Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The North Wind Doth Blow

Cottages in Byfield 14 January, 2013
Well actually it is a west wind coming up against cold continental air over Britain, and it has brought snow - quite a lot of it!

Pretty though it is, the snow creates problems for many birds. Lots of gardens in the village have bird feeding stations of some sort and my garden is no exception. I was relieved to see a Great Tit, Parus major, pecking away at peanuts today because I haven't seen one for weeks. Great Tits seems to be particularly susceptible to Avian Pox, a virus which is currently a problem in Britain, but not only was one at my feeding station but another one was present in the Pocket Park, its see-saw call ringing clear.

I have given the Latin name for the Great Tit - as I am doing for many organisms - partly because quite a number of viewings of this site have been from the United States, where English vernacular names may mean little, but also to avoid more general confusion. For instance the name "Bluebell" may be perfectly clear to someone living in England but in Scotland the name is applied to the Harebell Campanula rotundifolia, a quite unrelated plant. In California the name refers to Phacelia campanularia - so bear with me if at times I seem pedantic.  I'll be considering English Bluebells, Hyacinthoides non-scriptus, in a later blog.

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