Sunday, 24 March 2013

It's finished!!

NO, I'm not going to throw my camera away after all, but instead of trying to compete with the standard of photos taken by the likes of Phil and the several Steves, I'll stick to making rocking horses and suchlike. Nice to see the latest attempt finished, thanks to the poor weather it's not been delayed by gardening, birding etc

Yesterday the final details - mane, tail and tack were added - just in time, too, as the gas cyliner in the heater in the shed ran out this morning!! Hope Neve likes it

Latest addition to my railway stock is this model of an electric train, superbly finished although the older (like 55 years older) one I been running still don't look too bad beside it  -it's the one on the nearer track.

Just been preparing details of trips Phil and me making to Coto Donana next month, and to the Brandenberg area of Germany in May, the latter with KLM from Manston to Amsterdam and then to Berlin, all for £142 return, brilliant. Watch out for the blogs when we return, don't expect much by way of pictures from me, though!!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Astonishing Porpoises

I called in at Samphire Ho this morning to see Phil, find out what birds might have arrived overnight, and have a bit of a walk round. This was the view from the carpark, a nice quiet seascape, you'd have found more waves on a cup of tea 
There were numerous Great Crested Grebes, a Red Throated Diver or two, a skein of 9 Brent Geese heading East - and then, a dark shape appeared and disappeared in an absolutely unmistakeable way. I did a double take and discoverd that almost anywhere I looked, from about a half-mile out and beyond, Porpoises were rolling up to breathe and down again.
For a couple of proper and excellent pics, have a look at Phil's blog - - I'm going to chuck my camera away!!
Not much of a photo I know, but the significant thing about these pics is that there were so many showing, it was possible to zoom in and focus on a patch of sea and sooner or later one would show in the eyepiece. I haven't seen this many Porpoises showing since I used to be taken sea fishing to Dungeness beach as a lad back in the early '60's, a wonderful sight

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

More Spring

More froggy goings on in the pond on Saturday, simply masses of spawn, and well over 20 amorous frogs

With help from Grandchildren about 6 lots were scooped into a bucket and put in the greenhouse out of the frost in view of the forecast. Today as the pond thawed the spawn could be seen to have survived and frogs were in there too as the slushy ice melted off. That in the greenhouse also OK
A walk down the Kingsdown Road this afternoon discovered these amazingly hardy Hawthorn buds and the very first flower in spite of that awful wind and the snow

About 30 Stock Doves out on the recently drilled field with some Rooks and a hint of their irridescent plumage in the welcome sunshine

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Spring (for a couple of days)

Pleasant suprise, in the trap this morning, 2 of these - Pale Brindled Beauty, smashing fine antennae
20.00 hrs, just entered the moth catch on my database and realised the Pale Brindled Beauty is new for my garden, that's a good stary to the year, or it would be if I could spell!

and a single Hebrew Character

and a single Dotted Border, obligingly giving a glimpse of it's hindwing

In the pond, the first school dinner semolina - sorry, no, that's frogspawn

and here's one of the amorous cuplrits - this evening at dusk there were well over a dozen in the pond!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Smelly blog (I wish), and news from the shed

After all that dull cold clag, some fine weather has induced the Sarcococca by the door to flower produce and scent, it's stunning, maybe it will attract some early moths. If only there was a way to upload the smell, it would knock your socks off. Also worthy of including would have been the lovely smell from the veg. garden after I'd turned it over this afternoon

Talk of the garden, and sun and (relative) warmth, the last spell of sunshine on 19th Feb - yes, that long ago - tempted this scruffy individual out for a feed, a very welcome and beautiful sight nevertheless. On the same day I was unsuccessful in getting a photo of a Buff-tailed Bumblebee

I suppose I shouldn't poke fun at the Butterfly as I invariably get scruffy when faffing about in the shed, which may be where this one had been hibernating
On the subject of the shed, coldness notwithstanding, progress on the rocking horse has been steady, it's now ready to be painted a dappled grey, then the tack, and the swing stand! Nice to discover that good old Rustin's knotting is still available
The primer has lifted the grain nicely ready for smoothing down, then lots of thin coats undercoat before finishing. Please note the face mask used for priming, H & S and all that!
Also in the shed some progress with the railway, but it's just been too cold for much, and the little computers in the engines don't like the cold, either. We have however built a retaining wall, some embankments, and planted grass. The wall IS vertical, honest, it's the camera

And I can't resist showing off the electronic track plans for working the points (and remembering which way they are set - after several crashes!)
Now some pretty spring flowers including a couple Hellebores, they are having a very good early spring this year


This is a Primula and not an Auricula, apparently, a gift to Nancy and delightfully attractive

The Moth trap has been dug out and tried last night, no catch, but it won't be long we hope if the Sarco does it's stuff. Last year was not a good one, although a total of 174  species for the year was pretty good, of which 22 were new. Biggest "catch" was on the late date of 5 September, 440 moths in the trap. Best night for diversity was 19August with 37 species