15 February, 2009

Suffolk spring



Snowdrops forming a carpet of blossom















A sculptural tree stump




















Catkins in the sunshine.












A handsome (if rather out of focus - sorry about that) garden visitor. This smart-looking male pheasant, along with a friend, has taken to coming to our garden this winter. Not only is there food around, I think the birds are bright enough to work out that they're comparatively safe in a garden where they're only likely to be shot with a camera.

9 comments:

Gabriele C. said...

Your spring is busy alredy - we don't have catkins yet and even snowdrops are few.

tenthmedieval said...

My experience of pheasants, of which I have almost run over several with a bicycle, has never, ever, made me use the phrase "bright enough". I very much doubt their ideas have got beyond the "food? food! return here for food!" process...

Carla said...

Gabriele - this particular group of snowdrops is in a sunny spot on the edge of a churchyard, so they often come out early. It's noticeable that the blackthorn is at least a couple of weeks later this year than last year.

Tenthmedieval - ah, yes. Meet a pheasant and understand the origin of the phrase "bird brain." What is it with pheasants and bicycles? They can be damn scary, exploding out of the hedge like a burst balloon, and they're big enough to do some damage if you did hit one. I know someone who had the plastic bumper on their car expensively smashed by a kamikaze pheasant. I wonder if hitting a pheasant at speed would fetch me off my bike? I hope I never find out.....

Meghan said...

Wow. Just wow. These pictures are so lush and beautiful. Thank you for sharing them!

Carla said...

Meghan - glad you liked them. It always lifts my heart to see the snowdrops come out.

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

Wonderful pictures...makes me want to be there. And what a handsome pheasant! Is he the stud of the yard?

Carla said...

Amy - He is very smart, isn't he? I'm sure he'd like to be, but he's got competition - we have two equally handsome male pheasants in the garden most days. They tolerate each other, so perhaps they haven't started trying to stake out territories yet. Last week both of them brought a lady friend along, so perhaps they're both settled?

Doug said...

By coincidence, I was thinking only this morning that I haven't seen catkins for years. Our area isn't entirely urban but do they prefer one which is entirely rural?
On the common sense of birds, one was dying outside work last week, apparently having been hit by a car, and I thought about the fact that they usually seem to try to escape from a car by flying just in front, two feet above the ground. Why don't they put in a bit of height??
Doug

Carla said...

Doug - Good question. Catkins go with hazel bushes/trees (not sure if other species have catkins), so maybe your area doesn't have many hazels for some reason? Or maybe they only appear for a short period so it's easy to miss them?

My guess is that birds tend to stay low to keep some cover - I think it's harder for an airborne predator like a falcon or a sparrowhawk to take prey if it's near the ground, because the hawk would have to time its dive to the millimetre to avoid a crash, whereas it's much easier for it to grab prey in mid-air. Unfortunately cars don't work like sparrowhawks, and as they have only been around for, what, 100 years at most, evolution hasn't had a chance to catch up yet. Come back in a few million years or so, and if cars haven't disappeared by then (!) you may see birds that have an instinct to fly high over tarmac.