garden, turned around and there under the pieris with its nose in the songbird special bird food mix was a fox. A rather smart looking fox too, I would say it was a younger one. It made me jump, and not it! It just looked at me, put its nose back in the bird food for a bit, then stood there a bit longer before walking past me to a gap in the fence to our neighbours and disappeared!

I am suspecting this is the current fox that has firstly stolen the floating light we had in the pond and secondly been playing with one of the rubber ducks from the pond too. Yes, we are back to that, finding stuff from the pond somewhere in the garden! And this morning I found the feather remains of a wood pigeon on the "lawn". So I am guessing that somewhere there is a very happy fox that got its bird for breakfast.

The garden over the last few months has been as busy as ever. The squirrels have constantly been around and now for them it is burying time, so it is busy than ever! There has just been a squirrel on the front lawn, wondering where to bury its latest acorn, they are so entertaining!

The blackbirds as expected "disappeared" for a month or so, but are back now on show. Some are still looking very haggard.

Lots of blue tits and great tits this year. There were so many young! The great spotted woodpeckers have had lots this year too. There have been multiple peckers in the garden all at the same time, I think I've seen up to four, which is quite a lot. And there has been pecker chasing too.

The robins did well too, with a few young ones. The greenfinch's seemed to start breeding early and finished late, with a number of young ones. I saw one being fed just this week.

I chopped back the oregano and marjoram a couple of weeks ago and I disturbed a few little frogs. I've not seem many in the pond this year, so it's nice to know they are still around. They hopped off in the direction of the sage, and hopefully found a new place to hang out.

The flowers have been great this year, and there has been quite a few butterflies, although I would say not as many bees as last year.

I've planted four hydrangeas, three in the back garden and a beautiful white one out front. They are all growing well. This is when I realise that I haven't taken any photos of the hydrangeas and they have started to go over now. Next year! I moved some plants from the back garden to the front, including a number of lavenders and so far they all seem to be doing well.

I planted up a couple of spare tubs that I had with a variety of herbs. I've used them in salads, vege stews and homemade sandwich fillings/dips.

I don't know where the summer has gone. Autumn is definitely on its way. The leaves have started to fall and there is a chill in the air first thing in the morning. I am hoping that autumn will be full of bright days, even if a little chilly, where freshly fallen leaves crunch underfoot.

Last notes: the little birds are at this moment singing away and it's so lovely to listen to, it makes me smile when I hear them :)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Bird, wildlife and flower log, 26 May - 1 June 2014

Hello :) I am thinking about a new format for my weekly (or maybe, not so weekly at the moment, post). I will have to see what I come up with!

I like to log the birds as some don't come to the garden all year round, but I have to say that this year they all seem to have been in most of the time so far. This is different from the previous two years. The flowers are useful to note as this will have an impact on the insects seen, or not seen. Although this week I am skipping the log section.

It has been a busy few weeks in the garden. There are lots of flowers, all over. The birds have all been in stocking up to take back to their young. I've seen a juvenile blackbird, and the best bit so far, a whole family of great tits. Every time I am in the garden all I can hear is all their high pitched tweeting! Although they seem to have got the hang of the seed hangers they still run after their parents when they have food. I guess this is the easier option! And I nearly forgot the other newcomer is a young robin - young, fluffy and full of robin attitude!

The blue tits in the neighbours roof have not yet fledged and the parents are still back and forth all day long. One has real difficulty in getting in the small gap to the nest but the other is straight in each time. But today we had a surprise. It turns out that one of our nest boxes in the garden also has a family of blue tits in it :) It is hidden by tree branches when we look from the house so we hadn't noticed. Steve heard lots of tweeting inside it today. So that is really great. Again two busy parents in and out. I think it has been a good year for caterpillars as that seems to be a staple from what I have seen.

There has been lots of great spotted woodpecker chasing. There are a least two females and one male. The seem to spend all day collecting fat block, which seems to be a staple baby bird food. One block is lasting two days at the moment!

Lots of damselflies around the pond today, all large reds. The other noticeable bugs were lily beetle's. And yes they were eating the lily leaves!

The strawberries are flowering, and I am hoping there will be a few servings. The hosta's are all out now too and are looking great. Well most of them, some are suffering the usual problem of being a slugs dinner!!!

My lupin's died last year, I think it was to do with the hot weather (even though I watered them lots), so I was surprised to see one lonely lupin this year. It's a pity as I grew most of them from seed and the last few years they have given a lovely display of colour to the front garden. I will have to grow some more next year.

