Posts Tagged "garden"

Returning friends

“See, see, see!” They called. “See, see, see!” So I looked and I did see.

The long-tailed tits were back.

With their teddy bear faces. tiny beaks, happy sounding call and unfeasible tail, the long-tailed tits were finally back in my garden – and now they’ve brought their young with them, teaching them the ropes.

Every day throughout the autumn, winter and the early spring a troupe of long-tailed tits had been in my garden, spreading their own unique brand of delight every time I saw them. Then breeding season began and they disappeared entirely. My garden may be a great place to feed and spend the day, but its no place to roost or raise fledglings, unfortunately. There’s far too many pet cats that use my garden on their highways, so I’m used now to seeing less of birds during the breeding months.

Oh, but now my lovely long-tailed tits are back! Back and making repeated visits during the day. Later they visited the other garden feeder, by the willow tree.

They’re a raggle-taggle looking bunch right now, with adults in moult and juveniles looking fluffy still, but to me they’re as beautiful a sight as any bird of paradise in all its pomp. Welcome back to my garden and my days, long-tailed tits. When happiness shows up, make it as comfortable as possible.

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More garden moments

Early morning, too early by most accounts, but at least the morning is cool as the strengthening sun stirs a breeze in those hours. Propped up against the back door, watching the garden and the bird feeders, still incredulous that somehow this is a British summer.

Tic Tac the juvenile robin doesn’t seem too happy about it too, perched upon the fence. Later he’s down on the ground, surveying the pots and looking more and more robin-y every day.

The garden looks tired, parched. Weeks without any rain now. Top up the bird bath each day, they’ll not be parched at least. The juvenile blue tits are grateful for that, visiting in the cool of the evening.

Even the sparrows seem to want to wait for the shade before they move on to the feeders. All squabbles and scraps and chatter and so very, very welcome in my garden.

Only the starling seems to be enjoying the sun to the full, for in the sun it glows, it shines, it shimmers and waves as the sunlight shows the meaning of iridescence, of what “oily plumage” really looks like. I can’t blame them for posing in the sun when the sun makes them look like this.

Shine on, starling, shine on.


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Back door moments

The heatwave continues. It feels like moving through treacle to be out in the heat of the day.

The birds are still moving quickly around the garden, as I stand at the back door, watching them.

Juvenile blue tits like the feeder alongside “their” willow tree during the day.

In the evening they visit the main feeder pole closer to the house instead.

That feeder pole is ruled by the starlings, whenever they land during the day.

There’s a definite hierarchy between them also, the young ones are put in their place.

And then there are the sparrows, ever present, ever welcome. They’re bringing their fledglings and showing them where the food is.

And they’re just spending time in the bushes. Sheltering from the heat as much as I am, or at least I’m finding that very easy to imagine right now.

I’m so grateful that I only have to look out of the window to see the wild, but I’m especially grateful for it on these hot and treacle-filled days.

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Stumpy and Tic Tac

Injury, responsibilities and this remarkable heatwave has kept me away from me usual patch walks over the past few days. Thankfully there’s still goings-on in the garden to watch in the meantime, though even the birds seems to be going slowly in the heat.

One of the great pleasures of having a small patch, or indeed a small garden, is that you get to know the wildlife in it not just as that type of bird or this type of animal, but you get to know them as individuals. You get to know them as recognisable, as having their own distinct personalities and inevitably you end up naming them too. I think that’s nothing but a good thing, engaging with the wild on a personal level helps remind us that is not them and us, but its us together.

So it was that Stumpy and Tic Tac were in the garden the other day.

Stumpy turned up in the garden without any tail feathers. Have they been moulted and the little robin is very limited in movement until they grow back? Or was it, perhaps, the result of a close encounter with one of the many local cats? Either way, Stumpy was here for the day and was going to make the most of it. Sometimes skulking in the bushes, sometimes hopping around at the edges.

Then the focus shifted to sunbathing, looking for all the world like he’d made a failed high speed landing and crashed into the ground! He hadn’t of course, he was just making the most of the sun, stretching wings out to the max.

And not just one sunbathing session either, but multiple times through the day.

Also in the garden is Tic Tac the robin, so named for his seeming pleasure in continually making the robin alarm call, no matter where he is in the garden or what he is doing.

Tic Tac is a juvenile, one of the 2018 edition robins, and seems to have well and truly settled in to my garden as his current home. He’s all bravado with his constant calls, like he’s trying to claim the garden as a territory even though he’s still too young. Come the autumn and the moult, however, he may be taken a lot more seriously and might even win out as the new resident robin.

Meanwhile, Tic Tac doesn’t seem to have received the memo that robins are ground feeding birds! Regular visits are being made to the hanging feeders, particularly the coconut.

Stumpy, it seems, was only here for the day. Not seen stumpy since, though I’ve been looking. Tic Tac I don’t even need to look for, just keep an ear out and I know he’s still around. One passing through, one resident, both memorable in their own ways.

There’s a lot to be said for enjoying the wildlife around you on the personal level. What names do you give to your individual local favourites?

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Patch & Garden, 1st June 2018

Walking the patch and the sun is out, mostly beating the clouds. Its hot and close. The breeze, when it does come, is a blessed relief.

It seems the territorial observances of Blackbirds this morning are catching. An interesting stand off unfolds along the big road. From a high TV aerial a Blackbird sings loudly and beautifully, very much something to appreciate. It seems a rival male disagrees, however, flashing past right in front of me to land on the roof just below the aerial.

Neck twisting to keep watching as I walk past, the songs are silent for a few seconds before the TV aerial blackbird pipes up again even louder. Our interloper waits for as long as is seemly to save face and then decides better of it, flying off along the houses to the safety of a garden instead. At least we know which bird has the X factor.

Down the quiet lanes, past flowers blooming in the forgotten verges.

Blackbird and wren are singing in the copse and Nuthatch is at its nest in the sweet chestnut. They’ve been particularly good parents. The park is teeming with wildlife of the “families enjoying the end of the half term holidays” variety, so its time to head home.

There’s always plenty to see on the bird feeders.

Great Tits have been constant visitors through the nesting season, they really are very smart looking birds. Nice to know I’m helping to support their nesting with my feeders. Blue tits have been coming and going so fast that its near impossible to get a photo of them. I wonder if the tits being at the feeders so often says something about the availability of caterpillars this breeding season?

My resident and much loved sparrows have been successful breeders already, having brought their fledglings to show them where the food is.

Being sparrows, of course, they always manage to be scrappy about it!

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