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Happy gardening!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Very Happy New Year for 2011!

Thank you so much for visiting my blog - maybe for the first time or perhaps you're a regular visitor - whichever the case I really hope you have  a very Happy New Year as we start 2011 - hoping that this year will bring you much happiness, health and prosperity and not to forget - fun in the garden enjoying all the simple pleasures in life that often get bypassed and forgotten!
It's been wonderful to see the array of winter bird visitors in our garden here in northern Brittany - and I thought I'd share one or two of the photos I've taken over the Christmas period to share with you here.  The first two photos were a fantastic surprise - I was out walking the dog today at 10am this morning and had luckily decided to take my camera - still feeling rather bleary-eyed after a fun and rather late night with friends :-) - only a few minutes from our house I heard the frantic tapping up in the trees that I've only heard 3 times in 7 years - that of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and then tried in vain to get a photo.  It was easier said than done as this species of Woodpecker is very much smaller than the Great Spotted moving around so quickly and drumming frantically into the dead wood of the trees -these were the best ones (not the best but at least it will give you an idea). Only the male has red on his head  - this was a female - no bigger than the size of Blackbird with a small round head and short, pointed beak - the feathers on the back are distinctly barred in black and white - and being particularly shy they're not often seen, so I considered myself very fortunate.

Just before Christmas having only been saying that I'd not seen the Blackcaps this year I happened to look out of the window of the bedroom and spotted this little chap chomping on the last few Crab Apples - this is Malus "Everest" - a smallish sized tree but one that produces lovely blossom in spring and a good harvest of fruit - I must admit I usually leave these on the for the birds.
Another shot I was pleased to get was that of a Redwing - this is the first time I've seen them in our actual garden - they're normally well disguised amongst the piles of leaves in the woodland foraging for the dregs of the apples but this one was a bit braver!
Two days ago I was up in our office looking out in the garden when I noticed a distinct lack of activity in the garden - not a small bird in sight - I very quickly realised why - talk about unsubtle - this beautiful Sparrow Hawk was perched on the roof of our bird table... another moment of having the camera there just at the right time... what a magnificent bird.
This winter we seem to have quite a number of Robins in our garden - this was a shot taken before Christmas whilst we still had the snow.


This photo was also taken during the snow and features a sparrow that looks as if it's dunked his head into a bit of bleach... I've never seen any others quite like it!

As the year progresses I hope to be able to bring you more photos from our garden of both the plants and wildlife and keep you posted on our latest projects as well as postings from further afield as well.

Take care, enjoy the festivities and see you soon... 

31 comments:

Charlotte said...

And Happy New Year to you too Miranda - I will get to France this year - one of my resolutions! x Charlotte

shirl said...

Hello there Miranda, just popped by to wish you better health in 2011 and much happiness in all you do x

I can easily imagine how pleased you were to capture these bird images. It’s always trickier when you get new and fleeting glimpses. You did well there. I particularly liked the Redwing. We saw our first sighting on Christmas Day! I was thrilled. No pics though as it was there one minute and gone the next.

Good captures of the Sparrowhawk there too. We’ve seen visits here just now too. Delighted to hear you’ve caught a glimpse of the Blackcap. I’ve been looking for it too but maybe this year it hasn’t stopped by with the weather being so cold. I like your pic, very nice.

I do enjoy my visits to your blog and look forward to keeping up with you more regularly in 2011 :-D

Jan@Thanks for today. said...

Happy New Year to you, Miranda. I love the bird visitors in winter. So many of yours look like ours but are called something different. Your first woodpecker looks similar to our Downy one; and your robin SO resembles our Bluebird! Whatever names they have they are all lovely and true gifts in our gardens. Wishing you joy in the year ahead!

Jan said...

Happy New Year. Loved your bird photos. We have had a red-tail hawk hanging around our feeder. Activity sure does stop when he shows up.

Jan
Always Growing

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Charlotte - a Very Happy New Year to you too... just incase you're interested I'm as far as I know going to be helping out on the garden tour that is going to all the beautiful Normandy gardens this year in September including the well known Le Jardin Plume - the other Brittany Tour is being repeated this year in May! Take care Miranda x

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Shirl - lovely to get your visit and so glad you liked the pictures - infact I've not seen either the dear little BlackCap or the Redwings in our garden since... maybe if we get more snow they'll return! My back is much imnproved which is a relief and as it's a milder day today am planning to go and do a bit of work outside here... take care Miranda x

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Jan @Thanks... really lovely to have you visit my blog - very Happy New Year and hope you also have a great 2011 Miranda x

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Jan @ Always Growing - thank you so much for visiting and a very Happy New Year to you - it's great being able to share not only what is growing the garden but also the birdlife too - take care Miranda x

Damo said...

Happy New Year! Wow and a Sparrowhawk in your garden....very envious!

Miranda Bell said...

Many thanks Damo - very Happy New Year to you... it was a bit of a WOW when I spotted the S.Hawk on the top of the bird table and my camera was there just at the right time - not always the case :-)

Midmarsh John said...

