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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:05 pm

This week marks the anniversary of the St Asaph floods of 2012 and right on cue the Elwy flooded over its banks last weekend leaving a high-water mark of debris in the meadow next to the allotments.
We took our dog Lottie there this morning for the first time since last Friday as it's been far too muddy of late!
We re-acquainted ourselves with the lovely beach at Rhyl last week and again on Tuesday and discovered absolutely millions of razor fish shells, heaps of them two feet high in places and stretching for miles along the shore.
I'm not sure if this is some ecological disaster or a natural occurrence but I've never seen razor shells (and a lot of cockle shells) in these vast proportions before. We also found a freshly dead Velvet Scoter, a lovely marine duck beside a dead Razorbill on the shore.
Strange they should be together like that and both quite unmarked?
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:04 pm

BIRDS AT WINTER NIGHTFALL

Around the house the flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone
From holly and cotonea-aster
Around the house. The flakes fly ! _faster
Shutting indoors that crumb-outcaster
We used to see upon the lawn
Around the house. The flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone!

Thomas Hardy



It's that time of year when the birdies become more apparent in their search for food, this coupled with the leaves rapidly disappearing from the trees makes them more visible to us.
With this in mind I ordered 25 kgs of sunflower hearts and 12.6kgs of suet pellets with mealworms, from a company I've not used before, Hopewell's Feeds based in Rotherham Yorks.
The cheapest on t'internet at £41.24p delivered! and most amazing, I ordered at 4.00pm yesterday and they arrived 10.35am this morning unbelievably quick and cheap.
Now is a good time to clean and disinfect your bird boxes if you haven't done them already ( Jeyes fluid is excellent) as they could be used as winter roosts by smaller birds.
I've found bluetits have used them as communal roosts in the past but Wrens, Great tits, Long Tailed Tits, even sparrows use them on occasion and of course they're ready for next years nesting season.

Picture here is for inspiration for Colin, my last plums of the year picked on 16th October 2017, tasty Marjorie's Seedling plums, of course.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:57 pm

The midweek full moon has brought the inevitable high spring tides with it this last couple of days, 10 metres earlier in week but waning, 9.6 metres, 31.5 ft. this morning.
Coupled with the aftermath of Hurricane Caroline hitting us the last 24 hours it made for an interesting walk at Rhyl beach this morning.
We started off by the theatre but only managed a mile or so before the South Westerly gale force wind whipping great clouds of dry sand in our faces forced us off the beach, it was like being grit-blasted, it really stung our faces and got into our eyes. The last straw was little Lottie our dog, a lot lower down she was in the thick of it and had a coughing sneezing fit in a particularly bad blast so we picked her up and hurriedly came off by the RNLI Station. The only two other dog walkers on the beach did the same.
This mornings very high tide with an onshore gale behind it had dumped a right load of flotsam and jetsam at the top of their concrete lifeboat launching ramp and strewn it through on to the promenade, this along with quite a few tons of sand. That'll take some clearing!
The stormy weather and big tides this week has dissipated or should that be re-distributed the millions of razor fish shells from the beach at Rhyl, there were hardly any left this morning!

Our bird feeders are all back on stream and it doesn't take long for the jungle (woodland) telegraph to kick in. Niger seed feeder for Goldfinches, sunflower hearts Greenfinches, Sparrows, and all the tits, fat balls for Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Suet pellets with mealworms, anything and everything eats them, but particularly Robins Wrens and Chaffinches love them.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:08 pm

Our suet pellets have been popular the last few days, we put some in ground feeder for the chaffinches and I caught the picture below of a charming little bird, a Long Tailed Tit. They rarely keep still for long and hang around in small groups constantly flitting quickly about. The messy Goldfinches and Greenfinches spread a lot of food out from feeders so there's always food for the ground feeding birds, see below, the birds in snow under feeders are a Woodpigeon, a Blackbird, several Chaffinches and a Brambling. We had a solitary Fieldfare about most of the afternoon, it checked out the bare holly tree then dropped down into garden to eat cotoneaster berries growing low down. Try as I might all I got was blurry out of focus pic's as it seemed quite nervous. Try again tomorrow if the snow sticks around?
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:43 pm

WINTER

Clouded with snow
The cold winds blow,
And shrill on leafless bough
The robin with its burning breast
Alone sings now.

The rayless sun,
Day's journey done,
Sheds its last ebbing light
On fields in leagues of beauty spread
Unearthly white.

Thick draws the dark,
And spark by spark,
The frost-fires kindle and soon
Over that sea of frozen foam
Floats the white moon.

