Monday, 3 December 2012


A couple of Saturdays ago I was frying doughnuts out on the back patio when I saw a glimpse of red that I thought was too vibrant to be just a chaffinch, and I wondered if it could have been a bullfinch. One day last week I'd stopped off at the butchers and greengrocers after work and spotted a couple of these in some trees - and then we did indeed see one briefly on the feeders in our garden. This is NOT a good picture - as well as my normal backpack I had two bags from the butchers and one from the greengrocer so my hands were full.

On Saturday I was out at my aunts, and just as I was getting ready to leave I spotted a whole little flock of long-tailed tits on her feeder. And today, walking home from the bus stop after work I could hear them wheeting away, and was lucky enough to spot one. No extra bags this time, and a brighter day, making it much easier to take a halfway decent photo!

Also on Saturday, coming home on the train I saw the Santa Special steam train in the siding at Grand Canal Dock. I change at Connolly, and I'd gone to the mainline part of the station to see if there was an earlier train from the platforms there than from the suburban, when I heard that familiar whistle. I was in time to get back to the suburban platforms to get a couple of grainy shots and even some video. I think it must some primal sound that everybody recognises even though it's from a long-past era. We hear them going past the house every December weekend coming up to Christmas and we always notice them as being so different to the normal trains. But I'd never been able to find a timetable to take a guess at what sort of times they'd be pulling through the station here. There were a lot of crew on this one. The orange carriages were a blast from my past, since even after the DART ran to Bray, we still used to get those old diesel trains on to Greystones. I think the blue carriages were even older, they all had a crest on them which was something to do with the rail preservation society - poor light made it hard to read.


  1. I think you captured that bullfinch just right. Through all those branches it would be hard to focus, but I see him and he's wonderful. The long-tailed tit is precious and with the blue sky in the background a wonderful picture. The steam train brings back memories for me too. We used to take the Santa Train every December when the kids were little. It was an old, old, train and the cars were cold, but it was so much fun. I love the clickety-clack on the tracks and the whistle!

  2. I was driving under the bridge at Gardner St when there was a huge cloud of steam and I realised it was the Santa train! Love the sound too, why are steam trains SO much nicer?