Saturday, 27 December 2008

HIghlights of Christmas Nature

Hope everyone has been having a lovely relaxing and creative holiday. Here are some highlights from our nature walks of the last few days:

Christmas Day - we saw a fox in the centre of Edinburgh, not as common a sight as it once was, since rubbish is now put in bins, rather than bin bags being piled in the street as they used to be.

Boxing Day - we walked along the Union Canal and saw: a goosander; loads of tits and finches in the trees and hedges in mixed groups and separately, including: blue tits, long tailed tits, greenfinches, goldfinches and bullfinches (a particularly pleasing sighting as they're declining quite badly these days). Also encouraging to see large numbers of house sparrows, another species that is declining across the country though it does seem to hold its own in certain selected locations (such as the Union Canal). We also had our best view ever of a kingfisher and the first we've ever seen on the canal rather than the rivers of Edinburgh (where we see them quite regularly). Not just a turquoise flash across the water but also a sitting pose in a tree over the water and a rather intriguing visit to a bird feeder (what would tempt a kingfisher to a bird feeder I wonder?)

Yesterday it was beautiful cold blue skies and the ground covered in crunchy frost. We walked through Inverleith Gardens, where we saw around 20 oystercatchers on the grass as well as plenty of swans, mallards and four tufted ducks in the pond. We then walked round the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. The squirrels were very lively and aggressive, grunting to each other and fighting and one of them attacked a pigeon. We also saw a lively and noisy mixed flock of tits, including several long tailed tits, a great tit and a few blue tits.

I'll be busy with other things for the next few days, but will be back again early in January. Enjoy the rest of the holidays!

23 comments:

furrybutts said...

LOL at the squirrel! What a tough little fella! Have a good holiday!!

oh said...

Crafty - thanks for sharing your bird tour! The sun is out today here in the Midwest and I may be able to talk the family into a Holiday walk - including binoculars and camera.

Happy New Year!

Rachel Fox said...

I'd love to see a kingfisher and I don't think I ever have!
x

Catherine said...

We see occasional kingfishers above our goldfish pond, but they are a different species in New Zealand, although they look quite similar
http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/kotare.html

Janice Thomson said...

I never heard of a goosander so that was a treat to look that one up - we call them the 'common merganser' here. Happy New Year Juliet.

inlandempiregirl said...

I miss getting out and appreciating the beauty of winter. The snow is just too deep and we hadn't seen any sunshine until this afternoon. I am glad I found another that loves Ansel Adams. I am going to continue to study his photography...and appreciate it also.

Alison Wiley said...

I love your high degree of nature literacy, the many birds you know by name being one example. Surprising and intriguing to hear of the squirrel attacking the pigeon! Though I have seen a squirrel quite wittily tease a dog by coming down a tree trunk to JUST beyond the dog's reach, and then mocking him.

polona said...

that was a lovely tour.
i hope you enjoy your holiday, and wish you a happy new year!

Selma said...

A walk to remember. How fortunate you are to have such an abundance of wildlife around.
Have a great New Year!!!

Rabbits' Guy said...

Sounds like some fine enjoyment and celebrating ....

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

A fox in the center of Edinburgh. How I'd love to see that. It must certainly be a good omen.

Marina said...

oh, how I wish I could see a fox!!!!!!!
I'm jealous :-)
thanks for your nice comment: aren't chatty birds one of the best things ever?

linda said...

lovely to meet you, crafty green poet! thanks for your comment to my blog, it's always nice to welcome a new face! love your blog - interesting about house sparrows, over here, they are considered a nuisance, not native at all and so to be discouraged but I didn't detect the same feelings in your posting...they take over the bluebird nest boxes and that might be why..I have tried to discern whether I have them but cannot tell with all the different finches and such I have...anyway, come back again soon and I will do the same ;)

Elizabeth said...

What a catalogue of lovely birds.
Happy New Year.

fourwindshaiga said...

Happy Holidays! I had to look up quite a few of the birds, but the walk sounds wonderful. We are between snowbanks right now.

Clockworkchris said...

wanted you to knmow my blog moved due to some unfortunate circumstances, but I have not stopped writing. For an invite I will need an email address. If you are not comfortable with this that's cool, but it's the only way to keep it private between people I trust online and keep out stalkers and such. Appreciate your support over the years and keep blogging.
clockworkchris@gmail.com

Crafty Green Poet said...

fourwindshaiga - i hope you noticed the links attached to the name of each bird....

chris - thanks for letting me know, sorry you 've had such problems in cyberspace...

Catherine - thanks for the link

Janice - we have mergansers as well, they can be quite difficult to tell apart from the goosanders!

Alison - thanks! I've been birdwatching since i was a child so I've had plenty of time to learn. I like your story of the squirrel!

Susan Richardson said...

Loved reading about your festive nature highlights - especially the kingfisher. Warm wishes for 2009.

Mistlethrush said...

Sounds like a wonderful walk - and good bird spotting.

Have to ask - was the goosander a lazy male? All they seem to do round here is rest on top of the water all winter! (A very boring duck I have to say....)Will have to write a poem about them one day.

Fiona Robyn said...

ooh, I've never seen a bullfinch, but we have goldfinches daily at our feeder - so pretty! Happy New Year x

lunarossa said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR, JULIET. ALLT HE BEST FROM FREEZING YORKSHIRE. CIAO. ANTONELLA

Devika said...

Hi Juliet!

Wish you a Very Joyous and Prosperous New Year!

devika

Every Photo Tells A Story said...

Just got back from Florida where one of my "new" favorite bird resides, the peculiar brown "pelican." Happy New Year, Juliet:)