Walter de la Mare


I thought this poem suited the weather we have experienced this week, starting off with a full moon last week then experiencing the heavy snows from last Friday.
Our village of Trefnant made the national news last Saturday the 9th, a picture on the front page of the Western Mail of a Denbigh Council gritter skidded off the road in the snow the previous day.
How lucky we were!
7.45am on Friday we were going to Denbigh to drop our dog off to be minded all day, we found the road was blocked by a van stuck in snow on hill by village so we decided to keep the dog with us.
We turned our car around and as we did so the gritter passed us.
Apparently it must have gotten past van then on through village and skidded off the A525 just a half mile on by Griffith's huge dairy farm. Due to traffic disruptions from snow, it took us over two hours to get to Upholland in West Lanc's.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:49 pm

I discovered the likely cause of gritter skidding off road at Trefnant last Friday was possibly wet cow plop on the road under snow.
I heard that the dairy farm has over 200 New Zealand Friesians milked twice a day and twice a day they cross road! hence a lot of cow plop on road under snow.
Makes sense really.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:05 pm

Had an email from an old friend of mine in Ontario Canada yesterday, he thought this missive would cheer me up in our politically correct world as Canada tries to come to terms with the multi-cultural, multi gender society in the twenty first century of today.

MARIJUANA and MARRIAGE

In Canada our government has recently passed two laws. They are:
1. Legalised gay marriage and
2. Legalised marijuana.
Legalising gay marriage and marijuana at the same time now makes perfect Biblical sense.
Leviticus 20:13 says "If a man lies with another man they should be stoned".
Apparently we just hadn't interpreted it correctly before!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:25 pm

The shortest day has been and gone, (21st yesterday) and now it gets progressively lighter every day, hurrah for that!
I spent the shortest but very enjoyable day fly fishing with Nigel up at Graiglwyd up above Penmaenmawr.
Tal y Van and surrounding mountains and hills were still snow-capped as was pretty much most of Snowdonia we noticed as we drove up to fishery.
Possibly due to cold fingers (or just old age), I lost my best rainbow trout yesterday trying in vain to net it.
After several failed attempts, the trout leapt and shook itself violently snapping my tippet, 10.2lb Riverge fluorocarbon right near the fly, at least I saw it close up!
There are some huge trout in there though, Graiglwyd holds the current Welsh record of 29.5lbs caught by a tackle shop owner from Flint.
Much later in afternoon I caught two consolation prizes of 3.5lb and 2.5lb.
Due to acute lack of space in freezers (TOO MUCH FRUIT!) I've filleted the bigger one and gave the other one away.

In the pic below is the 5ft wooden otter being inspected by Lottie our Bolognese on The Common by the viewing platform on the bank of the river Elwy. This is the carving I heard described earlier on in the year by a man to his child as a Merecat!
The far bank is where four young otters were seen swimming upstream (to left) this August by my other half.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:07 pm

These wooden otters seem to be springing up everywhere you go, there are also a few eagles about at the Moel Famau car park.

Every time you mention one of your fishing expeditions I get really envious. I've just been having a spring clean in my bedroom and have several drawers full of fly tying materials, maybe I'll get around to dusting the rods off in the spring.

After having to put my old spaniel down a few weeks ago I only lasted a week before a replacement was acquired. Yet another springer spaniel and once again a rehomed dog from the North West English Springer Spaniel Rescue. I picked him up from kennels near Clitheroe, although as his last vaccination was with a Vets in Abergele perhaps he's a welsh dog. His recall is very poor, maybe I should try calling him in welsh.

He's a very lively and friendly 8-year-old dog and certainly the hungriest dog I've ever had. He's also very agile which is a worry as he can easily jump the garden wall but he's not very willing to come back. The name he came with is Nayo, someone said this is the name of a character in one of the X files films so perhaps that's the origin of his name.

It's still early days but with a bit more training and lots of treats, I'm sure I'll eventually get him to my way of thinking.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:06 pm

Well it's mostly all over bar the shouting! the Christmas and New Year celebrations are rapidly fading into fond memories and the mornings are now getting noticeably lighter. We have gained about 15 minutes of daylight I noticed last night, added from the winters shortest day!
We spotted our first (unusually all black) lambs in the field at the back yesterday, our first daffodils in flower last week, three clumps by the bus stop at the top of our road and of course, the first snowdrops out at Christmas! a big clump in our neighbours garden, well protected under some trees.
My koi are still up and roaming around the pond and taking the odd bit of live food (mealworms) but the small birds are beating them hands down for food consumption this past fortnight, pictured below is one of the hungry visitors to sunflower hearts during the recent snow.
Don't forget the RSPB garden bird count is later this month, very important,

Last but not least, I went to Wilko in Rhyl for some first early seed potato chits, a variety called Rocket, £2.75 for 2kgs.
Whilst I was wandering around I discovered that they are selling quite decent bird nesting boxes reduced to half price, just £2.50 EACH!
Now that is a bargain!
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