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  • So, how was 2013 in the end?

    Miranda Hodgson on 31 Dec 2013 at 09:31 AM

    2013 was a mixed year here. It is said that the coldest March since 1962 stopped frogs breeding, owls and seabirds suffered from lack of food, with many dying, and mammals coming out of hibernation found little to sustain them. Spring plant growth seemed to pretty much stall, until many were a good five weeks behind on the previous year’s growth. Once the weather began to warm, fruit flowering got started and it was one the best blossom years I can ever remember. Apples, hawthorn, Cotoneaster, Pyracantha – in fact all the members of the huge rose family, Rosaceae, were covered in so many flowers that some appeared to have a layer of snow on them and this was followed by a bumper year for fruit.

     Blossom on apple 'James Grieve'

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  • Mystery of an abandoned nest with eggs in it

    Miranda Hodgson on 04 Dec 2013 at 11:21 AM

    The other day I was shown an abandoned greattit (Parus major) nest with eggs in it. The person who showed me the nest cleans out the nest boxes in November (the law states that nesting boxes may be cleaned between 1 August and 31 January and must otherwise be left alone). This nest was clearly long-abandoned, the eggs cold and brittle – the egg I took out to measure cracked when I picked it up.

     

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  • Look out for bold winter robins in your garden

    Miranda Hodgson on 02 Dec 2013 at 03:17 PM

    From November to December, it is noticeable that robins (Erithacus rubecula) start appearing in pairs rather than by themselves. From summer until late autumn they will have been solitary and extremely territorial, chasing away any other robin that dares to intrude on their patch. By the beginning of winter, male and female robins form pairs, though the relationship at this point seems to involve little more than not attacking one another.


    This one almost stood on my boot

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