Garden Progress, Wildlife Insights

MIA Catch Up 1 – Birds and Bugs

It’s been 7 weeks since I last posted here and looking back at my last couple of posts, soooo many things have changed. Nature (and Roger!) works fast.

In that time we’ve been incredibly privileged to have a pair of very busy blue tits successfully raise their babies in our next box.

Blue Tit emerging
Blue Tit emerging, taken with my iPhone through the eye piece of a spotting scope

On my quest to find out about how we could make our new garden wildlife friendly, I joined the RSPB in January. I’d forgotten the gift for joining was a bird box, and was very happily surprised when it arrived in February.

Lovely surprise from the RSPB
Lovely surprise from the RSPB

The beautifully made box sat in the conservatory for a couple of weeks, as we couldn’t decide where the best place was for it. Then I read somewhere that it was time to put up bird boxes as prospective residents would be scouting around for a good home, so it went up in the easiest place to put it, next to the bathroom window.

 

It was then forgotten about as we carried on with our garden and house plans.

Just before the scaffolding went up, Roger mentioned that he thought he’s seen a bird go into the box. I spent ages on the raised patio staring at the box, but I saw nothing. We thought if there were any birds looking at the box they would be scared off by the men that would be working from the scaffolding.

 

Some windows were replaced, all the fascias were replaced, then the roofer started on the chimney and roof repairs. “Did you know you have Blue Tits nesting in your box?”

We saw those busy parents constantly in and out the box from then on, sometimes taking a brief rest on the scaffolding. More men came to take the scaffolding down, the Blue Tits just carried on parenting.

I spent hours just starring in wonder. Roger bought me a spotting scope so I could get a close up view, as the parents got more and more bedraggled and the babies got noisier and noisier.

Watching the Blue Tits
Watching the Blue Tits

It wasn’t long before we saw lots of little faces keep appearing at the hole. They were getting ready to fledge. One morning, looking at the box, I had a feeling today was the day. On my return from work they were gone. No dead baby birds under the box or in the garden. My heart went to them, wishing them all the best for their futures.

***

So, back to the beginning of June…the upper tier of the back garden had a new retaining wall and had been de-turfed and seeded with a wildflower meadow (written about in the previous post). What to do now?

On of our favourites local places to go on our motorbikes is Carsington Water, a beautiful peaceful place. It has a small RSPB shop which we always visit before having a cup of coffee looking over the reservoir. We loved this magnificent bug hotel they had for sale.

Huge Bug Hotel at RSPB shop
Huge Bug Hotel at RSPB shop

Luckily it wouldn’t fit on the back of a motorbike, so Roger got thinking and turned a few packing crates into a beautiful one of our own.

As you can see, not all the floors are ready for inhabitation! We need to go on a walk to find pine cones and other interesting bits and pieces before winter.

But, now Roger had an urge to build more houses! I’d been trying to get his son to build me a bird table since we moved in, he’d now lost his chance. When I next came home from work, there was a bird table. Not just any old bird table, a delightfully crafted one.

I’m very happy, the birds are very happy.

***

We have a friend, actually we have two! A pair of robins. They appeared whilst the Blue Tits were mid parenting, so they either didn’t have a nest or lost theirs. They are incredibly inquisitive. We’ve done more work on the garden (or rather, Roger has) which I’ve still to write about, and they’ve been there every step of the way, keeping all of us company as soon as any of us stepped into the garden.

One was very brave and followed Roger into the conservatory! He did panic and needed a gentle coaxing out.

Over Friendly Robin
Over Friendly Robin

That’s the bird and bug news, wild flower meadow news still to come!

Wildlife Insights

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Scrolling through Instagram Friday morning I came across a post mentioning the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch – this weekend! I was instantly interested and got online to find out more as the past few days, we’ve really noticed the birds singing and chirruping and getting, well….very noisy! I’ve popped outside to try and spot them but haven’t seen anything. So, an hour in the garden with the sole purpose of birdwatching felt like a very good thing to do.

birdfeederFriday, I hung up a seed and insect suet roll bird feeder (I’d bought recently) at the end of the garden, where there’s a large open field over the fence. Within minutes two cheeky jackdaws were trying to land on it, to no avail as they were too big. I spent the day working from the conservatory where I could see the feeder, but sadly there were no further visitors.

Saturday, I downloaded the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which included a calendar with some great tips to get my wildlife garden going throughout the year. I also saw the site has some fabulous features with lots of inspiration. I decided it was certainly worth joining the organisation and signed up.

 

binocularsSunday, 9am, armed with a cup of coffee and a beautiful old pair of binoculars (given to me by my dad many years ago) I made my way up to the seating area, next to the apple tree. I could hear plenty of birds singing away but still couldn’t see any.

Over the next very peaceful and pleasurable hour, I saw many birds flying overhead although I couldn’t make out what they were. Through the binoculars I saw 2 blackbirds and a collared dove in a big tree over in the field.

There were plenty of jackdaws flying in and out of the same tree as well as settling on the surrounding rooftops. I used to have lots of magpies in the garden at my previous house, it seems jackdaws will be my new boisterous friends!

When I turned round, still looking through the binoculars, I saw a thrush and a goldfinch in a tree several gardens down. That made me smile.

I’m hoping as I work on my garden with all my plans to attract more wildlife, that I’ll see many more birds whilst taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch in 2019.

thrush in tree
The tree a few gardens along
view from my chair
The big tree in the field