Tuesday, 23 February 2010

One Year (and a bit) On!

As regular readers will know I am having difficulties taking photographs at the moment due to problems with my eyesight so, apart from a couple, all of the following photos were taken last year but not posted. I will start with the two which I took through glass last week.

The only time I am ever visited by a Pied Wagtail is when there is snow on the ground, it doesn't matter whether there is a considerable amount or just a dusting but without fail, in it pops to see what food it can find. The ever present Blackbirds hate it with a vengeance and do everything they can to see it off but it treats them with great contempt and just dodges out of the way!

Pied Wagtail

The Starling, despite being on the red list of endangered species is still a quite frequent visitor to the garden although I have noticed a decline in numbers in recent years which is borne out by the fact that their numbers are down by 66% in the UK since the mid '70s and have declined significantly across much of Europe since the '60s. I suspect my American blogland friends will tell me it is because they have all gone over there :)

Anyway, the fat treats always seem to bring them into the garden.


'In yonder gay-enamell'd mead,
The starling plumes his golden wings,
Then tow'ring up the azure height,
He mounts sublime, and soaring sings.'
(Nathaniel Evans)

Now, looking back to last Summer (Summer? What's that?) one of the places I most enjoyed visiting was Draycote Water and I am looking forward to going back there when I have had surgery. This Pied Wagtail was enjoying the sunshine unlike the one battling through snow in my garden.

Pied Wagtail

Each time we went there were always lots of vociferous Tufted Ducks and I looked at so many of them in a bid to try and spot the Lesser Scaup that others had seen. Unfortunately, I was never successful but it was fun trying.

Tufted Duck

By far the most common gull to be seen at Draycote last year was the Black-headed Gull so I was surprised to learn it is on the amber list of endangered species. This one, photographed in late Summer is in its Winter plumage so lacks the black, or more accurately chocolate brown head of the Summer plumage.

Black-headed Gull

'Light floats the sea-gull on the tide.
The wearied fisher sinks to rest;
And not a cloud is seen to glide,
Reflected on the Ocean's breast'
(Mrs Henry Rolls)

Although the commonest small wader to be found along the coast, the Dunlin is another bird to be found on the red list of endangered species. I think this one may have been a juvenile.


There were also lots of Great Crested Grebes, a really elegant bird which frequently dives and comes up again much further away than you would expect.

Great Crested Grebe

This rather smart looking Great Tit was also photographed during one of our visits to Draycote, it was in a tree waiting to fly onto the feeders next to the hide.

Great Tit

Each time we went the feeders were always popular, particularly with Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinches and Greenfinches.

It was also popular with this Squirrel which was there for the peanuts

Grey Squirrel

'I love to see at early morn,
The Squirrel sit before my door;
There crack his nuts and hide his shells,
And skip away to seek for more'
(William Roscoe)

and it was amusing to see the ducks constantly on patrol under the feeders hoping to mop up any spilt food, they looked so funny when they suddenly appeared through the long grass.

Of course I couldn't show photos from Draycote without featuring one of my favourite birds, the solitary and beautiful Grey Heron.

Grey Heron

When we visit one of the small local lakes I can usually be sure of seeing some Mute Swans. I really do think they are magnificent creatures and although they are such a common sight I never cease to admire their beauty.

Mute Swan

'In stately majesty was seen to glide,
Over the bosom of the tide,
A graceful swan, in fairest plumage dresst;
It seem'd its elegance to view,
As conscious of superior hue,
For never swan more beauty yet possest.'

These Mallards were getting in a tizzy about something!


As was this Greylag Goose!

Greylag Goose

On a local walk another of my favourite birds, the lovely Song Thrush, was tucking into something tasty, a berry I think

Song Thrush

'How void of care yon merry thrush,
That tunes melodious on the bush,
That has no stores of wealth to keep,
No lands to plow, no corn to reap!

He never frets for worthless things,
But lives in peace, and sweetly sings;
Enjoys the present with his mate,
Unmindful of to-morrow's fate.'

and so was this Blackbird.


Finally this Greenfinch was perched high in a tree in our garden.


Before I finish I would like to say that just over one year after starting this blog on the 13th of February 2009 it has been an absolute pleasure getting to know and making friends with so many people from all over the world. I have been privileged to share your lives, homes, families, joys, sadnesses, illnesses and ultimately a mutual interest in Nature and wildlife. You have all been so kind and welcoming and I hope to share your lives via blogland for many years to come. Thank you.

I hope you all have a wonderful week watching the wildlife where you are.


