Friday, 16 May 2014

There's still a lot of action in Mum's garden

After the drama of Wednesday, yesterday and today were calm and peaceful. Most of yesterday Mum and I spent hours doing chores and gardening. She had a good day and was in high spirits. Today Mum rested quite a bit after having an uncomfortable night. So after doing the washing up, I was left to my own devices but making sure I stayed in earshot should Mum call out.
There were plenty of birds overhead. Swifts and House Martins were chasing each other, along with several soaring Red Kites. I didn't even bother attempting to photograph the Swifts and Martins though.

The house that Mum lives in used to belong to my paternal Grandparents, so I've known it and the road it's in, all of my life. I can remember as a child walking down the road and seeing on every house on one side, loads and loads of House Martin nests. As the years progressed and old neighbours passed on and were replaced with new ones, so the nests disappeared. Now there are only two nests on one house compared to three, sometimes four nests on every house (which would be about ten houses). So the decline has been from 30-40 nests each year, down to a very sorry two !
 Mum would love to have them nest on her house, but they have always chosen to nest on the row of houses opposite. It is probably due to the direction the fronts of these houses face, but the birds have never shown any interest at the rear of Mums house either, even though it faces in the same direction.
This morning when I'd been walking to Mums I'd seen a couple of House Martins perched and collecting moss from a neighbours roof. A golden photo opportunity as they are rarely still. But sods law, my camera was in Mums conservatory, I had left it there from yesterday as I had no photos to upload. And sods law again, by the time I did get out there with the camera, the birds had stopped gathering moss. I took a few shots of one of the birds at one of the nests, but the nest is in shade and my photos aren't too clear. I'll try again tomorrow at a different time of day.
Back in Mum's garden the male House Sparrows are looking particularly handsome at the moment.....
and the juveniles are looking particularly cute.......

The male Great Spotted Woodpecker has been behaving strangely. The most common view we get of him now, is this........
and then this.....
We've noticed he's started feeding from the back of the peanut feeder, then going to the trunk the feeder is hanging on and staying there for some time, before starting the process all over again.
After he flew off, I had a proper look at the back of the trunk. The hole just off centre is crammed full of peanuts, as are a few other nooks and crannys.
What I also observed from my safe unseen spot in the conservatory was that the Sparrows appear to have been observant too. Several times after the male GSW flew off, one or two Sparrows would disappear behind the same trunk. Are they removing his carefully concealed nuts ???
As the feeder is quite near my vantage point at the bottom of the garden, the GSW and the House Sparrows don't go on the trunk when I'm sitting there, so tomorrow I'm taking my portable bird hide to Mums. Hopefully it wont take long for the birds to get used to it and I should be able to take some nice photos and have a really good look at whats going on.
We're still getting juvenile Starlings coming in to feed and beg to be fed. I know their calling can be loud and incessant, but I love it.
The next door neighbours Robin was on its usual branch, but this time it wasn't singing as it had a beakful of insects. I wonder if they're on their second brood now.
A scruffy little Blue Tit was picking insects off the many shrubs...
So on to our Blackbirds.
 The scruffy looking female was spotted just once by myself, but she was on the roof and didn't attempt to come in the garden.
This new male I found skulking in the bushes.....
It soon became apparent why he was hiding, our very own Mr BB soon flushed him out and chased him all around the garden and into next doors. Mr BB still has a patch of grey feathers on his chest, so he's easily identified, as you can see below.
I noticed today that he is spending a lot of time perched on the neighbours aerial, singing. He's not singing to attract a mate, he already has one, so this must be territorial singing.
And speaking of his mate, here she is, our lovely Mrs BB hunkered down on her nest within the old whicker wall hanger. Every morning Mum goes out there and says 'good morning' to her and apparently Mrs BB winks back.

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