Some new sightings in the garden

Some new sightings

A couple of days ago I was delighted to see one redwing in the garden, as that was my first sighting of one of them for about 10 months.
Unfortunately, the wood pigeons have eaten most of the holly berries that they come for but the one that was there was at least finding some of them. The wood pigeons have also been eating the berries on the ivy which grows up in my cobnut tree. While walking around the local countryside, I have seen them enthusiastically pecking at the ivy at the edge of a nature reserve. The other day in the space of a few metres I saw eight of them. My gathering of wood pigeons is usually only two!

Another new sighting on a different wildlife front was a small vole. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any in the garden before, so it caught me by surprise and initially I thought it was a rat. Looking more closely as it ran along my patio I could see that it had a short tail, didn’t have a rat face and was a dark brown colour. I don’t know where it would’ve come from unless it is in the pile of old bricks and rubble at the side of the garden and I wonder if I will see one again. There used to be a lot of toads in the garden and sometimes even frogs, but I haven’t seen any of either for a number of years now, despite the weather being on occasions very wet. I also more rarely even see a small newt.

Getting back to the birds and they have been busy eating away during the past week. The blue tits and great tits are now regular visitors to the suet square and there are at least four blackbirds in the garden. It looks to me as if the latter might be starting to collect some nesting material. Two crows are coming every day and having some scraps of meat from the lawn or possibly coming over to the bird table for some suet pellets along with a magpie. There has been at least one robin and a welcome sighting of a wren.

A couple of collared doves will turn up most days at some point and they tend to leave fairly late in the day. The starlings are still coming en masse and devouring the mealworms very quickly, but also taking more food from the peanut feeder now. My picture this week shows a group of starlings on the ground pecking around under the feeder where some of their friends had been dropping mealworms from the feeder tray. The sparrows were happily hopping about in the holly bush outside an upstairs window the other day and I imagine they are starting to gather, thinking about the spring ahead.

The weather here has turned less cold as the week has gone by, although many mornings have been frosty but as there has been at least some sunshine some afternoons, the birds have been staying in the garden until anything up to 4 o’clock for most of them and I even saw a blackbird hopping about as late as 5.30 yesterday. There are certainly some signs of the spring that we have to enjoy soon, as the bulbs are starting to push up in the garden and it won’t be long before I’m sure some snowdrops are in flower. That’s assuming that the two squirrels that are currently charging round the garden after one another, leaping in an out of containers and flowerbeds haven’t dug them all up!

Over the weekend I shall be taking part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, which probably means that all the birds will disappear, whereas normally there’s a good number to be seen.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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