January 2021 Week Three

Week three of the new year has been a pretty soggy affair. There was some flooding in Herefordshire, but not as severe as elsewhere, a dusting of snow and some frost and even some glimpses of sunshine. The squirrels are very pleased to have their own supply of nuts.squirrel on nut feeder

It must be pretty draughty for the birds and squirrels with the lack of leaves on the trees. The nekkid trees do look lissome in the blue light of dawn.Leafless trees in blue light

There are still a few winter berries to be found adding a splash of colour to the garden. Laurel berries are toxic to humans, but the birds don’t seem keen to eat them either.red berries against green laurel leaves

More popular, especially with the blackbirds, are the ivy berries.black ivy berries

Some unpruned rose hips.red rose hip

Some hips are bigger than others.orange rose hips

The lilac tree is starting to bud.Lilac tree bud

Nosey Parker

Mrs Fancypants Squirrel is such a nosey parker. She came to watch me weeding the garden, as if that is such an unusual event!Photo of squirrel

The term “nosey parker” refers to anyone who sticks their nose into other people’s business. The first example of it in writing seems to be from 1890. London actress and sensation novelist, Mary Elizabeth Braddon began editing her own magazine, “Belgravia“. It was in the May 1890 edition that she wrote,

“You’re a askin’ too many questions for me, there’s too much of Mr. Nosey Parker about you, an’ I’d ‘ave you to know as I’m a laidee.”

I don’t have the full intriguing story so I don’t know if she is referring to a specific Mr Parker, or if perhaps she is referring to an overly inquisitive park keeper, who were known as “parkers”. No doubt the Victorian parker was the nemesis of many a courting couple.

Hangin’ ‘Round

The grey squirrel was clinging grimly on to the peanut feeder as it swirled in the wind, looking for all the world as though it were trying to escape from the squirrel’s unwanted advances. I was reminded of this song by the late, great Lou Reed.

Oh, but you keep hangin’ round me
And I’m not so glad you found me
You’re still doing things that I gave up years ago
Ho-ho-ho-ho, you keep hangin’ round me
And I’m not so glad you found me
You’re still doing things that I gave up years ago
Hangin’ round
Hangin’ round, that’s all you’re doing baby

Lou Reed

Photo of grey squirrel on peanut feeder

Funny Looking Bird

This weekend was the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. I placed my camera trap on the bird feeders hoping to catch a wide variety of small birds. All I caught on it was this funny looking bird with a big fluffy tail.

Photo of sparrowhawkThe reason for the absence of the usual birds can be explained by the presence of the sparrowhawk. She caught another pigeon. At least it meant that I could add her to my bird count, along with wood pigeons, rock pigeons, collared doves, magpies, crow, sparrow, wren, robin and blackbirds.