Well done capturing the Redwing and the Sparrowhawk.
Very best wishes to you and yours for 2011.

Jean wild said...

A Very Happy New Year to you too Miranda. I am a first time visitor to your blog and I can't tell you how much pleasure it has given me.
I have just spent 2 hours searching blogs in Brittany and I have been rewarded with yours. I shall be a regular visitor. Please keep it up as so many people begin and for some reason lapse.

Chris said...

It has been a good winter so far for bird watching in the garden :-) Happy New Year to you to, Miranda.

Carol said...

Happy New Year Miranda! Wonderful Photos!! It is great to mark the New Year with birds! I love love your little Robin! Amazing photos of your Sparrow Hawk! So happy to have found your blog. A great New Years present! Best Wishes! Carol

debsgarden said...

I am always excited to see a new bird in my garden. You seem to have a great variety. I love the photos of the sparrow hawk. And your robin has stolen my heart!

I hope that 2011 brings you good health and plenty of happy gardening days. I look forward to following your beautiful garden in this new year.

A wildlife gardener said...

Brilliant photos of your birds, Miranda...loved the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker...we don't see those, so nice shots :)

Happy New Year to you and happy gardening too :)

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Miranda your bird images are so wonderful. Usually the Robins leave our area in the winter but this year a couple have stayed around. The Hawk is so fantastic. You have a beautiful variety of birds around your home now. Have a great week!

leavesnbloom said...

Hello Miranda

Your pictures of the little birds are lovely to view. How wonderful to get a capture of one of those woodpeckers. I sometimes here the tapping but I've never been able to spot one yet. We've hardly had a robin in the garden this winter but there are plenty of blue tits and sparrows. Redwings are in the fields nearby but I don't think they would ever venture into our garden - while black caps are a new bird to me. I see in the comments that Shirl is on the look out for them so they must frequent the UK during the winter.


I hope your back is improving - I've noticed that as each week goes by the pain lessens. Thankfully the nerve pain has now gone. I would n't wish that pain on any one.


Have a Happy New Year!

Miranda Bell said...

Midmarsh John - many thanks and hope 2011 is a good one for you and yours as well - looking forward to more exciting captures of the birdlife and gardens this year.

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Jean - am so glad you found my blog and that you liked it so much - I've been writing this for some time now and have no intention in giving it up - I run a gardening and design business over here and so you can imagine there are periods in the year when blogging is difficult but I do my best... look forward to your future visits... Miranda

Claudia said...

I enjoyed watching your photos!

Happy New Year!

Miranda Bell said...

Thank you for visiting Chris - lovely to hear from you and hope 2011 is a really good year for you and your lovely garden Miranda x

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Carol - thank you so much for your lovely comments and so pleased you found my blog too - I love taking photos of all that is around here and especially rewarding when it's birds that are difficult to capture - I've been out in the garden most of the today infact clearing away much of the dead stuff - giving the poor bulbs a bit of space in which to grow now... look forward to your return visit - Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Debsgarden - a very Happy New Year for 2011 - thank you so much for your encouraging comments - I love the variety of birds here too - was out for most of the day doing all sorts of jobs in the garden I missed out on in October when I hurt my back - was so great to be outside again - just looking forward to warmer days.. Miranda x

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Wildlife Gardener - thank you for popping over for a visit - I was thrilled to get the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in a photo - I've only seen her about 3 times in 7 years and the other two times of course I didn't have my camera - so a lovely New Years' Day surprise - have a very good 2011 and will visit your own blog again v soon... Miranda x

Miranda Bell said...

Hockinghill's Gardener - a real warm welcome to my blog as I think this is your first visit - always lovely to see new visitors on my blog as well as in the garden - hope to be able to capture more of the bird/wildlife and plants and trees in Brittany over the coming months... have a good week too - Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Rosie - so glad you enjoyed the birdy pictures - interesting that this is the first year I've seen a Redwing in the garden itself - as you say they're often in the surrounding fields - the little black cap is great - they love fruit - I often push an oldish apple onto a bamboo cane in the ground and they love this too - Really glad you're getting better - nerve pain as you say is so horrible and makes you so tired as well - take care Miranda x

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Claudia - a very warm welcome as it's your first visit to my blog - look forward to seeing you back here again soon - Happy New Year! Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Hi ST - many thanks for visiting too - for some reason your comment hasn't transferred from my dashboard - glad you liked the pics too and very Happy New Year! Believe me I'd gladly put my back back in it's box!! :-)

A Year In My Garden said...

This is a pretty blog - in a lovely part of the world. I am really jealous of a bird table that gets woodpeckers and a sparrowhawk.

Sanspareil said...

Bonjour Miranda,

j'aimerai vous decerner l'award "liebster blog", si vous l'accéptez.

Si vous regardez mon blog, tout y est expliqué.

Amicalement et merci pour votre blog
Sanspareil