One source

We awake to a feeling of being watched
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or serenaded, off key (actually starling singing can be very interesting)
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We work on embedding the new pond (easier to call it the lake, as it is bigger than the old pond), into the surrounding meadow,
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Now there may be people who spend the month of January under artificial light, coming from many sources. But how is it that life outside, illuminated by one source, can produce so many highlights, backlights, shadows and moments of exquisiteness?

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White tinges

Recently the heron has been criss-crossing the plot
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attracted by our aquatic excavations.

We know changes are afoot as we have a record egg day – Nine from the hens and the first duck eggs of the year
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But winter still delights us with the visual inversion of a white sprinkling
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Rising Above

Yesterday we awoke to mist and fog above, below, and in between. Everywhere was a little uncertain. We had need to descend to the valley below and the prospect became more obscure.

As we journeyed home, climbing back up, we rose above the gloom and everything was radiant.

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The way to a pig’s heart..

The way to a pig’s heart is not really a big secret. Meal time is twice a day and the clatter of feed bins gets a quick reaction:

Salivation
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and in Lottie’s case, standing up to see what is happening
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sometimes asking Bina for a bump up
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In between meals, they can sometimes be tempted by one of our windfall apples
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but some of our excess produce leaves them cold
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Bert sometimes feigns that he prefers bed to breakfast
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But we know he doesn’t mean it.

Banish the winter browns – make the winter green

Picking up last month’s Monty Don thoughts
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While not quite agreeing with him about December brown, we did decide today to remove some of that colour:
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and look underneath, and take Monty’s advice to make our winter green
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and see what we could find
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The Nuthatch does not think there is anything wrong with brown
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It is hard determine the point of view of spiders
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Exotic visitors

The RSPB says of the Starling “Still one of the commonest of garden birds, its decline elsewhere makes it a Red List species.” which seems confusing.  Does that mean it is declining outside gardens, or in other parts of the world?  Perversely Wikipedia puts their conservation status as “least concern”.

We have memories from childhood of starlings being omnipresent around the house and then seen as a pest by parents for their roof nesting mess.  We can also remember murmurations over our the city of our previous life before all public buildings were swathed in anti-roosting netting.

But in our previous suburban life it was rare to see a starling in the garden.  There was one occasion that sticks in memory when young daughter called us with excitement to ask what this exoctic visitor was.

And then to here.  And for two winters we never saw a starling.  Then this time round they arrived.

Coming as flocks to the neighbouring field
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trickling across the grassland. never seeming to stay long in one place, but presumably as a swarm consuming quite a lot of something
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they certainly seem very busy with beaks down and tails up
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Then, as with a single mind, they move on. The sheep don’t really care.
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But then a breakaway group decide to make Gribin Isaf their home for the day
Preening and scratching
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and actually singing (as opposed to their communal chatter), something they seem to do without really opening their beaks
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They also visit the feeders
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but don’t take them over, as surely they could, rather taking their turn with the tits and finches.

And then, as dusk falls, our contingent takes off
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to join other groups, heading west. It would be good to find their resting place.

As this is being written, coincidentally, this has been on the television.  Perhaps our starlings go to Rome every night

BBC Swarm Natures Incredible Invasions