Sunday, 19 July 2015

Spotting the birds.

This must be the week-end for letting out all the newly-bred pheasant poults because our lane is covered in groups of young pheasant today.  On our way out to lunch (four of us to a local hostelry while the farmer went off on the fortnightly walk) we stopped to see about a dozen wandering aimlessly along the lane - they didn't realise that twenty yards further down the lane a stoat was hiding in the grass and just waiting to pick one off after we had passed.   When he saw us he panicked and turned round three or four times before dashing off into the undergrowth.   But I have no doubt he would be back - easy pickings at this stage sadly.   By the time we returned three hours later (yes, it was a long lunch) there were three or four of them dead on the road and crows were having a bean-feast on their remains.

And, speaking of birds, I really didn't realise until yesterday just how lucky we are to have so many birds in our garden.  A friend who lives in Southend called in for coffee and although he is not a bird enthusiast he was fascinated by the variety here at our bird feeders.   The RSPB now recommend that you don't feed in summer but we have always done so and as we get such pleasure from them we have continued.   We do find they each like a different food:
sunflower hearts: hedge, house and tree sparrows.
                            blue, coal and great tits.
                            greater spotted woodpeckers if there are no peanuts.
peanuts:               greater spotted woodpeckers.
                            all the sparrows as a last resort and ditto tits.
mixed seed          anything will eat this and it does seem to go first.
fat balls:              long-tailed tits and sparrows.
niger seed:           gold finches.
There are some ground-feeding birds who never go on the feeders, but every time a bird roots out a seed at lease a dozen fall to the ground so there is usually enough there to go round.   The farmer also scatters poultry wheat for the pheasants every morning.
The ground-feeders include:  collared doves, stock doves, wood pigeons, jackdaws, magpies (these two are strongly discouraged),
robins (who also adore meal worms which they only get in winter),
yellow hammers, blackbirds and the occasional thrush, chaffinches in abundance and the occasional blackcap.  A wonderful variety I think you will agree.

I am totally satiated with too much lunch (crab and lobster fish cakes with salad - absolutely delicious and light as a feather), braised beef in the chinese style with rice, and mango and coconut pannacotta.   The whole lunch finished off with coffee and home made chocolates.  Nothing more for me today thank-you. 


Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

An epicurean and avian bounty!
:) m & jb

donna baker said...

I still feed the birds in summer also, though they don't come around as much. Wish they would eat those enormous tomato hornworms. I just pulled 5 off of my plants. Two plants are nearly denuded. Oh how I wish to have tasted that pannacotta. It sounds wonderful.

Joanne Noragon said...

I summer feed, too. It's good food and less work. Do you have wrens? Silly little things, they are among my favorites, right up with cheeky little chickadees, who sit inches away as we fill the feeders.

Deb said...

Goodness what a delicious lunch! It sounds like you place is full of bird song all year round.

Cro Magnon said...

Am I the only person who likes Magpies? I see them as European Parrots; very exotic and noisy. My favourite visiting bird is the Hoopoe, but I haven't seen one yet this year.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

You're very lucky to have Tree Sparrows; they're very scarce indeed down here.

Tom Stephenson said...

Ok, I won't make any jokes about spotted woodpeckers... Magpies are generally despised because of their ripping apart long-tailed tit's nests to get at the chicks around here - or any other nests. They are just opportunists.

jinxxxygirl said...

What a wonderful variety you have Pat!! We have started feeding the birds here but honest since we haven't had time to set up the feeders properly yet i've been more or less just feeding the squirrels and deer who also LOVE the birdseed. But i keep a bird bath going too and that brings in the birds as well... In CA i mostly had little birds that to be honest i wasn't sure what they were called... house finches, chickadees, sparrows?And a pair of lovely but greedy ScrubJays..... But here in Arkansas i have some bigger birds.... 2 lovely pairs of Cardinals, a pair of doves, 2 pairs of Bluebirds, various small birds... and one small bird that was such a brilliant blue i had to find out his name and i think he is an Indigo Bunting... gorgeous! Hugs! deb

Anonymous said...

I'm very envious of your tree sparrows. A great variety to have in your garden.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks folks. Still had little to eat after yesterday's bounty - but a meal at tea time today ought to fit the bill.

thelma said...

I'm still encouraging my birds, but the number is going up. I have a soft spot for magpies, they are such cocky birds full of the joys of life, of course they are destructive of others, but they have their place in this world. Summer feed because there are so many young birds to feed, but I presume it makes them more reliant on handouts, not a good thing.