The past week has brought some better weather to Kent with less incessant rain, although there have been some showery days and as the week has gone we have slightly warmer temperatures.
It has certainly been a good week for the bees, butterflies and insects in the garden and my picture is of a bumblebee enjoying one of the red poppies in the garden and it appears to have picked up a lot of pollen. They have not been settling on the new bee friendly plants as yet, but I am sure they will find them. I have seen quite a few bees in the garden including honeybees and the bumblebees plus one or two hover flies and also some cabbage white butterflies.
A young fox although probably not a cub from this year, has been coming through into the garden about six or seven in the evening looking for scraps below the bird table. It seems to be very scared and when a feral pigeon flew down from the roof to the bird table yesterday evening, the fox ran off down the garden and went through into the neighbours. Other wildlife that I’ve seen in the garden has included two squirrels, who I assume we are from the same family group and they were chasing one another around the garden as there was competition for the peanuts. There’s also been one more evening sighting of a bat flying round my neighbour’s garden but I’ve never been able to determine whether it’s one bat making rapid circuits or whether it’s two.
The birds seem to be changing their routine at the moment and the local flock of local starlings comes into my garden first thing in the morning and disappears round about 9 o’clock. I counted in excess of 30 birds down on my lawn the other morning, with a similar number this morning. Some of them will be using the suet logs, suet squares and peanut feeder but most of them at that time are down on the lawn. Apart from what is in the feeders or the suet logs, I don’t leave any food out overnight. A few starlings will then come back later in the day to have some mealworms or suet log and so forth.
The smaller magpies have been coming most days, although the parents are not currently visiting the garden, staying late into the evening and helping themselves to any food that is about. One or two crows have also been coming but as they’ve tended to land and then leave pretty quickly afterwards, I’m not sure if they’re the youngsters or the parents. It’s the same with the jackdaws as I’ve seen one or two about during the week at various times. A couple of wood pigeons and a couple of collared doves are still visiting as well as feral pigeons.
The blackbirds certainly seem to have one adolescent who is hopping about in the garden and the sparrows and also great tits have appeared with youngsters, as I’ve seen them being fed at various times at the bird table and feeders. It looks as if the great tits only have one youngster at the moment or at least only one has been coming at a time into the garden.
The greater spotted woodpeckers arrive most days for one or two visits, although it’s usually the male coming just now, although I do occasionally still see the female. Unfortunately, I think they have lost the youngster that they were also bringing into the garden on occasions, as I found a dead bird on my lawn the other day. It certainly wasn’t a starling and the patterning appeared to be coming in the plumage. That’s never a nice thing to see but then it is part of nature and the bird looked unhurt so I’m not sure what had happened.
Written by Margaret Emerson