Bleak skies in Scotland

Easter has been harsh this year. The daffodils stubbornly refusing to bloom except in some shady corners. The winds have been freezing and snow right down to the low hills of Angus.

Luckily the woods provide some shelter to small birds and there are a few out that I’ve not been able to see before. We caught a pair of Bullfinches in Craigmill Den

There are also people with feeders that attract a wonderful variety. Here are some shots of yellowhammers:

And for those who haven’t seen the most elegant sparrow  here’s a Dunnock:




Spring in the air.

I hope you can. Nice to see the snow disappear, even though the skiing’s been great.

Snowdrops have been lovely, and the crocuses are shouting their heads off at the sunshine. Primroses all over the lawn (sorry, the moss). Won’t be long before the daffodils are out.

The long tailed tits were back earlier in the week and today the crested tits made an appearance for the first time since I got the camera. He is seriously cute!



My book doesn’t help me determine if this was Mr or Mrs, but they were a pair. I have a good shot of the other one’s rear end if that would help?

We went to the wildlife photography exhibition at the V&A last week. Go if you can. It is amazing what some 10 year-olds can achieve. I think I learned two things.

  • I need a tripod
  • I need an enormous amount more patience

I mustn’t get discouraged 🙂



Promise kept

Well, nearly. Maybe the juvenile woodpecker I promised wasn’t there. Haven’t seen anything like him lately. Still trouble keeping the cats away from the back of the house. But Mr woodpecker deigned to come close this week. Notice the red patch on the back of his head as featured in books by people what know these things 🙂 :



MrWoodpecker2So I was pondering on how nice it is to regularly watch the willow tits, nuthatches and the woodpeckers, not to mention the tits, chaffinches and robins. I am halfway through fishing out my teabag, when along come the masses. Crowds of Long tail tits. Yay! Of course they can’t all get on the fat ball at once, but they do try.


They are so cute! So, what with Claire being the millionth person to use a bus ticket from the airport, a jolly good day all round!!


Hard times for winter residents

Winter brings rock hard ground and bare trees. The insects are all gone. So we help out a bit with bird seed, peanut nets and fat balls.

We are rewarded by a constant presence of tits of all kinds, though getting a picture of the volatile long-tails is proving elusive. We are not helped by the squirrel who will happily sit for hours munching his way through the seeds. This week he even detached a fat ball, bigger than his head, and struggled up to the top of the birch to eat it in peace.






Of course the mouse also exploits our generosity but doesn’t inhibit the birds. He certainly has to scuttle off for the woodpeckers.


We know the male has a red patch on the back of his head, and the juvenile has a red cap. We’ve only managed to catch the female at the table so far, though the others are hanging around in the woods.


Seemingly very happy and comfortable with the crowds we have a lovely Marsh/Willow tit pair. We don’t know which they are because although the songs are distinctive, they don’t talk with their mouths full.




Quiz answers

So today’s winner of a free walk in the woods is …. My only follower 🙂  The answers are:

A. A wren near Dunkeld in Scotland
B. A swallow in the Cinques Terres in Italy
C. A chaffinch in Geneva
D. A greater spotted woodpecker in Geneva
E. A green woodpecker in Geneva
F. A goldfinch in Geneva
G. A curlew near Carnoustie in Scotland
H. A shag near Arbroath in Scotland
I. A hooded crow in Lucca, Italy
J. A tree creeper in Geneva
K. A buzzard over Geneva Lake
L. A redstart in Geneva
M. A white tailed eagle on Lewis, in the outer hebrides
N. A grey wagtail in Anstruther, Fife
O. A baby stonechat on Ben Vrakie, near Pitlochry
P. A firecrest at Scotney Castle in Kent.

New sightings coming soon!