Hello. Thank you for calling in. Here we are on the last day of February 2015 and every single day of this month I have found something which has made me happy. Every Single Day. That's pretty good for a month which lots of people find dreary.
I do love a Saturday with nothing in the diary. We turn off the alarm and wake when we are ready. We drink tea in bed and read the paper. There is usually some sort of cooked breakfast but as I have given up eating bread for Lent, mine was less indulgent today. It's very leisurely and one of the pleasures is looking out of our bedroom window. Allow me to explain...
About twenty feet away from our bedroom window there is a tree, a hawthorn, not a large tree by tree standards but large for our garden. It marks the seasons for us: in early spring the bright green leaves unfurl followed in May by voluptuous clouds of heady, creamy blossom; later in the year there is a feast of red berries for the visiting birds, then the leaves turn from green to brown and fall, leaving the skeleton of bare branches. I never seem to tire of looking at this tree. And ah, yes, the aforementioned visiting birds. Sparrows, blackbirds, robins, starlings, dunnocks, blue tits and great tits all love this tree and we love them - although we were not so keen on the collared doves which nested there one summer and woke us up at 4.10am every morning. We used to feed the birds but now that we have younger, agile, carnivorous cats it seems cruel to lure them to possible death so we don't feed them any more, but still they come because this native tree is home for so many insects (more than 300 species according to the Woodland Trust). In particular, we always have a lot of great tits and I am sure that I once read somewhere that they are very fond of a particular insect which lives on hawthorns, but I can't remember what that insect was. Grrr! Two years ago we had a very noisy greenfinch for a few weeks.
As I looked out at the tree this morning we had two very welcome and unusual visitors, only the third time I have seen them here in 27 years: long-tailed tits. I couldn't photograph them so I shall show you an illustration instead -
And here is what the book says about these birds -
Do you see that? "You are not likely to see a Long-Tailed Tit in your garden." I was ridiculously excited when I first read that! It was written by Len Fullerton, who wrote and illustrated this book which has been a dear companion of mine for more than forty years -
This book is so well-loved that at some point, the spine fell apart and I repaired it with parcel tape. What a vandal! It was my first port of call for many years with sections including wild flowers, mammals, fish and amphibians as well as birds, butterflies
and the seashore.
Even the back cover of this book carries a gorgeous picture -
Seeing those two special little birds in the tree this morning made me feel very happy, as did getting this book off the shelf again and having another look through it. I think it might stay out for a while.
So, I have done it, I have blogged every day for a month! I plan to be back tomorrow to review these posts, to see what I have learned and maybe to work out how to use what I have learned to go forward. I hope you will join me.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x