Splish, splash, splosh

The past month or so has been very dry in Kent with hardly any rain, so a sharper shower yesterday evening was certainly most welcome. I think the birds have been pleased to have their birdbath saucers in my garden, as an increasing number of different types of bird have been coming and taking a drink, not just my usual starlings and feral pigeons. The birdbath facilities need filling now at least twice a day and on some occasions three times, as some enthusiastic bathing can soon empty them out and the water becomes quite dirty too. I'm actually thinking of putting a second deeper saucer outside, rather than a deep and a shallow one, in the usual spot.

The birds have been very active in the garden again during the past week and the blue tits and great tits are coming several times in the day now, but particularly later in the day when they can hop on the peanuts or the suet square without competition from larger birds. Having said that though, the magpies, crows and jackdaws tend to come later in the day for their food as well. The blackbirds are hopping about and I even had one out in the garden getting on towards nine o'clock the other evening, just showing how long the hours of daylight are becoming. I think they must have a nest fairly close by and the male bird has been sitting on the fence almost as if it has been on guard duty. I've also seen the robins, both a pair of immature ones and one in the full plumage and they have been actively hopping about looking for meal worms in particular. The starlings and the blackbirds have both taken advantage of the meal worms which I have been scattering amongst the plants at the end of my path, and I think they actually like the hunt. In addition, I also scatter a bit of seed and a few meal worms and suet pellets in amongst the plants under the bird feeder and enjoy watching the birds, particularly the starlings, running in and out of the plants looking for their meal.

I've mentioned the jackdaws and they have been coming and enthusiastically pecking at the peanuts, the suet squares and suet balls, so they feature in my picture this time. They certainly seem to be fewer in number than I've had for some years and I just see two birds at the moment, whereas this time last year it would have been four or six plus the youngsters later. I don't know if it's a case of crows in and jackdaws out as there seems to be some rivalry between them.

The bees have been very busy on the last of the apple blossom and on various other plants in the garden and have been enjoying the flowering alpines on my relatively new rockery. May is supposed to be the month of no mowing and although I will still mow my lawns, I will make sure that patches of daisies and dandelions and so on are left, as it certainly is no bowling green!

Written by Margaret Emerson

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