WIldlife garden updates from Haith's Armchari Naturalist Margaret

This is hard work!

I enjoy watching the birds from various windows in the house when I’m working on whatever I am doing and a couple of days ago I was sitting at my laptop and a wood pigeon landed in the top of a conifer, in view of the window and so takes the starring role in the picture with this blog.
It landed first of all on a branch lower down and then, as the picture shows, went right to the top of the tree and as it was a blustery day, it was having a job to hold on, so probably thought, this is hard work! However, it stayed in this vantage point for 15 minutes or more and was keeping an eye on its territory. There was a second wood pigeon sitting on the roof of the house opposite later on and I imagine that the tree percher and this one are a pair as it was calling almost continually.

One of the magpies has been trying to take suet from the log hanging in the cobnut, but with it moving away every time it took a peck and not really being able to perch particularly successfully, I think it also thought that this is hard work. One of the crows, although I’ve had two or three visiting at a time during the past week, also tried the log unsuccessfully. Two crows come an hour or so before dusk most days for some food and one was squawking a lot at the second yesterday, perhaps saying, ‘Hurry up, its time to leave’.

Other birds making use of this bird food have included a great tit, coal tit and a blue tit and of course the starlings as well as the greater spotted woodpeckers, male and female, who are still coming at least once a day. The starlings have been coming in greater numbers over the last few days when it has not been particularly sunny or particularly warm and they have been spending their time between the suet log, or the peanut feeder and suet square hanging in the dead tree stump and of course have been making use of the birdbath facilities. They generally seem to do their bathing in the morning whereas the pigeons tend to be morning or afternoon.

The feral pigeons have been coming in quite large numbers at least in the morning, when it hasn’t been very warm and the numbers generally diminish or different groups arrive later in the day. On different days I see the various predominantly white pigeons. There is one coming now that it is white with black wings and a few other black splotches and it was trying out the birdbath the other day. It seemed a little bit nervous with other pigeons round and about and was reluctant to go over and have even a drink. Eventually it plucked up courage and took a sip of water, stood back as the pigeon who was bathing at the time took exception to this, but then came back for another drink and a bath shortly afterwards. That bird was probably thinking, this is hard work as well.

Other birds to put in an appearance this week include at least a pair of collared doves so my concern in my last blog that something had happened to one of the collared doves is probably unfounded. I’ve also seen the male and female blackbirds, the sparrows and at least one robin. A couple of days ago I also had a sparrow hawk swoop down in the garden, but the starlings had all scrambled from the feeder into the cobnut tree and so it went to sit in a bush, but when it saw me in the garden it flew off. I have one or two jackdaws visiting and I assume that once things turn autumnal, they will be back in number. They are no longer sitting and nesting in the chimney pot.

I’ve seen quite a few cabbage white butterflies, various bees and hover flies in the garden on the various flowers. The squirrel is extremely busy gathering cobnuts and burying them in various places and I’ve been watching the acrobatics as it’s been dangling down to pick a nut or pair, as they seem to grow that way. It checks if the nuts are good and if not they get dropped on the ground, but if sound will be taken away and occasionally it will have snack as this is hard work. The fox is also coming through the garden and leaving it’s calling cards, although I haven’t actually seen one this week.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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