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Old Monday 5th February 2018, 07:07   #9
Troubador's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 7,483
I really enjoyed reading your post and couldn't agree more about clouds. These swathes of water vapour are endlessly fascinating. From our upstairs back window we have a line of oak trees at the bottom of our long narrow back garden and a variety of other trees scattered about. Some of them have had leaf buds ready for spring for a while now, some wait till later. Some of them have moss in forks that our Long-tailed Tits gather to build nests with in a couple of months time and there are a few patches of lichens too. We have some visitors from your side of the pond too: Grey Squirrels. And although they have brought some problems with them their behaviour is interesting as are the few neighbourhood cats to dare to prowl through our garden. They all understand having a finger pointed at them while you stare at them. One or two stare back for a while but they all slink off in the end. We like cats but discourage them round the back because we have bird feeders there that have birds standing in line all day.
Is this possible for you? I mean to put out a seed feeder with sunflower hearts in and another with fat blocks in, and if you can, a bowl to catch rainwater with a few stones in so the birds can decide how wet they want to get. If you can do this then in a couple of weeks you should get a few bird visitors coming regularly in the winter.
Behind the row of oaks the ground falls away because we are on a hill and over the tops of the oaks we can see houses on the other side of the valley and above them we have what we call moors. These are wild open country on acid soils and which have a fabulous show of pink heather at the end of summer. The houses are interesting with different roofing materials and different colours, as are the parked cars. This variety of colours is great for checking out the colour balance of binos. In the few farm fields between the houses and the moors we can sometimes see flocks of sheep (in a month or two there will be lambs careering about too) small ponies, the occasional big horse, but never any cows.
Down one side of our back garden is a Hawthorn hedge and sometimes it is covered with spiders webs that light up when the sun is shining from the right angle and after a shower sometimes it sparkles with rain drops and all of this stuff looks better through binos.
We live about 40 miles from one of our biggest airports so the sky is often criss-crossed with contrails and the airliners that make them. We are also under the track of airliners heading across the Atlantic on a 'big circle' route and very occasionally we get something special flying over like the Battle of Britain trio of Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire, but more frequent are helicopters and last week there was an army twin-rotor Chinook that cruised through sounding like nothing on earth and looking like something prehistoric.
Sometimes our back garden is home to a family of Wood Mice and a few years back they persisted long enough for me to get an article written about their behaviour and we have had visits from other mammals too: fox, field vole, bank vole, brown rat and common shrew.
With some binos to hand there is always something to look at, but I hope your medical condition improves soon so you can get outside more regularly when the weather picks up.

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