In 2008 this blog started, looking at the ongoings of the four nestboxes, pond & wildlife in my garden.
Things have changed over the years, with blue tits, great tits, house sparrows tree sparrows and robins utilising the nesting sites.
Two video cameras detail two nest boxes giving incredible insights into nesting behaviour.
Is summer going to offer us one more blast of heat before fading into
autumn? I’m hoping the warmth continues into September just like 2014, although
I’m not holding out much hope.
The swallows certainly don’t seem to be taking any chances and have
been gathering in large numbers on nearby wiring, and I suspect the deluge we
experienced at the end of this week might have been the final straw.
I think they’ve had two broods this year, which is another successful
breeding season. I just hope most of them return in the years to come.
The local swift population seems to have already packed their bags and
headed for warmer climes, while the local residents are probably hoping for a
trip to southern Europe as they try and replenish feathers and health from
their breeding season.
The garden has seen plenty of young robins and blackbirds recently,
although the parents are looking rather dishevelled.
Harvesting is nearing an end in the surrounding fields, but the garden
is only halfway through its harvest season, with only the broad beans having
The tomatoes might not be ready until September, but I’m hopeful of a
Sunflowers are in low numbers, but one or two are now flowering,
although none will reach heights above ten feet. Still ate least they will
provide an autumn feast for many local birds, particularly the blue and great
Finally the battle between the house sparrows seems to have been won by
the triple nest box , as they have their fourth brood of the year, while the
blue tit nest box family seem to have stopped at three broods.
That’s said, if we have a warm September it might re-open the game.
The heat wave has now come and gone, but it has left behind some warm
weather albeit with plenty of rain, particularly forecast for the week ahead.
There’s still been no sight of Spikey and I’m concerned now as I don’t
think he’s been eating much of the cat food or mealworms that I’ve been handing
Indeed there seems to be a family of magpies that have been raiding the
garden for my mealworms and the cat food, although how much of the cat food is
left by dawn is something I don’t know.
I’m going to check the house sparrow nest boxes out this week as I’m
not sure if another clutch of eggs has been laid yet, or indeed if there will
be another brood this year; I’d be surprised if there wasn’t.
All of the plants are now out of the greenhouse, apart from the three
‘resident’ tomato plants, and most are surviving well outside.
The runner beans have flowered and the first signs of beans are now
coming through, while the broad beans have flowered and some will soon be ready
for picking and eating.
They’ve all been visited by plenty of bees and this year has seen the
biggest number of bees in the garden for nearly a decade.
Every day the bees have visited the garden in huge numbers, with many
varieties of honey and bumble bees.
As more and more flowers come into bloom it seems the supply of pollen
and nectar will continue for the foreseeable future.
Currently the sweetpea plants are flowering and soon it’ll be the
tomatoes, before the sunflowers continue the supply.
Of course all this means there’s plenty of colour in the garden.
The swallows appear to be in very big numbers this year and I’m
predicting the count will exceed 40 when they start to prepare for the journey
to their winter home and gather on the telephone wires.
Until then I’m going to enjoy their aerobatic displays and beautiful
voices as the glide and swoop in and around the garden.
Next week I’ll bring news of a song thrush that has taken to singing
loudly and at length around the garden.
It’s been two weeks since we set ‘Spikey’ (Max), the male hedgehog,
free in the garden and sightings of him have been rare. I say rare, but what I
mean is we’ve not seen him at all.
When he was release he scuttled into the undergrowth of next door’s
garden and has not been sighted since.
Neighbours have been recruited to the on ‘hedgehog watch’, but so far
the search has been fruitless.
I have been leaving cat food and water out for him late at night, and
while the food has gone in the morning, I have no way of knowing if it’s
Spikey, one of the resident cats or another wild animal has eaten it.
I just hope he’s ok and enjoying his new surroundings. If he is seen in
the near future and regularly, I’ll be looking to rehome a female and set up a
The house sparrows are doing very well and both nests have just had
their second brood of the year fledge.
I’m still not getting great images through the video cameras, but I’m
probably going to leave them alone this year so as many house sparrows can
fledge to boost the local population.
They may be noisy chirpy little birds, but they are part of the
wildlife fabric of this country and it’s lovely to hear them in the morning as
part of the dawn chorus.
