The Garden Diary

November(part 2) - 2003

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16 November - It has turned into another good weather weekend and yesterday I managed to get the paving laid at the bottom of the garden. There are lots more bits and pieces to be done yet but at last the end of the job is in sight! When I stopped working, I looked up and saw my first bat for a long time. I stood there for a while watching as they flew across the gardens, hunting insects in the last light of dusk. I shall have to try to photograph one in flight - a challenge for the evenings to come!

A much easier challenge yesterday was this gull, one of a noisy group that has been around for the last couple of days.

I think it's an adult Black-headed Gull in its winter plumage, although its legs and bill seem to be more red than the orange described in the book I am looking at. The last time we had these gulls flying about here was back in January.

As I write this at 9am there is a Wood pigeon resting (or sitting -  I can't see its legs) on the rim of the feeder. It was relaxed enough to close its eyes briefly.


Today's activities have been few after yesterday's efforts, but it was good to have breakfast, and later, coffee with Sheila at the bottom of the garden, enjoying the morning's sunshine.


The Wood Pigeon with the feather problem was here again this morning, and it certainly looks as though its new feathers are growing well. It looks a lot 'tidier' today.

It spent the time here feeding furiously and only just paused long enough for me to get these two photographs.



I spent about an hour watching out for bats at dusk today, but not one appeared! I shall try again tomorrow, if it is dry.



18 November - Another picture to record the Pigeon's progress. You can see how much smoother the head looks. It will not be long before I have difficulty telling the difference between this one and the others that visit.

The weather has been dull, damp but very mild (14C)as the weather comes up from the south-west.

Yesterday I bought some paving for the slope up to the new paved area and spent some time setting them out in the rain. Today I'm suffering the consequences and have done nothing!



23 November - Since my last entry the weather has turned really foul, with non-stop rain for the last three days. Other than putting up some bits of fencing progress down the garden has come to a halt. Relief form the gloom is promised, along with colder weather over the next few days.

Two days ago Sheila and I watched from our bedroom window as a Great Spotted Woodpecker made its way past our garden, visiting the older trees in neighbours' gardens. It wasn't possible to get a photograph.

Yesterday I was again looking out of the same window when, at about 11am I spotted these two birds in our Hawthorn. I think they are a pair of Siskins.

By the time I got hold of my camera they had moved on to an apple tree a couple of gardens away. This very poor image was taken through the double glazed window. They flew off before I could take another shot through an open window.


I was still watching them when I spotted a healthy looking fox in that same garden. Moving quickly, it searched every corner of the garden before moving through my neighbour's garden and into ours.

Even though I had a camera available, the fox's speed and the poor lighting conspired again getting any good images. This is the best picture I took, as it dashed down the newly positioned paving stones.

Having thoroughly explored the garden it jumped back into the neighbouring gardens and finally disappeared over a 7ft fence.




27 November - The good weather is back (which I suppose is bad as we are being warned of water shortages next year!) and a frosty start has been followed by blue skies throughout the day.

The paving stones pictured above are now surrounded by grass, and today I spent several hours bedding in more of these stones to form a path down the length of the garden. The promise of more good weather should enable me to complete that task tomorrow.

The Great Spotted Woodpecker made several appearances this morning, and this time I did manage to get a couple of pictures. Unfortunately, the only time I had a clear 'shot' it was three gardens away so these images are rather fuzzy. A slow shutter speed also meant that the head was blurred as it was in constant movement.

The right-hand image has been included only because it shows the red patch on the back of the head.



While I was watching the woodpecker, a pair of immature female Blackbirds appeared in the garden.  After pausing long enough for me to capture this image they were off, chasing each other along the tree line.

There is an encouraging level of Blackbird activity at the moment with regular visits by both sexes to feed under the Hawthorn.





The moist ground next to the big pond is now decorated with a number of these gill fungi. The left hand individual has a head approximately 12mm across and stands about 50mm above the ground.

Up until recently there have been very few fungi seen in the garden this Autumn, perhaps because it had been so dry.




28 November - Another frosty start this morning - and the first time this winter that I have had to pour hot water onto the birdbath.

The photographs show the frost on rose hips and a Haw. I like the way the frost picks out the star shape on the top of the Haws.

The rest of the day was taken up with trying to get the path sorted out before the weekend, when heavy rain is forecast.





29 November - A thoroughly dismal day, with drizzle and periods of heavier rain without stop.

The only moments of brightness were the brief return of a Song Thrush to the Hawthorn (pictured here after it flew up to the conifers) for the first time since July, and the reappearance of the Coal Tit after a gap of two weeks.


Click on the images to see larger versions

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