comings and goings in spring gardens

Spring is here

This time of year a week in the garden or the countryside makes a great deal of difference and in the past week or so, bushes which just had fat buds are now starting to show leaves. Hawthorn hedging also is now out in leaf and in the last day or two magnolia trees have come into flower in my neighbourhood and they look beautiful, but they only last a short time. 

They have been some more insects about this past week including bumblebees and I even saw a wasp as well, so they’re obviously starting to take note of the warmer days and the sources of nectar and pollen. As I’m typing this a butterfly has just gone past the window heading off for some of my spring flowers. 

Bird activity has certainly been higher, both in terms of the number of visits birds are making to my feeders, bird table and ground based food and also the type of bird is also on the increase. I have seen a couple of goldfinches in the last few days flitting between bushes in the garden and I always leave the dead seed heads from flowers in the borders until this time of year, as I know they come to take seeds and stalks for nests. I even saw a jay briefly in one of the trees. 

The starlings are also much in evidence and coming for a greater number of feeds during the day. My picture this week is a group of them gathering in my wild cherry just ahead of disappearing for the day. A few will stay on later and I imagine they roost a little bit closer to me. They have been doing the usual ablutions in the bird bath with anything up to four of them in one of the saucers at a time having a good splash around. 

    The crows are still coming as a pair at least once or twice a day and a magpie will turn up usually in the afternoon or on towards dusk. There are a couple of blackbirds coming looking for food quite late in the day, so as I have mentioned before, they have a little extra snack scattered about when many of the birds have left for the day. On a few occasions I’ve seen the robin waiting in the cobnut tree to take a quick snack from the bird feeder tray before the starlings descend and take most of the mealworms, but I’m still making sure that the robin also has a little extra snack for later in the day, as they are one of the types of bird that stays well on towards dusk. 

    The pair of collared doves and the pair of wood pigeons are still frequent visitors, generally early and late in the day and of course the feral pigeons. I don’t seem to have as many of them again at the moment, so I wonder if they two are starting to nest too. My usual predominantly white birds are turning up although a couple of them who are normally regular visitors, haven’t been seen this past week. 

    On other wildlife news, I’ve seen the fox a couple of times going through the garden early in the morning and then disappearing under the fence into a neighbouring garden. I also saw a field mouse running across my patio, then squeezing in through the gap by the greenhouse door and presumably it has some accommodation in there. I must not forget the squirrels, sometimes three at a time, with one pair madly chasing one another round the garden at various times. It amazes me how fast they can run and get up into a tree. So, it’s all happening in the garden and the pleasant days this week with plenty of sunshine and light winds, have certainly allowed me to work in the garden and not want to dash for cover to get warm. 

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    Written by Margaret Emerson

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