It has been like rush-hour at the feeders over recent days and yesterday afternoon two groups of sparrows flew across the garden and went into my cobnut to have their last food of the day from the feeder. This morning I was watching a starling sitting on the suet log and yesterday a jackdaw was reaching to have some of the suet as well, but as the log is fairly low again, it was finding it a little bit difficult as every enthusiastic jackdaw peck meant that it was swinging almost out of reach.
The blackbirds have been very busy in the garden coming as a pair and I think occasionally a second pair, so I can only assume that they are now into their nest building and egg laying season. My picture this week is of the blackbird pair on the lawn pecking around on the ground below the bird table. They do occasionally go on the suet balls and suet square and into the bird table but generally they are of course ground feeders.
Something else to which I can say, ‘That’s new’ or rather I should say new for this year, is a chaffinch and I have seen at least one in the garden in the last week or so and it will be nice if a few more returned. A few years ago they outnumbered the sparrows but I had not seen any for a couple of years. I’ve not seen greenfinches in the garden for many years now and bullfinches for probably over thirty, but they were wiped in the Kent countryside as farmers thought they were destroying the fruit blossom. Not much fruit growing is left in my area of Kent now, certainly in terms of fruit orchards, as more and more housing is being built. I read the other day that greenfinches can become ill because of contaminated food and I do always try to keep my feeders and the food area as clean as possible, although the food itself is rarely left behind to go off as it were.
There’s been the usual mix of birds during this past week, the feral pigeons, the jackdaws in their group, several magpies, collared doves, four wood pigeons, a visit by a crow again on a couple of occasions, blue tits, great tits and coal tits, as well as the robins and birds already mentioned. This morning a wren was hopping about in some of the containers near the house for several minutes. I’m sure the diversity is helped by the woodland that is less than half a mile away from where I live and then the ground runs into the countryside that remains close to the North Downs. I was saddened to read a couple of weeks ago that the remaining area of woodland, some of it ancient, is being sold and I can only expect it will go to development, having been eroded over recent years. That would be great shame as I’m sure that some of the birds, such as the woodpeckers and jays and so forth probably live there. In spring it is filled with lesser celandines and bluebells.
Written by Margaret Emerson