The flora is doing quite well too, with sunflowers, broad beans,
poppies and runner beans all growing taller by the day. All but the sunflowers
are flowering and providing the bees and other insects with differing types of
I’m still seeing the odd small plant being eaten by snails and slugs,
but most are escaping their hungry mouths.
Next week we’re meant to be in for as heatwave, which will be good for
sun worshippers and the wildlife that needs sun, but everyone must be mindful
that to flourish all wildlife needs access to fresh water.
So fill up that garden drinking bath or place small low level
containers out at dawn or dusk and help the wildlife flourish in your patch.
Both house sparrow families are taking this year’s brooding competition
very seriously, as they look to fledge their second broods of the season.
The family in the blue tit nest box are a few days behind their
opponents in the sparrow nest box, but they could catch up if the next set of
eggs (yes I’m expecting more), are laid as soon as this brood fledges.
And when these two broods do fledge, they’ll find the garden has a new
wild animal pottering around the plants and over the lawn.
Yes, the garden is now home to a ‘re-homed’ rescue hedgehog. Max, is a
2-year-old male, who has been ‘called’ Spikey by my daughters, although he’s
not been seen since he was set free last week.
I’ve been feeding him small amounts of cat food at night, although
whether he is eating it or the local cats are taking it, is something I’ve not
been able to find out.
He is a big male and I hope he sticks around to provide another layer
of the natural circle of life in the garden.
The escallonia and pyracantha are full of flowers and attracting
hundreds of bees (honey and bumble) every day, while a red ladybird poppy plant
has already produced eight brightly coloured flowers to light up another area
of the garden.
There are numerous sunflowers now planted outside, along with broad
beans and tomato plants.
And with the summer sun making its presence known, I’m hoping they will
all grow big and strong, while Max (Spikey) takes care of those pesky slugs and
The house sparrows are becoming even shyer as the signal from the blue
tit nest box camera is intermittent at best.
I fear they’ve either pecked at it or pushed nesting material and
forced the emitting antennae to malfunction.
I can’t try to fix the problem, as the eggs are about to hatch or have
hatched in the last 24 hours – I suspect the latter as activity has certainly
increased to the nest box.
I bought some mealworms last week, which attracted plenty of birds to
the feeders, particularly the house sparrow parents in the neighbourhood – I
counted at least ten adults at one point so presume there are at least six
nests in and around the garden.
Unfortunately all the mealworms have now gone, after a night-time thief
raided the containers outside the back door and took what was remaining.
The thief also carried out a daytime raid, so my list of main suspects is
down to two – magpies or grey squirrel.
The squirrel hasn’t been seen recently, while the magpies have a nest
nearby and are almost daily visitors to the garden.
I’ll have to keep the next lot of mealworms locked away more securely!
No hedgehogs yet, but I’m pretty hopeful of being able to pick up one or
two rescued ones next weekend.
Finally I’ve planted out a number of sunflowers, broad beans and runner
beans, all with biodegradable slug and snail pellets.
The first night didn’t capture many of the plant destroyers, so I hope
for the hedgehogs’ sake that the neighbours have plenty!
Last week both house sparrow nests fledged and this week it was the
turn of the robins to ‘turf’ their youngsters out.
I can still see and hear the house sparrow families from the garden as
the youngsters continually badger the parents for food.
I suspect both families are using the same set of trees, which are
opposite the garden and have two of my feeders, but I’m not 100 per cent sure.
There are at least two robin chicks that I have seen feeding in the
garden with one parent, but I suspect others are using next door’s garden with
the other parent.
One chick took on a rather large worm that had surfaced following the
overnight rain, but it appeared the worm won, albeit through a technical ‘chick
scared of worm’ decision.
The next few days are supposedly going to be more like autumn than
early summer, so I’m hoping the robin chicks will stay around in the relative
safety of the garden for at least part of the next week.
In recent days I’ve seen the parent house sparrows mating again, so some
shiny new eggs might be delivered by the end of next week, as one again the two
house sparrow families battle to bring up the most chicks.
I’m going to attempt to clear the camera view in the blue tit nest box
today and hopefully get a glimpse at those new eggs when they arrive, and also
No news on the hedgehogs yet, but next week I hope to have an update,
along with news on the nest box camera and my first delivery of mealworms.