Take a visual walk with me through the Lodge at Spring.
Take a visual walk with me through the Lodge at Spring.
I have somewhat fallen in to that trap again; becoming increasingly busy and forgetting (read: being too lazy) to blog. I have lots of important life-updates to share with you when I find the time and inclination to sit down and write about them but, for now I’ll just share a few photos and words about a wonderful day out we had a few weekends ago.
Hamerton zoo is roughly a twenty minute drive down the road from us. In the back of my mind I always thought I would pay it a visit but as so often happens in life things got hectic and I quite forgot about it. We’ve been in SNO for around a year and four months now and finally had a weekend free from plans so we decided to take a trip down there to see the animals.
One of my New Years Resolutions for this year was to spend more time in the garden, now that we actually have a proper one, complete with real grass and everything.
Our garden back in Brentwood was very, very small – a tiny pen filled with rocks. Even so, I would still sit out on the step, and I still planted bulbs in what little dirt we had. The garden is the thing I appreciate having the most in SNO – and I definitely spent a lot of time in it this year. Now that it’s Autumn it looks even more beautiful than it did back in the summer, thanks to the riot of colour and all of the local wildlife flocking back.
Today I thought I would share some images and updates.
If you follow me over on Instagram, you’ll know Gareth and I recently took our first venture in to hatching and raising button quail chicks. (And if you don’t follow me, do so and please make sure to say hi so I know to follow you back! I’m @yasminedaisy)
I have never hatched a bird in an incubator before, although as I keep a large quantity of birds I have experience of my own birds hatching out chicks. For the most part though, you just leave them to it – asides from providing them a nest, some material and maybe some egg crumb, they’ll do the rest.
Anyway, we have a very broody button quail (Sugarpuff) – her and her partner (Popcorn) were adamant on having chicks. Sugarpuff was so dedicated to the cause that she sat on a nest for months. Alas she was only ever able to hatch one chick and it died soon after birth. So we thought we’d step in and give hatching chicks a go ourselves. Here’s how we did it and what we discovered along the way…
The ground is carpeted thick with leaves, brown and red and orange; curling up and crackling underfoot like flames, licking out at my ankles. Overhead the gentle thwack of feathers as a bright green parakeet takes cover high in the treetops, blending in among the green and yellow. The air is cold and crisp yet the sun shines hotly, filtering through the trees and dappling everything with a warm glow.
Walking through the park at lunchtime is a calming experience, especially now that Autumn has arrived.
I have wanted an aviary since I was a child and obsessed with the one in my Grandads garden. He had canaries, finches and some funny little quail at the bottom, pecking up all of the dropped seed. I can still remember it now – a rickety structure he put together with old pieces of wood and rusty chicken wire- my grandad was good at building things like that.
This year I was finally able to make my dream a reality and together Gareth and I put together an aviary in our own garden. We’ve been slowly introducing our finches to it and it’s been somewhat of a process – but now we’re very nearly at the end and so today I really wanted to share it with you and give you a little tour of the aviary and its occupants.
Let me just preface this post with a warning: this is very image heavy!
It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged.
Without realising it, I think I had become a bit disheartened with it all, as is not too uncommon a feeling for me. My lack of motivation combined with my low mood led to my writing and photography hiatus – it wasn’t intentional, but I can’t say I actively fought with the apathy. If you’re a creative in any sense of the word, you’ll be familiar with the feeling i’m describing.
Outside my window the world is wrapped in a blanket of snow. Doors are shut firmly against the cold whilst snowflakes swirl and flutter, falling and settling, carpeting the street, the rooftops and cars.
Winter is here, and she is in full force.
As the weather gets colder, now more than ever is the time to start gathering up reserves for your garden visitors. During the harsh Winter months it’s really important to keep your garden birds well fed and your feeders stocked with a variety of seeds, nuts and fats to keep energy levels up.
As I have just moved house, I don’t yet know what types of birds will be visiting my garden so instead have opted to cover all bases. I thought this would be a good opportunity to show you what types of food you can and should feed the different varieties of bird you may find in your garden, as well as some dos and don’ts to keep your garden birds happy and healthy.
Piles of golden, rust and burgundy leaves gently gather on the pavement, lining the street with colour as they fall from the trees.
Sunlight filters through branches laden with chestnuts, acorns and conkers and dances in ripples across the floor, illuminating the fallen leaves like sparks of fire. The air is cold and crisp.
It is October and Autumn is in full swing.
Gareth and I just recently bought our very first home. Located in St Neots, it’s a little further afield than I am accustomed to and, whilst I feel excited to be moving, I am not without apprehension too. To make the transition a little easier Gareth and I have spent a couple of weekends exploring St Neots and the surrounding areas. Where we currently live I am spoiled by lush green country parks and woodland. I spend a great deal of time walking in these spaces, feeding the deer and spotting nature.
