Thursday, 20 January 2011

What is it about Ice???

Another cold one today-barely above freezing all day and the fog never did lift. So much to Wh's delight the bird bath was frozen when he got home. Only a thin layer maybe 2 or 3 mm thick but enough for him to spend half an hour exploring it.

He started by tentatively breaking the sheet into smaller pieces-one of which looked like a dagger so was used to pretend he was a rampaging pirate. Then he realised when he dropped the ice it shattered, so started to experiment how hard he needed to throw it before it broke into really small pieces, he'd clearly been paying attention to a conversation with his Dad last night about 'force'!! (For the safety conscious amongst us Wh and I did have a conversation about when and where you are allowed to throw things before he got too carried away.)

Once all the ice was scattered across the road he thought he would investigate how cold the water that was left was, by dipping his foot in, school shoes and all-at which point I decided enough exploring for today!

The whole thing left me wondering what is it about ice that we want to test it with our weight, watch it crack, and enjoy throwing things onto it. All through the cold spell the canal near to us was frozen and the debris on the top was astounding by the time it started to melt-people, yes adults included, seem compelled to try to break it.

I worked with some young people recently and they spent a happy hour smashing the ice on the (nearly empty/under renovation/no wildlife in it) pond. The energy they expended turned them from angry and unhappy to calmer and able to verbalise their emotions. Yes it appeared destructive and negative but that's how they were feeling!!

I enjoyed breaking the ice too, but I was also able to enjoy its splendour, holding large sheets up to the sunlight and seeing the patterns created there. The students weren't ready for the beauty yet-but hopefully after a few more sessions working on their anger, they can start to really see for the first time some of the wonderful nature that  surrounds them...

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Thrushes galore

Another observation by C this morning-2 song thrushes on the green. We have never had thrushes locally until the last 12 months-I'm guessing the cover wasn't right before with there being no mature trees as its a newish estate. Last year we began to get regular visits from a mistle thrush, singing its heart out from the roof tops and then in the last few months we have seen song thrushes around occasionally. Imagine our joy at finding some broken open snail shells in our front garden last week-maybe my salad leaves will be safe at last!!!

That's provided the thrushes hang around now all the bushes have been cut back to the barest branches by the council,at least its been done before any of the birds should have started prospecting for nest sites-although the blue tits have already been surveying our nest box so love is definitely in the air already for some birds...

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Miserable Monday...

Ok not Monday,Tuesday but my first day back at work for two weeks so it feels like a Monday-and worst of all catching up on paperwork-filing and emailing etc so I resigned myself to a day of drudgery. Then my gorgeous girl made my day...running up to the office window with a beaming smile.

Overflowing with excitement she eventually managed to explain that she had been playing hide and seek with W and whilst stood at the bottom of a tree a flock of a dozen long tailed tits had landed above her head, staying for a few minute,calling to each other and giving her a perfect view. A joyful memory for her, and a joyful memory for me-the smile and excitement of truly experiencing nature...

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Year!!

A mild start to the new year has finally meant a return for our small birds in the garden, after weeks of silence and nothing entering our frost pocket back garden this morning we had several blackbirds, a wren, a robin, a chaffinch and great, blue and coal tits. It made me realise just how much I'd missed them whilst eating my morning toast.

It helps I think that I haven't tided at all outside so there is leaf litter everywhere which the blackbirds and robins are scattering to the four corners of the garden. They've also repeatedly pulled up my garlic and onions which were struggling anyway having been planted out just before the first snowfall. My patience will be tested I think whilst I wait to see whether any have rooted or not despite all their tribulations!!

We went for an extended family walk today at our local quarry and the small birds there were very busy catching up on their feeding. Within a few minutes we had seen a nuthatch on the peanut feeder adjacent to the car park but my two were most pleased by the woodpecker we heard before we'd even got out of the car-couldn't see it but the drumming was impressive. Spring is definitely in the air for the birds, even if its going to be a while longer before it feels like it for us.....