Squirrels start storing food for the winter in gardens and parks

Plenty of activity

During the past week the squirrels have been very busy checking out my cobnut tree and I think they are now taking some nuts to store for the winter.
However if you’re doing such an activity you need to keep your strength up and so visits to the peanut feeder to have a snack have been made too. One day there was a younger squirrel who was a bit more cautious when coming over to the peanuts when there were a number of feral pigeons around the bird table and feeders. It waited and then decided to go up and have some food whereas the older squirrel would’ve just run up the dead tree stump and said ‘Get out my way I want some peanuts’. I’ve only seen one fox this week but I think it has probably been there on other days as well, because my cat usually watches it intently out of the window and dashes from one windowsill to another and goes behind the curtain to watch it go from the front garden to the rear.

They have been a number of cabbage white butterflies in the garden and certainly still plenty of bees of various sorts. So far I don’t think I’ve seen any wasps, although there was a hornet on one of my plants the other day. As I’m writing this blog a small blue butterfly has just landed on my sycamore tree. I have also been some flying ants around in the last couple of days and the other day I had to remove several ants from my conservatory as they had managed to gain access by a crevice beside the door.

There have been birds a plenty in the garden and I have seen both the male and female greater spotted woodpeckers on several occasions, usually one or the other at a time. They amuse me and remind me of a lumberjack or a telephone engineer climbing down a tree or telegraph pole respectively. The woodpecker lands and go to have some food and then walks backwards down the tree stump. They are not overly tolerant of the other birds and I’ve seen them chase off some starlings and even have a bit of a peck at a feral pigeon if it has been too close. They’ve been drumming on the dead tree stump where I hang my feeders and I’m not sure if they have made a hole to make a notch to place a peanut in to then eat it, but it certainly gave me the impression that’s what one was doing the other day and if they have, aren’t they clever?

It has been nice to see a blue tit and coal tit coming to the suet log and seed feeder and I’ve also seen the parent robins, but no youngsters as yet. A suet log is lasting a day and half or two days at present. Other visitors have included a jackdaw, three crows normally coming together and I think they are probably all youngsters, a magpie, a couple of wood pigeons, at least one collared dove, some starlings, a couple of blackbirds, sparrows and of course the feral pigeons. The young starlings are changing to their adolescent plumage now.

It was sad to see this morning a large and relatively young sycamore tree being removed from the front garden of a house opposite as it was a good landing point for the jackdaws, the wood pigeons and the collared doves. Insects and animals are opportunists though and while at my local garden centre the other day the outside plant area was like a wildlife haven, with numerous butterflies on the buddleia bushes for sale, bees on various plants and so on.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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