As we get ready to wave the year goodbye, we hope that whatever you're up to this weekend you enjoy the tail end of 2011 and are looking forward to new beginnings.As well as celebrating a new year, this weekend get your creative juices flowing with your inventive captions for this camera-shy red squirrel. I look forward to your great suggestions in the comments below.
From all of us in the Web Team we wish you a happy 2012.
I don't think there's much else I can add to this cute photo of a robin by Mark Sisson except to say that I hope you've all had a lovely Christmas.
You don't need to be told what to do this weekend...! But if you're after advice on how to give your garden visitors a festive treat, we have everything you need to know about feeding birds.
Merry Christmas from the Notes on Nature team.
It's too easy to spend all your time running around at the moment. Take a few seconds to sit back and admire this beautiful sanderling photo, taken by Andrew Parkinson and available through the RSPB Images photo library.
Sanderlings are wading birds, about the same size as starlings. They breed in the Arctic but some spend winter around the coastline of the UK, where you can see them running along the tideline like clockwork toys. Fascinating fact: sanderlings have only three toes (all pointing forwards).
Christmas is the season of goodwill, so this weekend why not treat your garden birds to an early Christmas present?
Decorating a tree in your garden with edible ornaments is a great way to help birds to fatten up and survive the cold winter weather, and will create a lovely festive focal point for your garden too.
It’s really easy to do and the whole family can get involved. (In fact, it’s the perfect activity to keep the kids occupied while you sneakily wrap up a few Christmas presents!).
The decorations can be as creative or as simple as you like - let your imagination run wild!
Here are a few ideas to get you started...
Pine cones are great for filling with tasty treats. You can tie a loop of string around the base for hanging, and then cram the gaps with all kinds of goodies:- Grated cheese- Bird cake mixture- Leftover raw pastry (from all those mince pies!) - Raisins
You can even dip the pine cones in melted suet or unsalted peanut butter and then sprinkle them with bird seed.
Bird cake baubles
Follow this quick and easy bird cake recipe and you'll soon have lots of edible baubles to hang on your tree.
This high-fat, high-energy food is perfect for keeping birds going during a cold snap.
A Christmas tree just isn’t complete without tinsel, so here’s a bird-friendly alternative.
Thread raisins, small pieces of cheese and chunks of fruit onto string and then drape it over the tree like a garland. Not only will it provide lots of nutritious treats for the birds, it'll look lovely too.
Once your masterpiece is complete, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy watching the birds tucking into their festive feast. You never know, you might just be lucky enough to attract some unsual garden visitors like fieldfares or redwings.
Let us know who's eating in your garden!