Issue 3

Nature Watch:  Winter             marienkaefer-48

winter icedropHello everybody! It's that time of year again!  The time to spend, spend, spend! Rush, rush, rush! To over eat, over react and over indulge. So, why not take a step back this year and spend a week observing the world of nature or go on a well-earned break to the country.

Nature does not know it's Christmas. She simply carries on in her age-old way. Christmas Day is just another day for the birds and animals. Another day of winter to endure, to survive.

Winter is a good time to observe wild life, as there is less cover and some creatures overcome their shyness to feed in our parks and gardens, we also get flocks of winter visitors flying in. I often see ducks and geese passing high above the clinic and one year I was delighted to observe a flock of redwings (a member of the thrush family) feeding in the frosty field nearby.

A beautiful group of long tailed tits can often be seen around the grounds at this time of year. I often see these pretty little birds feeding on the copious hawthorn berries and perhaps feeding on insects and insect eggs. This little bird has an exquisite pink down on its breast and underside and of course its characteristic long tail. A heart warming sight on a cold winter's day.

One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen is a long tailed tit's nest hidden in a gorse bush on the old Swansea/Brecon railway line. A perfect sphere of softness and comfort amongst the vicious clustered spikes that protect this fragile little bird from harm.

Glanrhyd HospitalThere is much to see about Caswell Clinic if you train yourself to notice and observe. I like to walk slowly, to stop, look and listen, sit on a quiet corner somewhere and take it all in. Every evening I watch the gentle white doves perching on their "cliffs" setting down at dusk to endure these long winter nights. Robins are coming very close to me now. They linger about 3 feet away from me, expecting titbits. Dunnocks have lost their traditional shyness and root about on the ground. I see many blackbirds feeding together on the lawns, tolerating each other now that breeding time is over. Many birds are also feeding on the disturbed ground of the new building.

Some hedges, shrubs and trees have sadly been dug up now, but some new trees have been planted at the hospital entrance and hopefully new trees will replace the old soon and maybe nesting boxes, bird baths and tables will be installed in the new garden.

November has been very mild again. Buds have appeared on trees, roses and fuchsias are still in bloom, berries are plentiful, especially yew and hawthorn. Some male robins have built nests and are trying to attract mates, neglecting their need to feed up and store fat. So let´s hope this cold snap will wise them up and get them feeding again and keep their minds off sex until the Spring!

That's all for now.

Have a nice Christmas and a Happy New Year!