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New arrivals and familiar friends

New arrivals and familiar friends

I have a surprise visitor to report this past week with the sighting of a lesser spotted woodpecker on my peanut feeder.
I do very occasionally see them in the garden, but they normally only stay for a very short time, so blink and you miss them, but this time he or she stayed in the garden for at least five minutes, had some peanuts, sat on the branch where the feeder is hanging, which is actually a dead ornamental cherry tree and then climbed up the trunk and flew off.

The demand for bird food at the feeders and on the bird table is dramatically increasing now and the frequent visits throughout the day by the starlings gave me a hint that some youngsters were on the way. Well, this morning there were at least three of them in the garden scurrying around after their parents and also joining them in the sunbathing session on the lawn. The feral pigeons are also having a bath and sunbathing and the two groups of birds seem to mix well. As I tend to have set times of the day when I replenish the feeders and bird table, the feral pigeons have decided that they need to supplement their diet and so have been eating the emerging shoots from my sedum in the flowerbed. I’m sure it will recover but I remember last summer they took a liking to it and were breaking stems off, eating the leaves and also sitting on the flower heads. I know they can be a nuisance with cabbages and the like so perhaps that’s the nearest I have in the garden.

The large crow that I talked about last week is still coming and sitting on the roof and letting the other birds know that he or she has arrived. As soon as the crow swoops down the others normally disappear. The crow has continued to do circuits around the bird table looking for fallen food and has also been pecking away at the suet fat balls and having a drink at the pigeon birdbath.

The sparrows are also very busy and still seem to be collecting some nesting materials and the pair of blackbirds are similarly busy on the feeders, so I’m sure they’ll be some youngsters arriving soon. The jackdaws are still coming en masse but there’s no sign of any noisy youngsters as yet.

I always have some robins in the garden and of course, they are known as the gardeners’ friend and always put in an appearance when you’ve been working somewhere (particularly when digging). The other day I was clipping with shears the grass around the naturalised primulas and I took a break for a few minutes and the robin had found something to his liking so came down not far from me. It always amazes me with some of the birds, and it’s usually the larger ones, that they tend to use the garden path to get up and down the garden. I’m just watching a collared dove who has come down and walked along one of the little paths and has now decided that perhaps they’ll try the lawn. This particular one seems to be looking for nesting materials as a few twigs have already been picked up checked over and discarded again.
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Written by Margaret Emerson

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