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Spring is nearly here!

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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:48 pm

Madeira is home to an awful lot of Monarch butterflies and they are as common as the Cabbage White butterfly is here in UK, maybe more so as I saw dozens over several areas on island.
Extremely difficult to photograph though as they are almost constantly on the move and seem quite jumpy.
The next photo says it all about January in a tropical location, bananas ripening in the sun, these bananas are smaller but much sweeter than ours from Morrison's, these were growing right outside our balcony; enjoy!
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Monarch 15th Jan.jpg
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:17 pm

Picked up some compost at B&Q yesterday, taking advantage of the 10% off on a Wednesday.
I bought 4 bags of the £6.93 Verve for 125 litres to start my first early spuds off ( be warned, they are really heavy!) Browsing around garden section I found another bargain!
Normally it's 2 kg's of seed potatoes for £4.00, less my 10% Wednesday discount of course and even better;------------- the offer of buy two for £5.00!
Now that's cheap any day, 4kg's of seed potatoes of your choice for £5.00,
I bought Kestrel, Nicola, Desiree and Wilja.
However, I wont be growing all of these spuds, just too many, so I will share them between friends and neighbours, this way I get a smaller amount but a bigger variety of taters.
Hopefully I'll get some decent spuds again this year.

Below I photographed a local resident of Funchal taking the rays and a few flies!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:48 pm

Anybody see Wednesday night's super blue blood moon?
I braved the freezing cold night to venture out at half past six to snap a couple of shots. Moon in cloud over Moel Y Parc.
It was a clear cold frosty night and just a tad cloudy on Wednesday so as the moon rose up over Moel Y Parc the full moon was partly obscured by low lying cloud.
It did seem unusually coloured and quite large so I looked at it again through my scope later as night sky cleared, indoors of course.
As it showed on the television earlier, the craters and mountains where quite clearly visible through scope, still couldn't see Morgan the butchers dog though?
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:56 pm

Second pic of red moon from back garden Wednesday night, Tremeirchion village is twinkling to bottom left of pic and the dark hump of Moel Y Parc is to the right.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:21 pm

Did you know that there's an award-winning vineyard in North Wales? The Conwy vineyard at Llandudno Junction has only been in existence since 2012 and a number of their wines have won prize medals in that time.

My brother and his wife visited the vineyard recently for a tour and tasting and came away very impressed. For further details visit their website. http://www.conwyvineyard.co.uk
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:45 am

Must be worth a visit, if only to support a local business enterprise, sounds really good though.
Just a thought Colin, but if you co-ordinate a sampling trip to the vineyard, then visit the nearby RSPB Conwy, who knows? you may spot some of those rose coloured seagulls the locals saw in that classic old film 'Whiskey Galore!'

Flushing out my Nexus pond filter this morning I found 9 frogs in the bottom!
They must be gathering in anticipation, no doubt preparing for 'The Big Bonk' sometime later this month, no signs of any frogspawn yet though.
Its been too wet and muddy to walk our dog down by the river these last few weeks so it's 'round the block' or, a car trip to the beach when the tides are right, thank goodness for my trusty Lavers Liverpool and Irish Sea tides table!
Its interesting spotting the various seasonal and not so seasonal flowers coming out as the daylight hours increase, winter flowering green hellebores, snowdrops and daffodils out everywhere, sky blue periwinkle scrambling up through a hawthorn hedge on the Old Denbigh Rd, daisies, primroses (and primula's) deep yellow forsythia, pale brownish yellow witch hazel, even male hazel catkins swelling and flowering.
At the side of Nant y Patrick where the trees were cleared last year, a whole south facing sunny bank of waxy yellow celandine with their under foil of veined shiny dark green leaves were out and glistening in the sun on Tuesday morning. It's all happening again, thank God!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:38 pm

Searched through wildlife ponds this very brisk and chilly morning looking for frogspawn, none laid yet so I got the rake out and gave them both a good clean out in preparation. There is still a mass gathering in my Nexus filter today but now there is at least nine or ten pairs coupled in plexus so spawn any day now!
I cleaned filter out on Friday morning and flushed seven single frogs out through flexible 2" pipe! on to my standard gooseberries. They were all collected and dumped in wildlife pond but I bet they're back in filter house now, positively balmy in there compared to outside pond with a crust of ice on.
I also noticed this morning I've got waving fronds of blanket weed growing already in my veg filter so that means the sun is getting warmer!

Walking our dog on the beach at Rhyl last week I managed to get some pic's of local birds, they are used to people on beach and don't always fly off when approached (slowly)
In the picture foreground you can see the remnants of the heaps of razor clam shells and others that littered the beach in their thousands earlier in December.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:26 pm

You've just reminded me that I'll have to clean out my wildlife pond before the frogs start spawning.

Looking at your photo from Rhyl beach, I think you can often get closer to the birds when walking along the shore than you can at the bird reserves. Another problem at the RSPB's reserve at Burton Mere is that, as well as being a long way from the birds on most of the ponds, you are also shooting into a bright sky.

I've recently joined the Deeside Naturalists Society and they manage a large reserve on the welsh side of the dee on land at the rear of the power station. I've only visited once so far when the tide was out but hopefully, I'll get better results when the tide is coming in and the wading birds are nearer to the hides.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:03 pm

I had a peek at the Dee Naturalists website Colin, that is quite cheap membership a year.
I couldn't help but notice that as a member, at Connah's Quay Nature Reserve I see you can actually participate in Twite ringing!
That's a first!
I'm normally rung by them usually trying to sell me something!
On a more serious note though, when I was a member of the Dee Wildfowlers, I roamed all over those marshes and the varied bird life then was pretty awesome. I have spent hours on end with my friend Paul on nice days just observing the birds through binoculars.
We saw a particularly gruesome sight one morning, a Heron struggling to swallow a lively redshank (with great difficulty) near a pool just off Parkgate, all the while a host of other small waders were jostling around and ever closer to them with the incoming tide. Nature is cruel at times.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:00 pm

I noticed a piece of our beautiful North Wales was on the BBC news this morning, an outside broadcast from the hills above Llanfairfechan with a now famous local farmer we have all come to know and like, Gareth Wynne Jones!
Coincidence, but Nigel and I spent yesterday in the same area up in the hills fly fishing with Huw Jones, Gareth's younger brother and every bit as pleasant and knowledgeable but bigger. A former formidable second row prop and looks it!
We fared better than the last visit up there, we reckon the snow melt from the Carnedd's put the fish on the feed as the few brave souls who ventured up there despite the cold breeze did better too. Two beautifully conditioned fighting fit rainbow of three and a half pounds and four pounds in late afternoon did me proud as did Nigel with four to the net.

Strange events on the frog home front have unfolded over the last few days. From last Friday the frogs have gathered and got increasingly vocal, particularly of a night in the rain so I fully expected a frogspawn extravaganza as in 2014.
Saturday night about 11.00pm I went out with a torch in the drizzle and counted over 30 frogs mostly coupled in small overflow pond and scattered over pathways and patio. Monday night, nothing, all gone and no spawn! not one single clump despite at least twenty odd coupled frogs in plexus, just amazing!
Hauled four more frog couples out of my Nexus filter this morning whilst flushing it out, just about a daily occurrence of late, but, still no frogspawn.
The sun is getting warmer and the days are getting noticeably longer and on cue my apricots have started to flower and my Redhaven peach and a cherry are swelling their flower buds in the greenhouse, even some fig buds are getting noticeably greener, another season and it's all happening again!
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