Suets prove popular in Haith's Armchair Naturalist Margaret's garden

It didn’t take long

In many of my weekly blogs I have mentioned the bird feeding facilities that I have in the garden and for the last several months I have been placing a suet log beside my main seed feeder in the cobnut tree.
The suet logs have been very popular but sometimes when they are about two-thirds of the way eaten, the remainder of the log falls off the plastic support, possibly due to the softness in the heat, and can’t be reattached. The birds eat them very quickly, often within a day or day and a half and so feeding on the logs all the time is becoming quite expensive. I had a spare suet square holder and decided that might be a better option, as it can still hang in the cobnut and the birds that have been using it such as the starlings, various members of the tit family and the occasional robin, will still be able to access it but possibly the larger birds such as jackdaws and magpies will have to use the other suet facility. I put the new square in place yesterday afternoon and wondered how long it would take the birds to work it out. My picture this week shows the setup. It didn’t take long and the starlings have been using it this morning and I’ve just seen a great tit taking a bite and flying off. A magpie tried to get on it this morning but I think as it moves around a bit more than the suet log, they went away as before they could get a bite.

The weather over recent days has been pleasant enough with some sunshine, reasonable temperatures and light winds and so bird activity has been brisk in the garden. The family of blackbirds have been in evidence with two youngsters hopping about together on the lawn at the side of the house and taking advantage of the windfall apples. The tree has had a good crop this year but unfortunately most of them have either been eaten by bugs or are starting to rot on the tree, so it is not a good year from that respect unless you happen to be a bird! The parent birds have also been seen in various parts of the garden.

I mentioned a great tit who was at the new suet square location and I’ve also seen a blue tit this week as well as the robin, several sparrows, dunnocks and of course the starling group. The just before dusk routine for the starlings is to swoop down on the bird feeders and consume all the mealworms that I’ve put in the tray there within a couple of minutes.

A pair of collared doves and at least one wood pigeon have been around in the garden as well and the usual group of feral pigeons. I tend to get more of these now first thing in the morning and then they disappear, with smaller groups returning later in the day with the final group coming around about 6 o’clock, which will probably only be three or four birds. It’s obvious that one group heads off towards the town at the end of the day, as a big number go off into the distance, whereas others disappear off the other way into the countryside.

The squirrels having completed the collection, eating and storage of the cobnuts are less frequent in the garden now, but often late afternoon or perhaps first thing in the morning, there will be one squirrel trying its hand at the peanut feeder. It amuses me to think that a couple of the feral pigeons have worked out that they can flip the lid up and take the peanuts out of the top of the feeder, providing the level is not too low, whereas the squirrel is hanging upside down, chewing the peanuts through the wire and at the same time opening the lid unintentionally, but not taking the nuts by the easy route.

Earlier this week I saw a fox in the garden and on the sunny days there have certainly been plenty of bees of different types in the wildflower area and on other plants. Certainly some of them have been bumblebees and bees with very full pollen sacks on their legs.

Written by Margaret Emerson.

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