Thursday, 22 January 2009

Time Out

We have had quite a variety of weather over the last few days. On Saturday it was high winds with damaging gusts, this morning we had a hard frost and the pond and bird baths were frozen over again. Once the temperature rose we had grey skies for the rest of the day and now it is pouring with sleety rain. Yesterday though it seemed as though spring was on its way. Although it was a very cold morning it was bright and sunny and I decided to wrap up and go into the garden. My main reason was to tidy and clean up the bird "feeding stations" and to make sure the drinking bowls were fresh. However, once out there I realised that it was very pleasant and after I had sorted out the birds' feeders I stayed out for about an hour and a half tidying up, a bit of weeding and picking up the twigs and branches that had blown down from the trees at the weekend.

Very enjoyable and I would have stayed out longer but my feet were beginning to go numb even though I had warm socks on under my wellies. Also the birds were beginning to get cross with me as they were anxious to get down to feed and my presence out there was putting them off. The blue tits were definitely chattering and the robin was sat high in the maple tree, singing away.

At the weekend I bought a coconut to break open and place in a strategic position in the hope of enticing some of the smaller birds. It had broken into two pieces, about one third and two thirds in size. I managed to put some string through the larger piece and hang it onto a small tree within view of our window but the smaller piece I wedged in between the branches of another tree.

Once I was back indoors it didn't take long for the birds to come down and I stood in the window watching them for a while. At one time there were six male blackbirds on the lawn, mostly just feeding and not really bothering each other. I'm sure that won't be the case for much longer, when they begin to establish boundaries. Also, there are now three robins visiting. I'm fairly sure two of them are "a couple", if you see what I mean, but the other seems to be very unwelcome, and I took a photo of two of the robins in a stance that seemed to indicate a "stand-off".

We have a few trees and thick hedges in the garden so I am hoping for a robin's nest this year.

However, this afternoon I was looking out at the garden and saw one of the squirrels with something. Watching more closely I realised it was the smaller of the two pieces of coconut - the one I had wedged into the branches of a tree. It was now on the grass and the squirrel, I thought, was trying to nibble the nut. I was wrong - he eventually managed to grip it in his teeth and made off, hell for leather, down the garden to wherever he stashes his "bounty"! I wonder how long it took him to dig a hole big enough!


Lindsay said...

We enjoy feeding and watching the birds. We have been inundated with starlings who gobble all the food (I thought starlings were meant to be on the decline?). A few weeks ago I bought new "caged" feeders which have been a success. The robin took some days to work out how to get through and of course the tits immediately got the hang of it. Poor old blckabird has to wait for the seeds to fall on the ground.

Mean Mom said...

It was a lovely morning here too, yesterday. The sun certainly makes us all feel better, I'm sure.

I don't encourage birds in my garden, because of my 3 cats. We do have quite a few visiting, however, including blackbirds and robins. We have some small birds who visit, sometimes, but they flit about so quickly, I can't tell what sort they are!

What a cheeky squirrel!

cheshire wife said...

It can be quite amusing watching the wildlife in the garden at the moment. A few days ago I saw a moorhen chasing a squirrel on our lawn. It was quite funny!

Gill - That British Woman said...

I had forgotton that you could put a coconut out.....I hardly see any birds as its so cold over here. I should go out and buy some seeds for the more hardier birds,

Gill in Canada

Winifred said...

T'ts been quite pleasant weather up here, very little frost, some rain but some glorious clear blue skies too. Hard to believe in such a small country we have such a variety of weather across it.

Love your pictures.

I've had cats for years so we haven't encouraged the birds in case they caught them. They're getting on now a bit now so I think the birds are safe. We're seeing a greater variety of birds too so that's great. At one time all we saw were magpies and as they chased the others away.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Lindsay - we don't see many starlings in this garden, they pop in from time to time and a few days ago there was a flock (or whatever it is you call starlings)swooping around at the front of the house. Rarely see sparrows, unfortunately. A

Mean Mom - we don't have cats now but there are 2 next door and we do keep an eye out for them, especially when the young birds are about. A

CW - We do enjoy watching it all. Would have loved to see the moorhen after the squirrel. A

Gill - Poor birds in the cold - I do feel sorry for them - wish I could bring them indoors for a warm! A

Winifred - we get magpies as well and seagulls but they rarely come into the garden as I only put seed out or maybe apples cut up for the blackbirds. The squirrel likes the apple too. A

Always smiling said...

Hello Anne,

Are you sure you're you and not me??? LOL I have just been reading past entries and see you like The Archers too I have been listening since the early sixties and some of the characters now, weren't born when I started. Brian was always the 'baddy' !! And Jill discovered she had an under active thyroid just when I did.. we are making marmalade this week too but not in competition I let my DH make it while I stitch watching him!
We too feed the birds with seeds, nuts, fat balls and apple and our cheeky squirrel eats a lot of it too. This year after Christmas we have mixed seed into the goose fat left over and put it in jars and the starlings have loved it.
We are here in the Midlands and have some waste ground behind us and so we get a wide variety of birds including a regular wren, he is so pretty and his song is amazing. All types of tits, green finches, chaffinches, sparrows, robins, black birds and the wren, will you be doing the bird watch this sunday?
In our allotment only a mile from the city centre we often sit and watch the birds, and are visited by rabbits and muntjak deer, not so welcome as they eat our veg... but everything is surrounded by chicken wire so we have plenty of cabbages!! LOL Last year my DH went mad and we ended up eating it stir fried and in coleslaw!
Happy bird watching, I guess like me you are retired and happy to be so just like me!

PS We are off to Oz February 8th, exciting !!!

Jay said...

I used to love feeding the birds, but then we moved here, and each time I try, we end up with a rat problem. I can't even compost garden waste - I found a rat's nest full of half-grown babies last time I tried!

I thought I'd have another go last winter and strung up a coconut, broken into halves, in two locations. One was immediately stolen, either by a rat or a squirrel. The other was demolished in very short order by mice. The inside of the shell was full of rodent teethmarks.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Chris - we do seem similar in a lot of respects. I will be looking in at your blog again later. I seem to be very busy lately and time runs out! A x

Jay - oh I think I would be put off by rats as well. What a pity. A x

Gill - That British Woman said...

Hi there,

the letter I have assigned you is "B" I hope that is okay for you?

Gill in Canada

Pam said...

I do love to see English robins. The robins over here are as large as blackbirds! Pesky squirrels take most of my seed but we do have lots of lovely wrens, American robins, cardinals and sparrows at the moment. My DH tries to control the squirrels in all kinds of ingenious ways but they just put two fingers up at him, laugh and run off. Drives him mad!

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Gill - thank you, I will definitely be doing that in the next few days (after I have reminded myself at yours what it is I have to do)! A x

Pam - have to say we encourage the squirrels but OH's uncle really dislikes them! They are very entertaining to watch. A x

Maggie May said...

I also have a little robin who follows me around the garden & each time I realize that my camera is on the other side of the house. So I have never been able to snap him. The inevitable happens when I go & get it! He disappears.
He is so tame that I really fear for his safety as there are at least 8 cats who stalk around my garden and 4 of them live next door!