Summer Routines in gardens

Summer routines

The past few days in Kent and indeed in quite a bit of the country, have certainly seen a welcome boost in temperature and sunshine and things are looking much more like summer. The birds in the past week have certainly adapted their routine.
They will arrive first thing in the morning before 6 o’clock, although I only hear them at that point and I don’t see them being too early for me to up and about. They then have some food which I put out sometime after 8 o’clock although they have got access to the feeders before then, which are replenished every evening. A few birds will stay around during the day but many disappear as I imagine it is too warm in the sun, I know it is for me and I would imagine sweltering sitting on a roof. They then reappear probably around 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon and then other waves arrive up to about 7pm, with a few staying much later. I’m finding that the bird bath saucers have to be filled at least twice a day, as I replenish them in the evening ready for the early bathers next morning and then either the water is evaporating or they have used it for bathing and drinking, meaning a replenishment early afternoon.

Visitors this week have included the woodpecker on a couple of occasions and one evening it was climbing up the dead tree stump and going on the feeders when there was a spare opportunity, so it features in my picture again this week. The smaller birds have taken to the new seed feeder which is hanging in a buddleia bush in the garden, which means that the larger birds such as the feral pigeons, wood pigeons and collared doves are not able to reach this one. The feeder is not in view of my kitchen or dining room windows but I check it each day as it is certainly being emptied of seed. Opportunist wood pigeons have scoured the ground under it for any spillages.

The young starlings are still coming in number and seem to be fending for themselves, although there are still a few parent birds about. The latter are going off frequently between the feeders and wherever they roost, so I imagine that there is already a second brood on the way. I’ve yet to see any young blackbirds although the parent birds have been hopping about on the lawn as usual. The feral pigeons are coming in different waves as normal during the day, although the numbers are a little bit down as has been the case for some weeks and months now.

At least a couple of wood pigeons are arriving most days and a couple of collared doves. I have mentioned before in my blogs that at one time the collared doves were probably the most numerous large bird in the garden, but from about 2012 the feral numbers started to increase and instead of getting 20 or so collared doves in the trees, it will be 20 or more feral pigeons on the roof. Other big birds that have visited this week are the magpies, coming in ones or twos, and a single crow who comes down whenever it sees some tasty morsels on the grass or by the bird table. A couple of jackdaws have been coming and they are possibly still nesting in the chimney pot. They usually disappear from the garden in the summer to return in the autumn.

At this time of year the suet balls are generally not eaten as much but they remain solid, whereas the suet squares become a little bit softer, but they still seem to be relished by the starlings who are consuming them with gusto and a square lasts two or three days. That is of course when they are not feasting on dried mealworms. The sparrows have yet to bring any youngsters into the garden to my knowledge but they’re still frequenting my fence in the front garden and flying into the neighbours roof space, so presumably they have had some youngsters and are hoping for more.

With the warmer days I have seen some butterflies in the garden but they’ve been too far away for me to identify easily and I’m not really good at that. The bees have been frequenting the flowers on my borage plants. The flowers look beautiful but the plant can become invasive in the flower beds, but I will certainly leave some behind so that they have plenty of food this year and a supply in coming years. It has been ‘No Mow May’ and although I have been mowing my two lawns, I’ve been leaving any patches of daisies or dandelions again as a food source. A squirrel and a fox have also been seen at times this week.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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