Paddling around in the water and mud

Paddling around in the water and mud

The past week has brought some strong winds again and further heavy rain to Kent but despite that, the birds in the garden have been enjoying the birdbath saucers.
The starlings and feral pigeons have been bathing aplenty but I guess they are getting muddy feathers. It’s amazing how tiny bird feet running around on the lawn under my feeders and bird table have managed to create a mud bath. The area near the bird table now resembles the goal mouth of a football pitch with the grass worn away. It also means it is muddy for me too when I put food out.

In the past week I have seen the welcome return of another bird visitor, a greater spotted woodpecker. I’ve hardly seen one since the late spring and if I’m looking out the window at the right time, I see it feeding on the suet square. The starlings seem to keep back when it lands although at the moment it’s only paying a fairly short visit.

The starlings are still coming en masse and diving down for the mealworms which are being consumed rapidly, although occasionally they are joined by a feral pigeon sitting in the food tray saucer. Squabbling and commotion usually ensues and the starlings are certainly not to be outdone by the arrival of any pigeons.

Food consumption has increased but I thought that my suet balls were going down rather rapidly, although I was blaming the jackdaws and magpies for pecking away at them and consuming them quickly. However, I spotted a one of the squirrel visitors taking a fat ball and running across the garden and presumably burying it somewhere. I don’t mind them having food but what I’m tending to do now is just put two or three suet balls at a time in the feeder, so hopefully they can’t reach down inside and take one. They have certainly been enjoying the peanuts and continue to bury them in various places in the garden as well as sitting by the feeder eating them. There were three of them again in the garden the other day.

The robins are coming to the garden more frequently again now and I continue to see at least one adult and one immature robin hopping about and coming for food when the feeders and bird table are more quiet. Still at least one magpie is coming early in the morning and late in the day and probably also one or two crows on most occasions. The blackbirds are hopping about and more in evidence and so I think it really is a sign that winter is starting to arrive.

Although a lot of my time at the moment is spent indoors with Christmas preparations such as writing cards and so forth, I’m going to have to make time and perhaps this weekend when it looks as if it’s going to be less cold might be good, to find a home for my robin roosting box and small bird nest box which duly arrived this week.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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