Naturally I am quite sad to wave goodbye to my favourite haunts however there is one major draw to our new location; The Lodge. Situated a town over, the Lodge is the RSPB headquarters. We are RSPB members and always enjoy exploring new reserves so we were very keen to check this one out. Last weekend we collected up my younger brother Ben and my mum and we did just that!
On the 12th of August (a Saturday), Gareth and I decided to travel up to Bourton-on-the- Water and stay in nearby Cheltenham for the weekend. After everything that’s been going on lately a mini-break was most welcome. Luckily we had some Tesco vouchers to spend on booking a nice little hotel room for the night and some left over for a day trip to Birdland and a meal at Zizzis – result!
In this post I’m going to talk about our trip to Birdland, but keep your eyes peeled for posts on Bourton-on-the-Water and what we got up to over the weekend!
I just want to preface this post with an explanation; I will not be including the name of this organisation/company because although the experience wasn’t wholly negative it also wasn’t the best ever either. And I really don’t want to spread any bad vibes or tread on anyones feet – this is just my personal experience.
Anyway we booked in for this particular Birds of Prey Experience Day when we saw it advertised on Groupon at just £15 per person. Most Birds of Prey handling days are over double that in price so it seemed like a really great deal – especially for a whole two hours.
Now, myself and my partner have been to many aviaries, bird centres and bird experience days so we did hold a certain level of expectation. We have both held and flown different types of owl and hawk and have always enjoyed the experience so we were really looking forward to this one.
When we arrived we were instantly disappointed to find that there was over 30 people in our group. That’s about 20 too many if you’re wondering. We knew from the offset that with so many participants we would not be doing a whole lot of flying/handling of the birds. Another thing to note was that there was just one person on hand to show us the birds.
After a 40 minute introductory talk we were finally allowed to handle our first bird which was a brown chested barn owl. Barn owls are lovely creatures so I was quite happy to hold one again. We had to line up and take it in turns to have the bird fly to us (just once.) Unfortunately this process took a matter of minutes to experience personally and then another 30 odd as we stood waiting for everyone else to have a go.
Nevertheless the barn owl was a pleasure to hold and to fly.
After flying the barn owl we flew and held a Harris Hawk. I have handled these before on a couple of occasions so again, this was nothing new to me but Harris Hawks are very lively birds and I enjoyed holding this one. Actually, as the hawk was much perkier this process took much less time than the previous and we probably each held the hawk for mere seconds before it was taken from us and instructed to fly to the next person.
And in terms of flying/handling the birds that was it. I’m not going to lie; I was very surprised and quite disappointed that in two hours we were only able to hold two birds – eek! But as I mentioned earlier, the problem was that the event was oversold and there really was just too many people!
Next we were treated to some talks on different birds and shown a very beautiful Goshawk and Crowned Eagle. The remainder of the time was spent showing us these birds and educating us on how they are reared/handled and their numbers in the wild.
The talks were very in-depth and informative and it was nice to see these wonderful birds up close. If I have one criticism though it’s that there was more talking involved than actual experience.
All in all we had an enjoyable time holding, flying and getting up close and personal with the birds. However, I really don’t think I’d do this particular experience again as there are so many others out there that are much more hands on and personal. If you’re thinking of going on one of these experience days I recommend doing thorough research before booking anything!
Sunlight filters through lush green leaves and the sky is a brilliant blue, dappled with soft, lazy clouds. The scent of lavender hangs on the crisp air and birds can be heard singing and chirping from high above. Everywhere you look there is life and colour; Spring heralds a new season and new beginnings.
There’s something about the seasons Autumn and Spring that speaks deeply to my soul. One brings death, the other brings birth; both bring a spectacular change in the flora and fauna around us. Both dazzle me with their beauty.
And there’s something about Spring that always makes me feel like I have a fresh start. A fresh chance to take adventures, appreciate natural beauty and find inner peace. March through to July are happy, calm months for me. I enjoy sitting outside in the comfortable climate and soaking up my surroundings. Walks in the countryside are particularly pleasing; I still feel a thrill every time I see a white cotton tail darting out of sight or spot some delicate crocuses pushing through the soil to soak up the sun.
The moment I spot daffodils I feel that Spring is on its way in. The buttery yellow flowers are symbolic of the changing of seasons to me, and I love how cheerful and bright they make everything seem. I love the flowers that begin to bloom as it gets warmer, and the heavily scented blossoms that hang from the trees. I love to watch the butterflies finally emerge with their powdery wings, and the bees buzzing between the flower beds and borders of a beautifully manicured garden. Most of all I love to watch the birds collect twigs and straw to make their nests, raise their young and start to fill the mornings with their beautiful song.
Spring feels like a gasp of fresh air after the dark nights, stark trees and bitter chill of Winter. It is a beautiful season and it is almost upon us. Can we all just take a moment to appreciate how wonderful that is?
This year I decided to take Pretty Little Finch in a new direction and bring together my two loves; birds and pastel colours! Perfect for spring, this pretty little blue tit pin features a gorgeous pastel palette and is sure to brighten any outfit!