Sunday, 31 January 2010

Today is the last day of January

With February on our doorstep, soon to be followed by March and April, I find my thoughts turning increasingly to the Spring and the following Summer.
Summer for me would not be the same without butterflies, particularly the 'Blues' of the South Downs.
One of these 'Blue Species' is the fabulously tiny, yet totally entrancing, Silver Studded Blue, a specialist of Lowland Heathland and the inspiration for this poem.

The Dance of the Butterflies

Between the Bracken, below the Birch,
A streak of orange, an flash of blue,
Amongst a shaft of golden sunlight,
Upon fast moving wings.

The Butterflies dance in spirals round,
The purple Heather flowers.
They dance to silent music,
From purple wind-blown bells.

The Grasses blow and nod their heads,
Trees whisper in the breeze,
And still entranced by purple bells,
Dance the Butterflies of the heath.

Sophie May Lewis
© S-May 2010

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Back Garden Birdwatching

With the UK in the grip of an unusually cold and snowy winter, today seeing the third fall of snow in four weeks, many wild birds are seeking the sanctuary of well stocked bird feeders and tables in urban and rural gardens.

Our tiny garden is now regularly visited by many species of bird, all keen to feast on the variety of treats we provide. Aside from the usual mixed seeds and sunflower hearts, a thistle seed feeder, fat balls and fat-filled coconut halves, the bounty includes grated apple, some raisins and sultanas, plenty of dried mealworms and a generous amount of cheese - the remains of a piece of Stilton in fact! this gourmet recipe has been attracting two pairs of Robins, Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tit, House Sparrows, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Wren, Coal Tit, Great Tit. My favourite of all (at the moment!), and the most unusual is a beautiful Grey Wagtail who has been spending a lot of time in the garden or flying in and out for short visits. This little character's confidence is growing with every visit and she has even started threatening the other birds when they come too close!

A Blue Tit enjoys a quick snack on one of the fat-filled coconut halves.

The Grey Wagtail - tap dancing?!

'BBBRRR! Don't like all this white stuff!' A male House Sparrow sulks in the bushes before flying away to join in yet another scuffle among his fellow Sparrow friends.

This male Chaffinch has been an occasional visitor to the garden for at least a couple of years. Recognisable by the way one wing seems to 'droop' and hang at an unusual angle, he seems to be thriving, unaffected by this identifying trait.

Keeping a check for danger...or other House Sparrows with which to argue!

A female House Sparrow enjoys peace, quiet and sunflower-hearts.

One of our visiting, and very territorial Robins, singing from the top of snow covered bushes.

Feathers fluffed up for warmth this Robin was singing his heart out in competition with another of the same species singing from a neighbours garden.

Clockwise from top - Grey Wagtail, House Sparrow and Robin

Perfectly posed, the Grey Wagtail visits the gourmet platter of treats...again!

'Yay! Stilton!' The Grey Wagtail seems to be a lover of cheese!