Spring is nearly here!

Advice on Koi,Ponds and Equipment

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:43 pm

I thought our readers would enjoy this fleeting autumn sight as much as I did, a maple in full colour on the Common by the river Elwy in Llanelwy.
Maple on Common.jpg
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sun Nov 25, 2018 6:48 pm

After the typically miserable dank November day of yesterday, here is what January looks like on Madeira, these pretty Bougainvillea should cheer you up, it did me and lots of other folk from Blighty!
The other picture, of a weather station on Madeira, was taken on the islands highest point, over 6,000 feet above sea level it sits above the clouds as you can see.
There is a trout breeding farm on the road back to Funchal from this weather station with some monster rainbow trout in, no fly fishing there though!
Madeira is the only holiday destination I have ever been to numerous times over past 30 years and never get tired of. Besides the pleasant sub-tropical climate, it has so many beautiful interesting places to see and the people ever welcoming it just draws you back time and again.
Weather station above the clouds.jpg
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January Madeira.jpg
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:15 pm

"What a difference a day makes" so go the words of an old song by Dinah Washington, today its autumn tomorrow its winter, yet walking by the river today it felt like a warm spring day! But don't let that fool you, the aftermath of hurricane Diana that hit us on Wednesday is strewn around the footpaths and fields and the river is running higher than it has been for some time, up and over the concrete pier reinforcements on the road bridge in St Asaph this morning, this after last nights heavy rain. It was also the anniversary yesterday of the devastating St Asaph floods of November 2012 and just three years later the people of St Asaph woke up on Boxing day 2015 to a flood almost as bad. This was the flood when somebody posted a picture in the Daily Post of just the head of the five foot wooden otter showing above the fast flowing flood.
It now seems sadly ironic that just a short time later, the person to give the ok to over £3 million being spent on new flood defences was the then Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant AM.

After seeing the sad spectacle of the deer hind killed the other week, it was gratifying to see a small herd of 9 deer in the same field by Eryl Hall on the Old Denbigh rd. earlier this week.
A big thumbs up to Colin for bringing up the subject of the RSPB annual bird count in January in this months Koi Club newsletter. It's very important that they get as much detailed information as possible so do please register with RSPB if you haven't already and get that count in!
It's not rocket science of course to work out the best way to attract the birds to your garden in order to count them it's: bird feeders!
Please do email me if you want the cheapest source of bird food, like sunflower hearts or suet balls but most of it is off eBay or the internet anyway, so, fill your boots; ( and the bird feeders)
Who knows? you might attract one of these rare beauties below;
Goldcrest 2018.jpg
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Last edited by pollygog on Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:12 pm

The clustr'd berries claim the eyes
Ow'er the bright hollies gay green leaves,
The ivy round the leafless oak
Clasps its full foliage close.

For Natures soon in Springs best charms
Shall rise reviv'd from Winters grave.
Again expand the bursting bud,
And bid the flowret bloom.

Extracts from ' Ode Written On The First Of December'
by Robert Southey 1774-1843
Thought this poem was appropriate for today.
Southey was a humanist and he and a close friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge dreamed up the idea of 'pantisocrasy' a scheme to set up a Utopian community in the America's, unsurprisingly, they cast their dream aside and settled for marrying two sisters, Edith and Sara Fricker: after all, they were poets!

Should have mentioned it but the bird (Goldcrest) pictured in last post is Britain's smallest bird, yeah, it's smaller than a Wren.
They are not fazed by humans either it would seem as I have stood (very quietly) 15 feet away from one working its way very busily over a conifer in our back garden, picking aphids off.
Just ordered some more 1 litre suet tubes with peanut and mealworms, 10 x 1 litre tubes for £40.00 delivered, plus 12.75 kgs of suet pellets with mealworms for £15.50 delivered that's very good value.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:13 pm

Bottom picture of Bluetit feeding on 1 litre suet tube with insects and seeds, these are just £4 each inc P&P, excellent value for money if you order 10. Very popular, they are eaten by just about everything that comes in garden!
Top picture has a 1 litre suet tube in squirrel proof feeder on right with Coal tit on, front feeder contains sunflower hearts that Goldfinches love, feeder on left contains Niger seed.
3 Goldfinches + 2 Coal Tits.jpg
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Bluetit on suet.jpg
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:18 pm

Summer grows old, cold-blooded mother.
The insects are scant, skinny.
In these palustral homes we only
Croak and wither.

Mornings dissipate in somnolence.
The sun brightens tardily
Among the pithless reeds. Flies fail us.
The fen sickens.

Frost drops even the spider. Clearly
The genius of plenitude
Houses himself elsewhere. Our folk thin


Thought this poem would cheer you all up this lovely December morning and looking further on the bright side: it's just 5 more days to the Winter Solstice then it starts to get a tiny bit lighter every new day!

This weeks stormy weather dumped a whole load more leaves into my Koi pond and from there into my Nexus filter, I have beefed about this before but the Nexus just cannot cope with leaves or filamentous algae. I flushed my filter out on Friday this last week to get the leaves out that were clogging filter and after a minute or so it stopped emptying through waste.
Nothing unusual there for a Nexus!
Standard procedure is to close 2" valve on waste, disconnect flexible black pipe and blow long and hard down it, this normally clears it after three or four blows. However as soon as I disconnected waste pipe from valve housing, a most awful smell came out, along with a lump of congealed leaves and a very discomposed frog!
Behind the manky dead frog were three live frogs among detritus that had been flushed out of bottom of Nexus, they're now in wildlife pond to overwinter.
I had to wash then dry the end of flexible pipe then put a plastic bag over end before I could blow down it to clear leaves clogging pipe.
That was unpleasant as the smell still lingered in the pipe!

The things you do for your Koi !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our bird feeders are well up and running but a most unwelcome feathered individual visited our garden at precisely 09.15am on Wednesday morning. A real chancer! a grey heron landed on our greenhouse roof and eyed up my fish for a few minutes before it was seen off the premises by a small dog!
CHEEK :shock:
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:13 pm

We spotted a new bird visitor to St Asaph recently on our doggy walks, a Little Egret, I was told about it some weeks ago by other dog walkers who had seen it but we have now seen it personally twice this week. It was feeding in the Elwy this morning and doesn't seem too fazed by people passing by with dogs, but not too close! We positively identified it by its distinctive yellow feet and black bill, that's another first!
All I need now is to remember to take my camera next time I go to the Elwy.
We had a quite quiet Christmas holiday this year and some nice mild weather, a pleasant change after all the rain and bad weather this last few weeks. The lunchtime temperature yesterday was 11.5c outside the restaurant in Pentre Llanrhaeadr where we had our (superb) Christmas dinner with magnificent clear views of the Clwyd's as we dined. I noticed today a honey bee that landed on our conservatory window, its that mild!
I'm taking advantage of this balmy dry weather to pot on some of my trees in tubs that have outgrown their allotted tubs, one of the important ingredients I swear by is mycorrhizal fungi that is added to the root ball mixed in with John Innes No 3 compost.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:38 am

"The Death of the Old Year"

Old year you must not die;
You came to us so readily,
You lived with us so steadily,
Old year you shall not die.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Another New Years Eve! that pivotal moment: at the end of an eventful year when all we have left is our memories, some rather pleasant memories, some not so good, and some we would rather forget.

Today finds us standing at the crossroads of the year, facing with some trepidation another journey into the unknown. We bid a somewhat reluctant goodbye to the old but the eternal optimist in us tells us we should cheerfully embrace the new tomorrow, a new day, a new year, a new way and a new purpose.
And so we kid ourselves!

I know Colin reminded you all about the RSPB bird count at the end of January but do please register as it serves a very useful purpose.
I posted a picture of our smallest bird, a Goldcrest recently, on 30th November, well I saw two on Saturday morning picking over their favourite conifer in our back garden, hopefully its a pair and they breed!

I wish you all (and your fish) a healthy peaceful and trouble-free new year.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:19 pm

I hope that 2019 brings us the same long hot summer we had in 2018; without that awful long spring run-up to it.
The minor cold snap we had recently has brought a greater number of birds to the feeders including one of my favourites, the Long Tailed Tits, they're charming little birds that move around in flocks in the winter, never keeping still, flitting around from branch to feeder, feeder to branch and keeping up a constant musical twitter. They love the suet pellets along with sunflower hearts, see below.
Also pictured below is an unusual visitor to our feeders, certainly not uncommon as we have several pairs nesting each year in our hedges and shrubbery but they are normally found with the chaffinches, blackbirds and robins hopping around for the dropped food on the lawn beneath feeders or feeding from the ground feeder like the long tailed tit.

It's not long to the RSPB garden bird count so I'm building up a strong avian clientele.
I mentioned it before on here that I don't count the birds in a one hour session but spread it out through the day, half hour around 9.0am then two 15 minute sessions about 11.0am and 3.0pm, this way I find I get a more accurate idea of just what's around.
The bird watch now includes any animals or amphibians you see in your garden.
I'll bet there's precious few who log a Muntjac! they are so incredibly secretive and nocturnal, I knew some folk lived near High Wycombe back in the eighties had them regularly visit their garden for years and never even caught a glimpse of one, until one got entangled in some garden netting!
Not sure if capturing one on your security camera is included?
Long Tailed Tit.jpg
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Hedge Accentor.jpg
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:10 pm

The classic tell tale signs that winter is in remission and spring is around the corner: First lambs, we saw our first lambs on 20th December, Old Denbigh Rd near former trotting pony breeding station. Snowdrops, first seen out in flower in a neighbours garden 4th January. Daffodils, in my sister in laws front garden close by us, on Boxing Day December! Today there are clumps of daffodils in flower around the Post Box at the top of our estate. Hazel catkins in flower next to the football pitch on 'The Common' in St Asaph on 29th December. The four seasons are now just barmy, so much for global warming!
The picture of the very old stone road bridge shows the concrete apron swept clear and the water level dropped below the consistently high levels of this past autumn and winter. This is where the Dippers nest each year, there is a dipper in the picture standing on the concrete apron, its tiny! but I wanted a pic of bridge support and not the bird.
In the devastating 2012 winter floods the water level rose to within just inches of the top of this arch!
Stone Bridge Llanelwy.jpg
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