Welcome! Grab a cup of tea, and enjoy browsing some of the photos and stories. As the 'teawife,' it is my duty to watch and listen and be a supportive friend, and a loving mum and wife. I should post more often, but sticking my nose into everyone's business keeps me busy! Kathy the teawife

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Buggy Nibbles Attract Birdies

I've recently moved a number of our feeders into a plum tree in our back garden instead of only using a feeding station at the end of the garden. The metal rod feeding station with hanging feeders was being inundated with piggy starlings, and they were keeping away the little song birds. We discovered that the tree provides a lot more cover for the smaller song birds, especially the Blue and Great Tits, and they feel much more comfortable to dilly-dally around and feed through the day.

The birds are quite happy to have me sit near them while they dart in and out of the tree and feeders. It's quite relaxing to watch them, and I thought you would enjoy a glimpse of their activity.

This video is of Blue Tits flitting in and out of the caged feeder containing Buggy Nibbles, which are little suet pellets with insects and meal worm bits - yum! They love them, and they also like the fact that the bigger birds (such as the starlings and pigeons) can't bother them at this feeder.

Hope you enjoy the video!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cherkley Court & Gardens

This past weekend, we finally made it over to nearby Cherkley Court & Gardens, which was the home of William Maxwell Aitken, (1879-1964), the first Lord Beaverbrook, and a former Member of Parliament and newspaper mogul.

I'm not sure when the house was originally built, but the website notes that it was damaged by fire in 1893.

In around 1910, the story goes, that Aitken was driving in the countryside with his wife and their friends, Mr. & Mrs. Rudyard Kipling, and they stumbled across the lane to home and a for sale sign. After Aitken took one look at the house, he declared that he would buy it. He rebuilt and restored Cherkley Court in the French chateau style.

Here are some of the photos we snapped while walking in the gardens.

There is a lovely cafe on the premises, and they have outdoor seating when the rain is off and the sun is shining. The day we were there, the skies varied from clear to gray, and back again. We started a walk with a very cool breeze, and half way into our walk, we ended up in a 15-minute rain shower.

We took refuge in one of the gazebos in the garden, along with two elderly English ladies out for a garden stroll.

They were interested in my American accent, and assumed I had come from thousands of miles to see Cherkley Gardens. I think they were a little disappointed to learn that I live just up the road! They weren't the least bit interested in Niall's very definitive Ulster accent. Ah, but he's used to being snubbed!

While at Cherkley, would took time to enjoy a cream tea, complete with fresh scones, clotted cream, Tregothnan kea plum jam, and Tregothnan tea. If interested in the Tregothnan products, please click here. We would have loved to sit on the patio, but the weather kept us from doing so. Maybe next time!

Click to read more about Cherkley Gardens and Lord Beaverbrook.

We decided to join up and become Friends of Cherkley, which will entitle us to return to the gardens anytime during the summer season. We find it fascinating to see how the vegetation changes through the year. Cherkley is open until 30 September.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Video of Robin Feeding

Here is a little video of the robin feeding the fledglings.

It wasn't until Sunday that we notice the little heads bobbing up and down. The father and mother have been incredibly busy feeding their offspring, and it's nice to see three healthy little birdies chirping for food.

In the video below, you can see the heads of the little robins bobbing up and down!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gone a bit potty!

The weather in SE England for the last week has been amazing! The sun has been shining and we haven't had rain or cloudy skies for more than a week. When the weather is like this, I find it difficult to concentrate on anything else but being in the garden, digging in the soil, and potting up new plants.

Hubby and I popped over to one of the local garden centers the past weekend, and I picked up a collection of brightly colored flowers, including anemones, ranunculus, pansies, tulips, and daffodils. I've attached some photos of some potted plants, which are sitting on our deck in the back garden.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Robin Glory

I guess you're starting to think we're real bird fanatics, with all the bird videos we've posted! I guess we do really enjoy the English countryside wildlife. We certainly do our part to help our feathered friends and occasional furry mammal in the lean months, as well as in the glorious summer.

During the snows, the robins were particularly keen on getting their seed. We were able to get very close to them. During the warmer months, they are not very interested in the feeder, unless there are mealworms on offer. However, during the winter, they seem to be a more frequent visitor to our feeders.

Elusive Birds

It's rare to see the elusive Long-Tailed Tits at our bird feeders.

The first time I ever saw these birds was in 2002 at our previous home in Surrey -- Keepers Cottage, near Chipstead in Surrey.

At the time, I was working away on my computer in the lounge, which had a lovely window to the back garden. I just happened to turn around and see that it had begun to snow, a rarity in April. Then this flock of about six to eight Long-Tailed Tits landed on the newly budding rose bushes. The hungry beasts frantically began to munch on the rose buds for about 2 minutes, and they flew away as quickly as they came.

The weather needs to be inclement, icy or snowy before I see these stunning birds. They seem to only come in groups, never singularly.

Since moving to Hillside, I've managed to spot the Long-Tailed Tit about five times, mostly during snowy and icy conditions. Trying to get a photo or video of them is near to impossible, as they come and go so quickly.

I was quite shocked I managed to get a video of these birds at in our front garden during yesterday's snow.

If you'd like to see some really lovely photos of Long-Tailed Tits, have a look at these photos by Andy Bright: