I have been using suet logs in the feeding area in the cobnut tree for the past few days and I think it means that the starlings and smaller birds are able to have more of the suet than when I had a suet square in a feeder, once they worked out how to reach it. The jackdaws and even occasionally crows and magpies could get onto the feeder which meant that the smaller birds were put off and the suet tended to break up, was sometimes wasted and, on the face of it, consumed very quickly. There is still a suet square in the dead tree by the bird table and a supply of suet balls there and at another feeding station. The birds seem to have adapted to what is on hand. The starlings are feeding more from the peanuts and a new seed feeder as well as the logs and squares. They still like the mealworms and I'm still putting plenty of those out, including some scattered by some plants which then attracts the blackbirds as well.
My picture this week is of some of the starlings pecking around on the lawn accompanied by a couple of feral pigeons. Both pigeons and starlings have been bathing a lot this past week, so the birdbath saucers have needed re-filling at least twice a day or at least the water needs freshening up. When they have been on the suet the birds seem to have a lot of it attached to their feet and bellies and it soon makes the bird bath water dirty.
The normal birds have been coming during the past week the feral pigeons, the pair of wood pigeons, a pair of collared doves, two crows, a couple of jackdaws, the occasional magpie as well as the starlings, dunnocks and sparrows. I mustn't forget the greater spotted woodpecker who I've seen once this week and it was lovely when I pulled up my kitchen blind the other morning to see it swinging round happily on the suet feeder. The sparrows have been much more in evidence over the last week or two with their youngsters and they are coming down on the patio amongst my containers, looking I'm assume for aphids and other things to eat. They'll be a long stream of them flying away from time to time which obviously amuses my house cat looking out of the window.
A squirrel is visiting about but I haven't actually seen a fox this week, but I'm pretty sure a couple of evenings ago there was a hedgehog in the garden about 10pm. I've not seen hedgehogs for several years but other people in the neighbourhood have been seeing them, so I think it probably was, but I didn't go outside as I didn't want to disturb it. I shall have to look of evidence of its droppings round about the garden. If I see it again, I'll have to get some special hedgehog food to put out. Bees have been busy on the flowers again this week, although I haven't seen any butterflies but I think with a few blustery days and heavy showers they have tended to keep away.
Written by Margaret Emerson