A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Friday 28 January 2011

Garden Birdwatch

This weekend it is the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch so we will be keeping the feeders topped up and hope for some good numbers of birds. It is important to the birds that you keep feeding if possible as at this time of year food supplies are becoming scarce. The idea of the birdwatch is that you spend an hour over the weekend and count all the different species that land in the garden during the hour. You are also asked to record the highest number of each species that you see at any one time which is often very challenging with the tit family as they buzz in and out of sight very quickly. It is easy to see if you take a photo like this one of the four Bluetits but watching with the naked eye is a bit of a challenge in our garden as they dart in from all directions.
We hope to have a go as usual and hope you will too see details at the RSPB's website

Monday 24 January 2011


At last there are a few of the earliest snowdrops flowering, showing us that spring really is just around the corner. We are lucky in our cottage garden to have quite a variety of different types of snowdrops, some collected by us and others by those who have lived here over the years.

You can visit gardens in the area famous for their collections of snowdrops such as the Rococo Gardens near Painswick and Colesbourne Park between Cheltenham & Cirencester.

Friday 21 January 2011


I am always amazed when walking in the woods how such a large bird as the buzzard just quietly launches itself out of the tree when you approach and glides off. It just seems that they effortlessly fallout of the tree without getting tangled in the surrounding branches.

Thursday 20 January 2011


We have been away from the Cotswolds for a few days and it is amazing how things change in a short time. Despite frosty nights a few sunny days have brought out the hazel catkins now looking like fluffy lamb's tails. Bulbs are pushing up through the soil everywhere too.
Posted by Picasa

Friday 14 January 2011


An unusal visitor to our bird table today was a Brambling . This winter visitor is the northern relative of the chaffinch and is often seen in flocks feeding on seeds but this is the first time we have seen one in our garden.

Mud mud glorious mud!

Following the snowy weather we have had a few days of welcome sunshine. For the last few days though, we have had grey mist and rain and with this comes mud. Mud makes walking a bit difficult in this part of the country but mud can be interesting in itself sometimes when you have footprints to tell you who else has been there be it man, beast or fowl.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Wintering Birds

The sheer numbers of wintering wildfowl and waders in the fields near to the Severn cannot fail to impress. This field managed by WWT Slimbridge was alive with Widgeon and Dunlin with Redshank Lapwing and Ruff also present.
Waders are now able to feed in the wet fields which a week or so ago were frozen sending the birds out on to the estuary in search of food, or even migrating further south.

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Beech Wood in Winter

The woods are rather drab at the moment , gone are the green leaves and the vibrant autumn colours. Not much growth on the woodland floor yet either. But spring will be with us and soon and the woodland will reawaken.

Sunday 9 January 2011

Stone Bridge

More sunny weather today and we met many people out walking, running and exercising dogs all taking advantage of our excellent network of local footpaths. These paths were not always used for leisure. This old stone bridge is worn down by the feet of the many workers who long ago walked to work in the woollen mills of Uley.

We saw on a poster in the village saying that there is a talk soon at the Uley Society. It is on January 20th in the village hall at 7.30pm, entitled: "The history of the local wool trade." The poster said that visitors are welcome so we might go along!

Saturday 8 January 2011

Banks of the Severn

Some nice Winter Sunshine today so an opportunity for a walk down by the Severn avoiding most of the muddy paths by using the towpath of the Sharpness to Gloucester Canal. The old barge amongst the reeds is one of many deliberately grounded between Purton and Sharpness to protect the canal from erosion by the river and known as the Purton Hulks.

Friday 7 January 2011

Birch Catkins

Even though they will not open until the leaves appear on the tree around April the male and female catkins of the Birch tree can be seen already. The bare branches silouetted against the grey winter sky make them clear to see.

Thursday 6 January 2011

Misty Vale

The snow has gone for now and there is mist over the vale looking to May Hill.
Fields are starting to look a little greener already and the days are noticeably lengthening but there is still plenty of winter to go.

Monday 3 January 2011

Snow is back

Just a light fall of snow for us today but the landscape is back in black and white for a while

Forest Bug

The forest bug is a sap feeding shield bug common in UK woodlands and hedgerows.This one had found winter shelter in the woodshed.

Sunday 2 January 2011

Feeding Sheep in the mud

It was very pleasant when the snow covered the countryside and frosts meant that boots were clean after walks. Now we have mud again as here where there are lots of feet the countryside looks dirty and the grass a dull green. In order to keep the sheep in top condition for lambing they need supplementary feeding with hay and the grass disappears in a sea of mud for the time being. Hopefully as we turn the corner of the year it won't be long until we see the bright spring green grass.

Saturday 1 January 2011

Arum Italicum

Happy New Year to all our followers

Italian Lords and Ladies or Large Cuckoo Pint is one of two species of native Araceae or Arum plant family found in Britain. The leaves push through at this time of year in the hedgerows and woodland looking fresh and clean. Consequently these plants have been introduced into gardens by those who appreciate the fresh new leaves in winter. Later in the year they produce spectacular flower spikes which attract insects inside for pollination followed by the red cluster of berries.