Thursday, 4 February 2010

Thursday 4th.February 2010

After today , I am prepared to extend the 'S' word to 'Spr' , which will hopefully appease a certain Blogger , but still not yet ready to go the whole hog .
This morning's mirk and continuous drizzle put paid to the workday up on the Common , as today's task was to be burning off the leggy Gorse that was cut last week , but after so much dampness , there was little chance of getting a fire started , never mind burning all the wet Gorse .
Looking out of the back bedroom window , three houses down , the Magpies have finished refirbishing/enlarging last year's nest , and from the look of it , have roofed it with twigs from the Tamarisk tree in our garden , having seen them ripping it about on several occassions . The pair are strutting about the area , ensuring the security of the area , and seeing off any likely predators , like this Carrion Crow that came too close . Seeing the pair side by side , the male I think on the left , there seems to be a noticable difference at the base of the bill that I hadn't noticed before . Any ideas ?
The drizzle did stop about lunchtime , and once again , a bit of brightness had me heading for High Broom Wood , near West Wickham , on yet another search for Siskin and Redpoll . In years past , I could reckon on getting them both here , but not in recent years . Once again , the 20 mtr, Alders that line the stream were devoid of feeding Finches , and whenever I saw a small bird , it was never the species that I wanted . In the stream I did find a female Grey Wagtail , but once again the light and her constant movement , I was unable to do her justice . On a fallen tree , I found Flammulina velutipes-Velvet Shank , so called because it's stem is covered with brown hairs , giving it a velvety look . Another small bird appeared briefly , but it turned out to be a Wren , and showed what it thought of my intrusion , by turning it's back end to me . On the woodland floor , Bluebells were well through the leaf litter , along with leaves of Lesser Celandine and Lords& Ladies .I had noticed walking around , that some of the Hazel stools had male catkins that had opened . I had a closer look , and after a while , found my first female Hazel flowers of the year . Tiny little deep red flowers looking like sea anemones , the spotting of which was made harder by the light conditions . If you haven't found them before , look for the open male catkins , as the female flowers appear at that time , hopefully to be pollinated and produce the nuts . On my return journey on the other side of the stream , the sun actually broke through , and when I got back to the car , the thermometer was reading a balmy 11C . Another reason for going half way to the full 'S' word .


Warren Baker said...

Its coming greenie, no doubt about it, and the wildlife know it!


Simon said...

Nice Velvet Shank photo and great Hazel flower shot - I haven't found one yet this year. Did you use your macro lense?

ShySongbird said...

I remember the thrill of finding the first Catkins and the pretty little flower, as a child. Great photo of the flower, Greenie.

I have been through all my books (of which there are many!) and can't find any reference to differences between the sexes in Magpies. Wikipedia, however suggests the male is slightly larger, there doesn't seem to be any mention of the beak though.

You seem to have had much milder weather than we have today!

Kingsdowner said...

You're justified to progress to 'Spr...' with that hazel flower.

I think that the moderator of this blog should do something about the first contribution.

Anonymous said...

Greenie, i`d prefer it if you went back to using just the "S". Shocking weather up here.