All the flowers are out around the pond and it is a sea of purples, yellows and pinks. The purple of the campanula against the yellows looks striking.

The herbs are all doing really well, I grow different mints, lemon balm, sage, rosemary, lavender, marjoram, oregano and thyme. I used to grow coriander outside too but that was another slug favourite so I gave up! The great thing about all of the above herbs is that all I have to do is to chop them back each autumn and every year they come up good and strong.

And to finish this weeks post is a photo I took today in the garden of the French golden oregano. I think it's time to start using it in the cooking :)

French golden oregano © 2014 Natasha Forder

Monday, 21 April 2014

Bird, wildlife and flower log, 14-20 April 2014

Hello :) well the bank holiday weekend has turned out to be a mix of weather. Sunday felt like a rainy dull day in November for most of it.

The Camellia is going over now, but this is a photo I took a couple of weeks ago when it was looking its best.

Camellia © 2014 Natasha Forder
Last week was a great week for watching the blue tits. A pair is nesting in the roof next door. So while I am washing up I can watch them coming and going. Last week they were back to their usual tricks of steeling the coco fibres from the half wall baskets on the garage. Three years of blue tits nests as well as the blackbird getting in on the act this year is leaving them somewhat worse for wear!

The hole is small where they get in to the roof and if they have too much coco fibre they have trouble getting in. So they sit on the fence post and re-arrange it and then try again!

The thrush has been back this week, adding a bit more competition for the mealworms.

Birds Wildlife and Insects Flowers
Great spotted woodpecker - female Grey squirrels Camellia
Chaffinch - male, female Brimstone yellow butterfly Yellow flowered shrub
Greenfinch - male, female Peacock butterfly Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
Blue tit - adult Large white butterfly Bluebell
Great tit - adult Pond SkaterPrimrose
Coal tit Bee-fly Muscari
Siskin - male, female Bumblebee Forsythia
Robin - adult
Clematis (hardy variety)
Magpie - adult
Viburnum tinus (I think)
Crow - adult
Hellebore (green flower)
Woodpigeon - adult, juvenile
Collared dove - adult
Blackbird - male, female
Lilac (white)


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Bird, wildlife and flower log, 7-13 April 2014

Hello, firstly an apology as still no photos this week, although I am working on it! Things have really taken off in the garden, there are so many flowers and they look amazing. The garden is full of forget-me-nots which I adore. Hence the names for my other two blogs.

Actually instead of a photo I am sharing a collage scrapbook page, which I created from nine other scrapbook pages of the wildlife in the garden. I created it for a Daisytrail Alpha Word Challenge, the page had to include the word Wildlife. I created the background paper, the template and the alpha myself in Craft Artist.
Wildlife Garden
There won't be such a good display of tulips this year as the squirrels have been nibbling the bulbs. I will need to get some more in the autumn to plant. Talking about squirrels, one got caught tucking into one of the flowers off the camellia bush (it's not the first time I've seen this, they also like the flower buds too.) Of course they don't eat a whole flower or bud, one bite and then off to pick another one! Honestly I don't mind when it is the dandelion leaves, but I do object to the flowers...

After the goings on a couple of weeks back between two pigeons I'm expecting to see a young one or two in the near future! There was a little bit of blue tit interest in one of the nest boxes, but as I've not seen anything recently I guess it must have gone elsewhere :( Although some of the blue tits have been raiding the baskets on the garage again for nesting material, so they can't be too far away.

Unfortunately I saw a female chaffinch with a damaged wing the other week. She could still fly, but not very well and stayed in the garden that day. I've not seen her since but yesterday whilst in the garden I found a dead bird and I think it is a female chaffinch. I just hope it didn't damage itself on the patio doors. The birds often fly into them and this has killed several small birds in the past, which is really sad.

The blackbirds have all been stocking up on the meal worms we put out and then flying off. So I can only assume they have had their first brood. There is a resident Mr Black in the back garden and a different one in the front. So I am looking forward to seeing lots of young ones in the garden soon.

I'm sure that wasn't everything over the last three weeks, but as the post is already quite long I shall leave it at that for now.

