The weather of course has been very warm during this past week and there has been no rain either here in Kent. The birds are making full use of their bird bath and drinking saucers and I'm making sure that they are replenished two or three times a day, as the water does become quite muddy when the birds have been washing. It's been quite noticeable over the last few days that it's not just the feral pigeons and the starlings drinking there, but also a fox, blackbirds, a magpie and the crows. I think water must be becoming quite short now out in the countryside as well. My picture this week is of one of the crows just after having visited the saucers. The blackbirds have also been bathing in the water in the evening when the water is nice and fresh ready for the next day.
The birds are tending to disappear during the hottest part of the day but a few hardy souls will still come to the feeders, but it's early in the morning and from late afternoon when most of them appear for food. It doesn't seem to reduce the amount that is eaten with peanuts, mixed seed, suet pellets and mealworms being the favourite, although they are still going on the suet log and suet squares, but they are lasting longer. I've already mentioned that I've seen quite a few birds this week and I've also seen some of the goldfinches coming for the seeds on my thistles and teasels and also one robin and sparrows. The wood pigeons and collared doves have also been putting in an appearance generally later in the day.
It incredible the way nature works, as one of my neighbours had a swarm of bees that had managed to get into an old ventilation duct, probably from a gas boiler or some such, and were literally to quote my next door neighbour ‘removing polystyrene insulation a bead at a time’. They weren't just dropping it out of the wall onto the ground but must have been flying round with it, because both my lawn and my neighbour’s lawn plus our patios are covered in small polystyrene balls. A couple of times when I was sitting outside I even saw a few from the sky, which I assume was being dropped by a bee. That is some incredible teamwork
The squirrel has been taking some peanuts from my feeder, and burying them in my planters, but is now also starting to take cobnuts from the tree. I don't mind that as it's a wild one and the cobnuts really taste of nothing. It does seem to be very early for collecting them though, as they are nowhere near ripe and generally I wouldn't expect that to be happening until August.
I've seen a few butterflies during the week and also plenty of bees on the flowers and as already mentioned the fox and the squirrel. There's been no further evidence of a hedgehog but I have seen most evenings a couple of bats just after dusk.
Written by Margaret Emerson