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Bird activity continues to increase in the garden and a crow is a regular visitor

Business is brisk

Bird activity continues to increase in the garden and a crow is a regular visitor once again, which usually means that the other birds keep away until it has finished feeding and prancing about on the lawn.
It is one of the users of the new bird bath and water dish tray but I’ve decided to change the facility for a much deeper and bigger plant saucer today, as I was finding the dish was too shallow and after a few larger birds had been drinking from it or standing in it, it was almost empty. The new tray had only been out in the garden for a couple of hours and the crow decided to give it a go but for good measure tried the previous one, which I have left alongside for now. My picture this week is of the crow a few days ago strutting around on the lawn. There was a bit of a stand-off between the crow and a magpie as each one was darting in to take some food from under the bird table and then backing off to let the other come in. A starling ran across the lawn to use the new bird bath tray, as I think water must be in slightly short supply now, as we haven’t had a substantial amount of rain in Kent for a week or two. So business is brisk at the water facility and perhaps with the deeper tray some ablutions will now be possible.

It often amuses me when the birds have been using the suet square, suet balls or logs that they will then go to a branch and wipe their beaks to remove the surplus suet. The blue tits and great tits have certainly been making good use of the suet logs and the peanut feeder this past week. The starlings are also feeding there eagerly. The crow managed to perch itself near enough to the suet balls yesterday to have a good feed with some very vigorous pecking. The magpies are coming as a pair, with one arriving, feeding and leaving with the second then arriving straight away, so I imagine as they will fly in and head off in the same direction, they must be feeding youngsters. The wood pigeons have been causing some amusement during the past week as well, with a pair of them sitting together on a branch and then the third one turns up and they find the branch is getting a little bit low. They certainly like sitting on top of my trellis fence and one yesterday afternoon was fluffed up and having a good preen. They have been sitting in the wild cherry tree and the cobnut as shoots are emerging and no doubt they are tasty. The blackbirds, robins and sparrows are very busy coming and taking food and the sparrows have been collecting more nesting materials. With the longer days now I can easily have some birds still at the feeders at 6:30 in the evening and the blackbirds, robins and magpies are there substantially later than that.

After some spring weather last week it turned colder again this week, but on Easter Sunday it was warm enough to sit out in a sheltered part of the garden by the house and I was watching a butterfly feeding on my grape hyacinths or muscari to give them their proper name. It stayed for quite a while then went off a short distance and returned, and there were one of two bees as well. With a grape hyacinth I would not have thought there was enough food for them in the small individual flowers on the spike, but they were making good use of them. So business was brisk in the flowerbed too.

My lawns had their second cut of the season earlier today and as I moved down the other end of one of the lawn, a robin was coming and poking about in the grass obviously finding some tasty morsels. They are certainly tucking into the dried mealworms with gusto but are having to share them with the starlings and sparrows plus the occasional blackbird. I still have a reasonable group of feral pigeons coming, but the numbers are certainly down on what they would normally be as I mentioned in my previous blog, partly I think due to the magpies and crows but possibly due to other food sources.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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