Birds Wildlife and Insects Flowers
Great spotted woodpecker - female Grey squirrels Camellia
Chaffinch - male, female Brimstone yellow butterfly Yellow flowered shrub
Greenfinch - male, female Peacock butterfly Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
Blue tit - adult Large white butterfly Heather
Great tit - adult Pond SkatersPrimrose
Coal tit Bee-fly Muscari
Siskin - male, female Bumblebee Forsythia
Robin - adult
Clematis (hardy variety)
Magpie - adult
Viburnum tinus (I think)
Crow - adult
Hellebore (green flower)
Woodpigeon - adult, juvenile
Collared dove - adult
Blackbird - male, female
Yellow flowered shrub

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Bird, wildlife and flower log,17-23 March 2014

Hello! I missed a week, but generally last week was like this week. So nothing missed.

Mrs Blackbird has been very, very busy coming and then going with a beak full of nesting materials each time. Grass, mud and other bits and pieces and I can only assume it is dirty business as she has several baths a day! Mr Blackbird on the other hand does not seem impressed with having her in his territory. I can only assume they are not together!

In my catch up last time I forgot to mention a few things that had happened over the previous few months. There have been a few sightings of redwings, I have also seen them this time of year or earlier the last three years. The first year here there were loads (I expect due to the bad weather) eating all the berries on the holly tree.

The wren has been around a little bit too, but the real surprise this year was the thrush. Firstly I saw two at the same time, secondly they have been around for a few months. Again over the last three years I spot it a few times and then it disappears for ages.

After my comment about the Jay I couldn't believe it when the next day I saw it in the garden! And I have seen it a few times since.

I was out in the garden today and there was a lot of singing going on. First the robin was singing its heart out, and then the dunnock started. Generally the competition is within species, there were three Mr Blackbirds on the front lawn all fighting, then a couple of male chaffinches having a go at each other and lots of little fights between blue tits too.

The not so nice side of garden birds is there is a dead bird on the lawn, not many feathers, mainly carcass. I assume it is a pigeon but I can't make my mind up. I saw a sparrowhawk circling last week and I've seen a female a couple of times in the garden prior to that, so it may be that which caught the bird.

Still no great photos this year, hopefully next week :)

Birds Wildlife and Insects Flowers
Great spotted woodpecker - female, male Grey squirrels Hyacinth
Chaffinch - male, female Brimstone yellow butterfly Daffodil
Greenfinch - male, female Peacock butterfly Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
Blue tit - adult Bees Heather
Great tit - adult
Coal tit
Siskin - male, female
Robin - adult
Clematis (hardy variety)
Magpie - adult
Viburnum tinus (I think)
Crow - adult
Hellebore (green flower)
Woodpigeon - adult, juvenile

Collared dove - adult


Blackbird - male, female





Sunday, 9 March 2014

Bird, wildlife and flower log, 3-9 March 2014

Hi again, it's been a while, but due to lots of things going on I've had to take a break from blogging. Unfortunate as my plan was to document what happens in the garden all through the year. What I can say is that it has been busy. Mr Black has been doing a good job looking after his territory, there have been constant visitations by the goldfinches (which is unusual as they usually disappear for periods of time). Again the nuthatch usually disappears but has been around all the time too. There has been more blue tits than I can count and a few quick visits from the long tailed tits. Not many sightings of the dunnocks and also thinking about it, it has been a long time since I've seen a jay too.

The garden has been flowering for a few weeks too. First a few snow drops, then the crocuses and primroses. The garden is full of purple and lilac crocuses and these with the pulmonaria look great next to the yellows of the primroses and daffs.

With the lovely weather this weekend the butterflies have been out. There have been a few bees around for about three weeks now.

My neighbours removed a smallish tree today and I am now the owner of a few limbs :) which means that finally my "bug hotel" has a bit more substance! Actually, maybe I should really call it a "bug campsite"! It started out as a pile of twigs and now has some tree bits with it. But honestly, I can't imagine bugs are too fussy! It will need some work before it looks anything like the RSPB Wildlife Stack, but I am hoping the logs will create a good base.

No photos today, but I'm hoping that if the weather continues to improves I will be able to get out and get snapping.

Birds Wildlife and Insects Flowers
Great spotted woodpecker - female Grey squirrels Crocus
Chaffinch - male, female Brimstone yellow butterfly Daffodil
Greenfinch - male, female Peacock butterfly Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
Blue tit - adult Large white butterfly Heather
Great tit - adult BeesPrimrose
Coal tit

Siskin - male, female

Robin - adult

Magpie - adult

Crow - adult

Woodpigeon - adult, juvenile

Collared dove - adult


Blackbird - male, female