It’s a while since I reported on any of the wildlife encounters around the garden, other than the mention in my last book about what I could see from my hospital window, so a few words on recent fun in the back garden are overdue.
Our sparrow population has been between 20 and 30 for a while now and they are daily visitors. The overgrown top of our pergola where our hop and rambling rose share with next door’s vine is a favourite staging post and on sunny days a good crop of these chirpy friends can be found lined up enjoying the warmth, scraping their beaks and generally resting before the urge to zoom off en masse takes them. They are often joined up there, and on the birdfeeder, by a handful of blue tits and the two species seem to co-exist without rancour.
The other regulars are a pair of robins and a pair of blackbirds. These are less able to share and will often flutter and posture if the redbreasts meet their larger neighbours on the feeder. One day last week Mr Robin and Mt Blackbird were so busy flapping at each other that a pair of the sparrows were nipping in and pinching the bread from under their beaks. Endless entertainment with no batteries required.
The starlings are beginning to return following the destruction of their bramble patch around the corner. At its peak there must have been getting on for a thousand of them roosting there every night and their arrival in swooping squadrons was a joy to watch, especially as they would have the setting sun behind them, but one day a truck arrived and the brambles were cut down and taken away without ceremony or warning. Where the birds went to that evening I don’t know, but their raucous presence has been missed since. A dozen or so will turn up and take over the fat ball holder for a while, but where they roost we still haven’t found.
In the front garden magpies, wagtails and crows are regulars and the starlings and blackbirds will also turn up and rummage in the dead leaves under the cherry tree. We also get the odd rarity; finches of various sorts plus a woodpecker the other week, the first we’ve have since one became a regular for one season about 10 years ago.
They all bring joy and those in the back garden give me something to watch whilst I’m cooking or washing up. They’re all welcome.