Friday, 18 May 2018

WILDLIFE MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME


May is proving to be an exciting month for the garden, with new life and new nesters!

The blue tits have indeed been the birds to have used the original nest box, and the sound of chicks begging for food was heard on Sunday morning.

However I first suspected something was going on when I saw both blue tits scurrying around the garden searching for caterpillars and insects.

They sped around so fast, hanging upside down looking underneath leaves, that my first thought was they must be looking for food for their chicks.

There was an urgency not seen when they are ‘child free’!

Unfortunately it looks like Mrs Wren didn’t like to location or build of the nest by the kitchen window and they appear to have somewhere else.

Not all is lost though, because just two days ago a pair of robins were seen taking nesting material to that very nest.

They must either be a new or, as I suspect, the garden robins that have had their first nest nearby found and raided by a predator – my money is on one of the local cats.

I’m just hoping they continue with this nest, lay eggs that are successfully hatched and fledge all their chicks.

In the meantime all of the tomato, broad bean and sunflower plants are outside in the greenhouse, growing rapidly.

I suspect it’ll be bank holiday weekend when the first ones are put out in the garden, when they are strong enough to sustain any attacks from slugs and snails.

The weather looks like being good for a while, so watering the garden will be crucial in the coming weeks, not only to keep the flora going, but also help the birds with keeping their thirst quenched and food available.

They will of course get mealworm supplements from me while chick rearing season is going on.

Friday, 4 May 2018

MAY SPRING BE UPON US!


Glorious May, well not quite, but the wildlife seems to be adamant some warm weather is on its way.

The dawn chorus is in full swing, with many now starting before 5am, not good for the late risers.

I’ve started to put out mealworms for the birds, however none have shown signs that their taking the food to a nest – they simply move to a sheltered spot nearby and devour what they’ve grabbed.

The wrens are still singing nearby, but I’m not sure if they’ve decided on the garden as a nesting place – only time will tell as I’m not going to disturb the nest box until I’m sure they’re not using it.

I’m still not sure if the house sparrows are using any of the nest boxes, although the blue tits are definitely bedded in the original next box, which still isn’t transmitting properly.

Once again I’m on the hunt for the robin’s nest, which is likely to end in failure as it has every other year.

In flora news the first sunflowers have been put outside to grow in the portable greenhouse, so hopefully some early autumn food for the garden birds awaits.

Food for the humans at the house will be in the form of tomatoes and broad beans, but they won’t be let outside for another week.

Until then let’s hope the weather warms up and the sound of chicks is blasting through the garden air.


Tuesday, 24 April 2018

WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER & AUTUMN IN THE SAME MONTH?


We’ve not yet finished April but we’ve seen weather representing all four seasons already.

Hail and a little snow started the month, before spring(ish) conditions followed, then last week summer took over, while autumn came along today and looks like staying until May – or until winter starts the sequence again.

What’s been lovely to see, up until today, has been the swallows dancing in the air, chattering and making plans for breeding, plans that may be on hold for now!

The nest building in the garden continues, with the blue tits and blackbirds making their choices of nest location well known.

The male wren has been entertaining the female at his nest in the previously unused nest box.

It’s been difficult to assess her feedback, although she has been spotted a few times so perhaps this nest ‘sale’ is still under discussion.

What’s been very distinguishable is the dawn chorus, and what a lovely sound the birds are making around the garden.

Wren, blackbird, blue tit, house sparrow, robin, dunnock, goldfinch, chaffinch, swallow, chiffchaff and great tit all providing a cacophony of alarm bells from the first chink of light – at the moment 5am is late for some birds!

The big question for the birds is will there be enough food for when the chicks arrive, particularly for those that have laid eggs recently, as the colder weather isn’t beneficial for the usual spring gluttony of caterpillars.

One thing I do is order mealworms, and the first batch is due to arrive this weekend, so it’ll be interesting to see which birds fly off with big bunches of them first.