ewein2412: (Default)
last weekend Perth was invaded by waxwings. Mark and I first spotted them on Sat. 30 October, in a rowan tree in a garden a few doors down from us (apparently their preference is for rowan berries). We recognized them right away because they look so much like the cedar waxwings that we see all summer in the trees and shrubs around the Mt. Gretna Lake in Pennsylvania. We were actually in the process of working on a "nature diary" project for Mark so we took pictures:




And then we realized that there were about 100 of them all hanging out together. I'd seen about 3 waxwings in Perth several years ago, so it was kind of unusual, and we looked them up in the bird book--it turns out that usually about 100 or so are seen in Britain in a year. They breed in Scandinavia, but sometimes the population "erupts" because there is not enough food to sustain it, and then a thousand or more come foraging south. So that is what is going on this year! (The bird book also said there have been more "eruptions" in the past 20 years.)

The following morning there were easily 200 of them in the linden (lime, to you Brits) trees in our front garden, and they devoured our rowan berries, too.

These were taken through our bedroom window:



And this one was taken through Sara's window:




Having stripped bare every rowan tree in Perth, I think they have now moved on--they have to eat some ridiculous amount of food a day to keep going--10 times their own body weight or something like that (I made that number up, but you get the idea. It is some multiplication of their body weight. Maybe only 2 or 3 times, but there were a LOT of them).
ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))
[personal profile] sartorias has been posting about houses and home. It is a timely subject for me, too, because it is exactly 6 years ago yesterday that we moved into this house. That is longer than I've ever lived in ANY house at one stretch.
 
The center of our house is actually the kitchen. Believe it or not, just like in the olden days. It kind of drives me crazy that it's the Number One Most Inhabited room in the house because, being in the middle of the house in the middle of a row of duplexes (or semi-detached, in Britspeak), and facing north, it is also the *darkest* room in the house. And one of the big reasons we moved into this house was to get more light.
 
The house is about 100 years old, and for the record, it is very typical of its age and of this part of Scotland--a stone-built bay-fronted (both downstairs and up) duplex.
 
The dining-kitchen, where I seem to spend most of my day when the kids aren't here (in preference to my desk) and most of the evening when my husband isn't here (in preference to the living room), is carved out of two smaller rooms and a ghost hallway. The owners previous to us converted this big space into a galley kitchen and a dining area separated down the middle by a breakfast bar type thing. It really is in the *middle* of the house, with the old kitchen (now a utility room, though I think of it as my back porch) on one end of it, the living room on the other, and the big central hallway at the side. The kitchen area is really not big enough for more than one person to use at a time, but has a window the size of a door behind the sink, looking out to a lilac bush full of bird feeders (and a fence). There is a narrower window in the dining area, with a built-in window seat. One wall is entirely covered by the kids' elementary school paintings. Our piano is wedged in behind the dining room table. There's also a built-in china cupboard with glass doors, and I've painted the inside of this turquoise, like all the old corner cupboards from my part of Pennsylvania.
 
When people come over, they immediately sit down at the breakfast bar (there is a row of high stools). My next door neighbor calls it her "comfort spot."

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