  1. I really enjoy your blog posts, and bird photos. Keep up the good work.

  2. Lovely photos. The ones with green leaves are especially pleasing to look at right now!

  3. Excellent post Jan to celebrate a years blogging. Excellent pictures too. A great variety; the hiding Mallard, the Greylag the Dunlin..... and I owe thanks to you for my own visit to Draycote Water. A great place to visit.
    We may even bump into each other there one day.

  4. ShySongbird ,
    We were both obviously in reminescent mood yesterday , looking back and almost feeling that sun on the back .
    Congratulations on your first year
    'on the Blog' , and I wish you many more .

  5. Hi Jan Lovely memorious of your first year blogging and some beautiful images have been taken by you over that period. Yes I think we all feel we need to get some sun on our backs. Its been a pleasure reading your posts and hope we will see many more over the coming year. Well Done.

  6. Hi Jan,

    Lovely photos, I hope your eyes get better soon – when is the op due??

    A whole year?? Wow, I think I’m coming up to my ‘anniversary’ soon, 2 years I believe… Mmmm. To think back two years and how things have changed – if at all, have they changed? Have I changed? – Congrats on keeping going so long, blogging sure can become addictive, taking photos or pondering on a subject and catching yourself thinking ‘Mmm that would make a fantastic blog post!’ :)

  7. Hi there Jan! First, I must wish you Congrats on your 1st Blogiversary. Prior to starting you were already well known by so many bloggers through your very generous comments. It always makes me smile to see the number of Chirpy comments you get on your own postings :-D

    On a personal level, I’d like to thank you for the genuine comments you have left on my postings. It always makes me smile to see your name with a comment. Every single one is appreciated. However, it makes my sad to think of the difficulty you must be having leaving them at the moment. Please don’t try to keep up with me. I hate to think of the discomfort you must be having in doing so :-(

    My wish for this year for you is that the eye surgery goes well and you can enjoy the beauty of nature once again… perhaps in HD :-D

    Thank-you, for joining the blogging world. We have all enjoyed your visits through your wonderful photos and fingers crossed you will be able to get reacquainted with your camera as soon as. First photos after you can… I’d guess the heron :-D

  8. More lovely photos to see and another lovely post. The Pied Wagtails are just great to watch, we get them across the street but they have yet to venture into the garden!

  9. They are excellent images. Lot's of them!

  10. Great pics there Songbird.
    It`s amazing what result a bit of snow has on the birds that venture into gardens. So it does have its benefits after all.

  11. Great Images to celebrate your anniversary! Its so strange that your Starling populations are down while here they are quite numerous! All of the birds I once saw in great numbers I no longer see--so I think birds are having a very hard time making ends meet these days!

  12. I always enjoy seeing your bird photos. So sorry to hear about your eyes. Mine are getting worse too. Luckily, the automatic focus on my cameras is much better at seeing and focusing than I am so my photos are fairly crisp.

    Your Pied Wagtail is a handsome bird. As for starlings, well they are alive and well in the U.S. It is odd, here they are very aggressive little survivalists. Hard to understand why they are losing ground in their home countries.

  13. Keep up the posts Songbird, your photo's today were so full of light - cant wait for it to be like that again!

    Good luck with the eyes!

  14. Outstanding Images Jan,the Great Crested Grebe is my favourite.
    Fantastic Images and Blog,well done.

  15. Razboynik

    Thank you Andrew for your very nice comment :)


    Thank you, yes, green leaves and blue skies and sunshine...won't that be bliss!


    Thank you very much Keith, it doesn't seem like a year. I was so glad that you enjoyed Draycote too, I love it there and am sad not to be able to visit at the moment. Yes, we may well see each other there, having seen your profile photo I'm sure I would recognise you, that would be fun :)

  16. Greenie

    Thank you very much, we were indeed and it will be great when we really can feel the sun on our back instead of more snow as we have had today :(
    Thank you too for your congratulations and kind wishes :}


    Thank you for your very kind comments Monty, it has been a pleasure getting to know so many nice people during the last twelve months. Yes, we really need some warm sunshine now, this Winter has been too long, let's hope we have a good Summer, not too hot but lots and lots of sunshine!


    Thank you very much Liz, the first eye will be done on April 28th and the other about three months later I think.
    It really doesn't seem like twelve months, it has flown by! Yes, blogging is very addictive, I fear I spend far too long at it but there are so many great ones to keep up with :)

  17. Congratulations on your 1st year - I have found your posts an absolute pleasure to read, in fact I almost got a tear in my eye at the end of this post!!
    Good luck with the operation & I look forward to reading many more of your posts!
    PS - absolutely gorgeous photos!

  18. Hi,
    Well I will say that half of your species are also present over here too.... I did not know about your eye, maybe I missed one of your message and I'm sorry to hear that and hope it is gonna be better. Take care!

  19. Happy first anniversary:-) I enjoy your blog, the pictures and the poems. Thankyou for your kind and generous comments on my blog. I hope you have a really enjoyable second year on the blog. All the best wishes with your eye surgery.

  20. Lovely post as always. Love the GC Grebe, but I have to say the Swans always do it for me. They are so graceful. All lovely though. Keep it up. Very enjoyable.

  21. Hi Jan.....I am sitting in the hotel room looking out to sea. The weather is warm but windy. There are blue skies. No I am not abroad.....I am in Cornwall.

    It must be so frustrating for you not to be able to use your camera. I do hope the operation comes swiftly to allow you to enjoy your hobby once again.

    Lovely post....the pied wagtails are such sweet little birds. They do not seem to worry too much about anything......

    I loved the photographs from last year. For one moment I was back in time....back to the warmth of the summer 2009. Tku...

    It has been a pleasure getting to know you. You have added much joy to blogland with your beautiful birdie posts. Long may they be.......

    Happy Wednesday......

  22. Another beautiful post with lovely shots !! This is simply nice and amazing !! Great post !!

  23. Congratulations on your first year (and a bit) of blogging. Beautiful photos as always. Great to be reminded there are warmer days to come - soon I hope.

  24. Happy Anniversary! I always love your posts, especially the way you blend your photos with poetry. The Pied Wagtail is such a pretty little bird. Glad he can stand his own with the other birds.

    As for your Starlings I was shocked to hear their numbers are down. They grow by leaps and bounds here. I have a small flock that hangs here often during the day of 150+. This winter has seen their numbers grow. They are eating me out of house and home! (Lovely poem about them...).

    Keep blogging and Happy Anniversary again!

  25. I can only repeat what many more of your fellow bloggers have said.Always a pleasure to see your lovely photos and beautiful words.So sorry to hear you have eye problems hope all goes well for you
    Sheila x

  26. shirl

    Hi again Shirl :) Thank you so much for your very kind and generous comments and for your congratulations too. As you know you were the original inspiration for my starting this blog and also the very first person to comment, you have showed me so much encouragement during the last twelve months, I have much to thank you for!
    It will be a great relief to get my eyes done, I notice a deterioration each day, not conducive to watching or photographing wildlife!
    You may well be right about the Heron photos, that would be great :)


    Thank you very much Pam, the Pied Wagtails always seem such busy little birds. When we visit a small nearby town we often see them scurrying along the pavement in front of the shops, they look so funny!

    Bob Bushell

    Welcome Bob! Thank you for visiting and for your kind comments :)


    Welcome Dean! Thanks so much for visiting and for your comment. Yes, it is great when the snow brings birds into the garden that wouldn't normally visit but I must admit I have had enough of Winter now...Spring and sunshine! That's what we need :)

    Dixxe's Doodles

    Thank you very much Dixxe! I have to admit there do still seem to be lots of Starlings here too but I have noticed a drop in numbers visiting the garden.

  27. Yes, the starlings have all flown across the Pond:) It's hard to believe they are endangered in the UK, when we have great flocks of them here.

    I love the little Pied Wagtail! What a sweet bird, one I've never seen here in the US. And a great photo of the swan stretching her wings--they are such beautiful and elegant birds. Even the squirrel is cute. Many gardeners don't like the squirrels because of their disturbances in the garden, but I think they're fun to watch. Last week they were at the bird feeders, and one was actually inside the bird feeder!

    Congratulations on your blogaversary! I'm so glad to have met you; your photos and accompanying poetry are always such a delight, Songbird.

  28. A beautiful post Shysongbird, and congrats on your ist year of blogging! Your posts really are a pleasure to read and your pictures are amazing!Im so sorry that you have probs with your eyes, i hope you are able to sort them out. Take care xxxx

  29. Roses and Lilacs

    Thank you very much Marnie. I'm sorry to read that you too are having eye problems and hope that they don't go on to give you too much trouble.
    I too was surprised that the Starling is on the red list as there do seem to be quite a lot around but I have noticed I don't have so many visit the garden in recent years.
    I do hope your Father improves soon Marnie, I will be thinking of you both.


    Thank you.

