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It's WINTER!

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Old Tuesday 1st November 2005, 06:06   #1
bill moss
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It's WINTER!

Hi folks,

So now it is Winter. Well, that is we've changed the clocks back from Summertime so I suppose that it must be. And. The old Greeks, who knew a thing or two about most things and had legends to explain the others, had a legend for the Seasons, especially Winter, and to them it was the 4 months of the year that we call November-February.

Tis Winter!

And now must bright Persephone, her joyful seasons passed,
Return once more to Hades, as was promised long ago.
Tis Time!

And so Demeter saddens and all things slow in sympathy,
For her great loss, the treasured daughter gone once more below
Tis Limbo!

And then the last late glorious burst of colours fades and dies,
Leaves falling like Niobes tears and swiftly blown away.
Tis Winter!

And only that small hope, the Dark Lord's compact, bears them up,
That in the fullness she comes back to grace the Earth one day.
Tis Hope! Tis Faith! But! Tis Winter!

Well yes, that's all very well but it doesn't feel that way here in S Glos at the moment. Granted that the Summer birds have gone, and at least some of the Winter ones have arrived, but the leaves are still on more trees than they are off, ditto most of the hedges; the flowering shrubs in the garden are over but there are still tender bedding plants with flowers on them; the Hornets have finished with the Blue-Tit box (well it doesn't buzz when I tap it and nothing comes out), but on Saturday I saw a Bumblee-bee on the wing and on Sunday a Small Tortoiseshell ditto. The feeding flocks ARE back after their post-breeding breaks, but daytime temperatures are up in the 60s (don't talk to me about Centithings), so what's it all about? Perhaps Demeter has insomnia?

But all that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be getting our birdy-feeding plans together in case the real cold does arrive. Then the birds WILL need our help. Hard sustained frosts play havoc with the natural food supplies for the insectivores, Wrens, Long-Tailed Tits, and Pied Wagtails are especially susceptible and suffer severe population reductions; and ice is of no use to thirsty birds. So get prepared, just in case the Met Office is right this time.

Bill
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Old Tuesday 1st November 2005, 09:06   #2
Pam_m
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Well another great post and timely reminder from you Bill. There is certainly a chill in the air this morning, but what a bright sunny morning it is. I also have tender bedding plants still flowering, I cannot bring myself to uproot them yet, they are not in the way of Autumn/winter planting so I shall hang on to summer until the frosts blacken them !!! I have noticed Herons and Sparrowhawks flying around more often, and the Greenfinches returned to the feeders today after a couple of weeks of deserting the garden,still waiting for the Goldies to return again. Flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares flying around regularly, yes Winter is certainly just around the corner !!! Oh and I do hope the Met Office are wrong .

Happy Birding
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Old Tuesday 1st November 2005, 09:55   #3
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Too nice a day for it to be winter, I'm going to go out and shoot some more birds (don't panic, I mean with my camera!).

Pam, my goldfinches have never left yet, guess they'll be staying over the winter. Perhaps they'll pay a visit on Xmas day bringing some red and gold to the wintery garden scene

Hoping that MAYBE the long-tailed tits will come and visit, there's a large flock of them nearby but right now it seems they have enough natural food. I'm fairly sure some of the bird visitors come from the same area where I've seen the long-taileds so hopefully they'll join them and be led to the feeders
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Old Tuesday 1st November 2005, 16:25   #4
Ruth Daniel
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Talking

It's been a gorgeous day here too and we have a flock of Bramblings reported nearby so that to me signifies that Winter has indeed arrived!

Kat,
Just been reading the Radio Times and thought of you!
Channel 5 tomorrow at 7.15,Arctic Giants.....all about the Bowhead Whale!
Best wishes,

Last edited by Ruth Daniel : Tuesday 1st November 2005 at 16:55.
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Old Tuesday 1st November 2005, 17:34   #5
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Ahh Bill. What a legend you are! I love the poem. It's amazing how much you learn while your supporting youngsters with their learning. I remember learning all about Persephone with the year 4 class I worked with. I love the greek legends. I'm just in the throws of putting the garden "to bed" and I've made sure the feathered ones get nice and plump incase it gets cold. I'm being extra generous with the peanuts so that the boys will keep warm during the winter too. The witch hazel has turned beautifully in the last couple of days and I'm waiting for the dog wood to impress me with it's red branches.
Love to you and yours
Rose.
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Old Tuesday 1st November 2005, 19:57   #6
Thelma W.
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Hi, Bill, Sound advice there. I have been buying packets of suet at every opportunity, usually when they are bogofs which is more economical. I have bacon fat stored in the freezer, and bags and bags of food which will no doubt disappear very quickly if we hit a cold spell. I shall be making fat blocks, balls, and tubs - I use yogurt cartons, small plant pots, in fact anything to hand as a mould, though I must admit the blocks fit better in to the freezer!!

**********************
Quote:
Originally Posted by rose taylor
I'm being extra generous with the peanuts so that the boys will keep warm during the winter too.
Rose.
Rose, Our boys(or girls!) are feeding very seriously now. No playing or mooching around the garden, but straight in for the food. They eat it and are gone! They seem to have agreed one gets the table and the other the dish - most of the time, but occasionally the early "bird" gets both, and the second visitor looks most disgusted They seem to appreciate the variety we give them though!

What am I to do when they disappear for a while. For they have been part of our lives for three months now, and we shall really miss them. Do they visit you at all in winter Rose?

*************************

Bill, the birds are slowly coming back in ones and twos but our numbers and species are down this year. Perhaps there is still plenty of natural food out there, since the weather has been good generally. I find myself hoping for a hard winter, which is is very selfish, both in relation to the birds, and humans, but I am not even minding the leaves falling, as I can see our visitors more easily.
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