Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Posts tagged ‘blackbirds’

Great British Bird Watch.

Like many of us Brits I topped up the bird feeders and sat back for an hour this weekend and watched paper and pen in hand , counting birds who stopped by. I have a feeling that only in the UK are we slightly peculiar enough to do such a thing.

Counting birds for an hour across the country on the same weekend helps the RSPB estimate how well the various species of birds are doing year on year and provides information on our general environment. Starlings and sparrows have declined in numbers over the years since I was little. I didn’t see a single starling , whereas when I was a child they dominated the bird feeders. And as I lived then within 1 minutes walk from here, something has clearly happened.

It’s also odd that come the Spring the hedge in our garden is full of nesting starlings, so where are they going in the winter now?

I am pleased though that the same hedge is a brilliant habitat for the sparrows. I had trouble counting this year because we have a lot and they fly off within in seconds. I got to nine on several occasions but think there were more, I just couldn’t keep track of them from feeder to hedge to tree to ground to feeder to hedge.

I had 6 blackbirds in my hour, but I know that there are 8 hereabouts, but the other two must have been in some other garden. Fred my lovely blackbird with the white feathers is still very much with us.

This picture was taken last May. He first appeared in 2016, then a feisty bird who would challenge all the other male blackbirds in the garden . Last year he had clearly matured, he had his nest in the ivy behind the lilac tree and just got on with raising I think a female chick, who may have inherited a few white feathers of her own. He is more subdued now and has retreated to life near the hedges and is avoiding the younger males. Hopefully he will be with us through 2018. Having a very distinctive bird in the garden has provided me with hours of entertainment as well as let me see the behaviour of an individual bird.

As to the rest, the pigeons have cause me the greatest complexity of identification. For the first time we have got feral pigeons in the garden, and less wood pigeons. I spent a long time looking at my bird books and realised that one was actually a stock dove and not a pigeon at all. And we have three very odd looking pigeons who are white with black feathers and I can only conclude that somewhere¬† the white doves or maybe even racing pigeons have mated with the feral pigeons. Anyway I counted them as feral pigeons as clearly they aren’t anything else.

We have two resident robins but only one turned up. The long-tailed tit also failed to put in an appearance.

But it was an enjoyable experience, and I hope all our findings help the RSPB and the bird populations as a whole.

May Garden

You have to love this time in England. The weather warms up and there is something new to see every day in the garden. We have been spending a lot of time outside and I love it.

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This is the Pulsatila Red Bells, I mentioned in my April post. Here it is in full flower.

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This is the view of the garden from the room in which I write my blog. The pond is just to the right of the tree, the veg garden just out of sight left back, and the garage front left.The hedge at the back is an old field hedge and we let it grow as high as we think our neighbours will tolerate. It is home to a lot of birds, all very very busy right now.

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Talking of the pond my little lady is looking right at home among the wood and wild flowers.

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That’s the top of the rockery above the pond. Note, Mr E tries to get rid of the forget me knots every year!! But I love them too much…. enough said. There are bluebells galore out in the garden too.

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I took some to my Dad’s grave yesterday. Such a contrast to the shop bought flowers on the plot next door. Wonder what he’d have said?

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The seed/plants have moved from the lounge floor to the step by the french windows. They spend the nights in the greenhouse.

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Which is beginning to look the business. Sorry about my reflection..

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Remember my no fern photo challenge problem a week or so ago. Typical here’s some of ours just one week later!! Note to self no working with children, animals or plants.

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There are runner beans lurking beneath that fleece, which is there for stopping the pigeons.

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This lilac tree has come from nowhere in the last couple of years, it’s somewhere in the back hedge, but whether on our side or the neighbours I couldn’t say. But it makes a gorgeous splash of colour.

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We have some lovely scented plants in the garden. This honeysuckle is on the garage wall. There are blue tits in the nesting box. They hatched I think on Friday as we went from one blue tit on a mission to two flying back and forth like the clappers.

We have a lots of blackbirds in the garden too. I want to introduce to one very special gentleman. He is a blackbird with some white feathers. Now we had one blackbird a few years ago with a white spot who was a timid little thing lurking in the hedge to the right of our garden. But some how he must have found a mate and produced. Fred the thread. Fred is a very feisty chap, he successfully fought all the other male blackbirds to gain a lady and the best nesting spot in the hedge which grows behind another lilac tree . And oh boy is he working hard now, fetching delectable little titbits for his lady.

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See his white tail, the thread of white which gave him his name Fred the Thread. He would like you to know that he is a most clean blackbird and takes a regular bath in the bird bath whether he needs it or not. It is rather wonderful to be able to actually tell him from the other blackbirds whom he no longer has time to fight  and know exactly how he sets about his daily business.

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Hawthorn in the back hedge, love it. Still waiting for the elderflower to bloom. Not certain we are going to have any plums this year, the tree blossomed before the last frost. The tadpoles have all hatched and are swimming around merrily. Two frogs have taken up residence in the greenhouse.

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This wisteria is at the front of the house, a gift from my Dad.

And we have started to eat more from the garden. First lettuce of the year, plus herbs and rhubarb still.

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Best of all, I get to pick flowers for the house.

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Right time to get back outside… Hope you enjoyed this rather long walk round the garden .

Enjoy the sunshine folks….


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