Nature’s Valentines

We are experiencing some cold weather here in Shropshire but, although it is still technically winter, there are signs of change. I went on a course the other day to identify trees in winter and it was amazing that, despite the frosts and snow, some of the trees are already bud bursting. Even in the garden, there are those little signs. Throughout the winter, we have had two Robins residing on either side of our garden. One on the right and one on the left 😉

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Yesterday, I spotted them both together on a branch. Meanwhile, we have also had a single Dunnock throughout the winter months. Yesterday, I saw the one had been joined by another and he was sitting up in the tree singing the most beautiful song. For such a plain bird, they have a wonderful tune.

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Our gregarious Long Tailed Tits are still paying a visit to the garden especially on the colder, frosty days.

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As I was walking through the snow yesterday, I also heard two birds flying through the Hawthorne, calling to each other sounding almost like a plaintive mobile phone. It was a sound that was unfamiliar to me, I think I could also do with a course on birdsong.

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Despite the snow, the first signs of Spring are hidden in sheltered corners.

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In our garden, the first flowers are the Iris with that gorgeous splash of colour to soothe tired winter eyes.

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Along the hedgerows and in the woodland we also have the most beautiful of our early flowers in the UK. The Snowdrop. The first signs of Spring are held in the soft petals of in this tiny delicate flower.

TO A SNOWDROP

LONE Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!

William Wordsworth

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Winter Wanders

It has been a while since I posted. I confess that winter doesn’t really inspire me overly….well normally that is. When I came to update I realised that perhaps I have taken more photos than usual for winter time. This year, we have had almost every kind of weather possible. In December we experienced some very frosty cold mornings. This one was taken along the Mercian Way in the Severn Valley.

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Shortly afterwards we experienced some very foggy, mysterious days.

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With dew and frosty cobwebs shining in the corners.

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January brought the snow!

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Followed by an increase of birds into the garden.

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Together with some beautiful sunrises as it began to disappear.

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Then, never far away from us in the UK this year, the inevitable floods…..and on a sunny day, even they can look beautiful!

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However, looking around in the garden and I can see the first new signs of renewal….but, all of that will be for another post!

Pink Sky ~ Skywatch

Happy Christmas to everyone 🙂
It seems that all I am posting lately is snow and frost but the scene out there is still very Christmas like. Last Friday on the day of heavy snow the skies cleared late on in the day and then suddenly turned pink. You could be forgiven for thinking that these scenes are early morning but, they are evening looking East. It made for an eerie fleeting light:

Other Skywatch images from around the world can be found here.

Magical Frost

The frost in shropshire has been unlike anything I have previously experienced. Because of the damp air and the fog, the ice seem to be growing …and growing.
Up on the Hermitage at Bridgnorth, there is almost a magical quality and the remaining mist almost makes the trees look fluffy in the distance.

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The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Robert Frost

The mist can almost make it look as though a storm is coming in the background and also create the illusion of nothing in the background.

But, as the mist dimishes, the sky takes on the most amazing mediteranean blue colour…………

More Hoar frost images can be found on Andy’s blogpost Hoar Frost

Ice, Sparkles and Snow

I suspect that many people will know that the UK has been experiencing some very low temperatures of late. A lot of places have been covered in snow with large amounts falling on many in the eastern/northern counties. Here in Bridgnorth we have an inch or so right now but we have so far avoided large downfalls.
But, we have had some very cold crisp days and with minus 12 being recorded in the county over the weekend, so I was taking images of ice on the windows.

Out in the garden, the grass was spectacular with the frost that has built up. We had some fun with blades of grass, simple but fun. Although, I suspect you will have to click on it to see the sunny sparkles.

The ice on the trees has made them all look magical and when the skies are blue, it looks almost unreal.

The image above if of St Chads church in Shrewsbury taken from the Quarry Park.

I also stopped on the way into work one of the mornings because I couldn’t resist the sun rising through the white trees.
By the end of the weekend it had got so cold that some indoor photography was necessary, with such sub zero temperatures, it was almost too cold to go out!