    Warren Baker

    Thank you very much Warren for your kind words and encouragement. Yes! Light is what we need and sunshine and blue skies... :)


    Thank you very much John :) The Great Crested Grebes are such elegant looking birds although not so elegant on land I believe due to their feet being set rather far back on their bodies!!


    Thank you very much for your lovely comments Sharon and for your kind wishes, they are much appreciated :)


    Thank you for your kind comments and good wishes Chris :)

  30. Hi Jan.
    Well done on your first year of blogging. I hope your next one is as successful as this. Considering your eye problem, your photo's are pretty good. keep it up.

  31. Happy Blogaversary dear Shy Songbird! I enjoyed all your pictures from the past year, recalling some of your field trips looking at them. I think my favorite is the Song Thrush. What a perfect moment you managed to capture with that fat bug in his beak--he looks quite proud of himself.

    Please let us know how your surgery goes. I will be thinking good thoughts for a swift recovery.

  32. We just finished our first year on the blog as well. Enjoyed all your photo and especially the Pied Wagtail, WOW! I have seen only one wagtail in my life, they don't show up in the US very often. Gladly we don't have Starlings in our woods here, had no clue they were on the decline over there.

  33. Brilliant photos wih mine were as good.

    We just have the occassional starling now when previously we had nosiy flocks. We have a few sparrows though.

    I love to see the squirrel too in spite of its reputation - I know some don't appreciate them in the garden but ours don't cause much of a problem.

  34. Linda Yarrow

    Linda, thank you very much for your very kind comments and good wishes. Thank you too for mentioning the poems, it is quite time consuming looking for the most appropriate ones and of course it gets increasingly more difficult finding ones I haven't posted before, I think I may have to start repeating myself soon :)


    Thank you for your kind words and encouragement Angie. I never tire of Swans they are beautiful creatures and don't mind posing for the camera which is always a bonus :)


    Hi Cheryl, thank you very much for your lovely comments, it has been a great pleasure getting to know you too and you have always been so kind and generous with your comments and emails. Of course I visited you for some time before plucking up the courage to comment let alone start my own blog :)
    How nice to find you in your hotel room in Cornwall, I do hope the weather continues to be kind to you and that you have a wonderful and relaxing break.

    Unseen Rajasthan

    Thank you for your very generous comments Bharat :)

    Midmarsh John

    Thank you very much John. Warmer days soon...yes please! We all need them now.


    Thank you very much for your kind words Kelly and for mentioning the poems which become increasingly difficult to find, it is so nice to know they are appreciated, Nature and poetry seem to go well together I think!
    To be honest I would not have realised that Starlings were endangered if I hadn't read it but thinking about it we don't see as many in the garden as we once did.


    Thank you for your very kind comments and good wishes Sheila, it is always a pleasure to see you here and I hope your husband is still improving.

  35. Wonderful pictures. That's quite a decline in the number of starlings. I really like them but none come to my feeders. I really like the picture of the duck who seems to be peeking out of the grass, lol.

  36. Rose

    Thank you so much Rose, it has been a pleasure getting to know you over the last twelve months. I have met so many nice people since I started this blog.
    Yes, Swans are so graceful, I love to watch them.
    My friend who lives quite near has squirrels in the garden quite frequently but I have never seen any in ours...some would say that was a good thing :)


    Thank you very much for your lovely words and good wishes Karen, you are very kind :) I shall be glad when it is all sorted out now.

    Ken Browne

    Thank you very much Ken your kind comments and encouragement are much appreciated.

    Morning Glories in Round Rock

    Dear Jenny, thank you so much for you lovely words and kind wishes. I'm so glad you liked the Song Thrush, it is one of my favourite birds and one I don't see so often any more, it has the most delightful song too as its name suggests :)

    Randy Emmitt

    Welcome! Thank you for visiting and for your kind comments and congratulations on your first year blogging too :) Yes, the Pied Wagtail is such a cheerful looking and busy little bird, it is so nice to see it when the snow brings it to the garden.
    Please do visit again, you will be most welcome.

    Green Lane Allotments

    Thank you so much, you are very kind :) I noticed the Starlings came into the garden in quite large numbers during the breeding season last year but I haven't seen quite so many this Winter. I am still waiting to see squirrels in the garden but am aware it could be a case of 'be careful what you wish for' :)

  37. Hi Jan,

    Sorry to hear you are still suffering with your eyes, I hope they improve very soon.

    I am a little late catching up with your post, sorry Jan. Love the photos they are outstanding, you really have a gift with putting words to the photos.



  38. a year and a bit...congrats.
    sorry to hear about your eye problems...that has got to be frustrating. great look at the all the feathered friends from over the past year.
    so glad you are in the blogging world.
    happy february, jan.

  39. Jan: Congrats on one year of blogging. It is a big step. Thanks so much for the visit. It is so interesting to see all the birds in Europe. They are so similar to ours but with different name.

  40. Many blessings.
    I am sending hugs. I do hope eye surgery goes well (I will send my prayers) and you can once again enjoy your camera. I understand the joy of photography and would miss my camera so very much. Your birds are beautiful. I am a swan lover.
    It is an honor to know you!
    Your loving kindness comes across in every post you make and every comment you leave. Thank you.
    It is a joy gettting to know you.
    I bow.

  41. Truly amazing shots of the birds. I wish you speedy recovery with your eyesight.

  42. Hope you can get out soon.
    Great post and images.
    And, yes we have your starlings here in my part of the US but numbers have been down here as well.

  43. On the basis of better late than never.... Your posts always lift the spirits Jan, and in this continuing dull grey weather, lifting of spirits is definitely needed.

    Congratulations on your blog anniversary - a great year's worth of reading - thank you.

    How lovely to have a Wagtail visiting; pity s/he waits for the snow though ;)

  44. Hi Jan.
    Lovely post and verse as usual.
    The Great Tit deserves a mention in my book as i find them a little difficult..see the common theme...Bullfinches, Corvids etc all are black headed and unless you can see the eyes the picture (to me at least) seems strange.
    Hope things are improving with you and look forward to the next twelve months and many more

  45. oldcrow61

    Thank you very much OC. The ducks are really funny to watch there as they regularly waddle from the grass in a procession to check under the feeders for fallen seed, it is quite a sight!


    Thank you very much for your kind remarks John, no need for apologies, I know it is difficult sometimes to keep up with all the blogs. Have a great time on your Highland Fling :)


    Thank you very much for your kind words Marmee. Yes it is very frustrating but I look forward to being able to see more clearly before too long. Happy Springtime to you and yours :)

    This is My Blog - fishing guy

    Welcome! Thank you very much for visiting and for your kind words. I agree, it is fascinating to compare our birds to yours and I know lots of them are related.

  46. Q

    Dear Sherry, thank you so much for your very generous comments, they are much appreciated :)
    It has been such a pleasure getting to know so many wonderful people (such as yourself), I would never have dreamt, a few years ago, that I would make so many dear friends all over the world and you are certainly one of them. Happy Springtime to you Sherry :)


    Thank you for your very kind comments and good wishes :)

    It's Time to Live

    Welcome! Thank you for visiting and for your kind comments. It is a shame about the decline in Starling numbers but I have a feeling that such a resourceful and intelligent bird will ultimately survive.


    Hi Tricia :) Thank you very much for your kind words. I'm hoping that since you wrote this comment your weather has improved as it has here, we have wonderful sunshine although it is still cold.
    Yes it is lovely to see the Wagtail, I think of it as my foul weather friend :)

    The Abbot

    Thank you very much for your kind comments and good wishes Trevor. I know exactly what you mean about the birds with black heads being difficult to get right and I sometimes think how much easier it would be to photograph things which never move! Nowhere near so much fun though :)

  47. Beautiful birds and great photographs..

  48. Naturedigital

    Welcome Costas! Thank you very much for visiting and for your kind words. I do hope you visit again, you will be very welcome!

  49. You do have many stunning pictures here. All different from mine on my birds blog except the starling and gray squirrel.

  50. Hi Jan,

    I am please to let you know that I have awarded you the Sunshine Award for your Blog. Please visit my blog on how to collect and pass on if you wish.


  51. You have a great site and so many comments is testament to your easy style and gentle manner. Congratulations on your first year blogging and many thanks for your kind comment on my blog.

  52. √ Abraham

    Thank you very much for visiting and for your kind comments Abraham. Yes, we do share the Starling and the Grey Squirrel and it is interesting that your Starlings came originally from us and our Grey Squirrels from you. Interesting too that the Starlings are not welcomed by all in your country just as the Grey Squirrel isn't here due to it being responsible for the rapid decline in our native Red Squirrel.


    Thank you very much for thinking of me John, it is very kind of you :)


    Thank you!


    Welcome! Thank you very much for visiting Phil and for your warm and generous comments. Thank you also for your congratulations, I do hope you visit again, you will be most welcome.

  53. Just thought I'd check in and say hi. See if anything exciting is happening in your backyard. Finally got some warm weather here last week but now they say it will snow Saturday. Hope this is a brief cold spell.

    Have a lovely day.


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