I hadn't intended spending time in my hide at Marks Mansion today. The weather forecast said it was going to rain. However after a few hours at the hospital this morning and a lunch out, Mum wanted to do some 'horizontal' resting, so I decided to sit in my hide until the rain came. Except it never did and I ended up sitting in the hide until it was time to go back up the hospital for Mums radiotherapy.
Ben, one of the male Great Spotted Woodpeckers, kept me entertained. He really is a creature of habit. Always flies in from the same direction, always perches on the pergola first, always removes one nut at a time from the feeder, and always rams it into the same nook in the trunk.
What he doesn't know is I'm not the only one observing him. A few of the older juvenile House Sparrows are watching him too, and as soon as Ben flies off, they fly in.
So Ben is not only feeding himself (and possibly his own young - I have seen him take bits of nut away too), but he's also feeding the resident House Sparrows. Well done Ben.
His partner, Jen, is not so obliging. I am now 100% certain they are partners. Several times today they were in the garden at the same time. She is incredibly skittish, not like Ben who even comes down to the feeder when we're at the top of the garden. The photo of Ben above was taken from my hide just 7 feet away from him.
Jen is also a creature of habit but its taken me until today to exactly discover her habits. She always flies into the garden from the same direction, she always lands on the pergola and then, or so I thought, she always flies off. But she doesn't ! Where my hide had been positioned, the view of the feeders outside the conservatory had been obscured. But that's where Jen has been feeding. So in the end I moved my hide so I could see her more clearly.
She is so close to the conservatory, and so nervous, that we have never seen her feed on the nuts there from the conservatory itself. Mum says she has often walked into the conservatory and accidently scared her off. Funny thing is only yesterday I'd emptied the nuts from that feeder into Ben's feeder as I didn't think it was being used. Now we've topped up Jen's feeder too. She also has her own 'tree' where she is storing her nuts, though its well concealed by plants so I don't know if I'll manage to get any photos later. There's a well established Lilac to the right of the photo above, and I watched Jen several times this afternoon stashing her nuts very low down on the trunk of the shrub.
Other news from the gardens at Marks Mansion. Mr and Mrs BB are being lovingly attentive to their new brood of chicks. Mum and I risked one quick glance into the nest this afternoon, still four tiny chicks and one unhatched egg.
I could see from my hide a lot of birds flying towards the stream, but there's no vantage point from that angle. Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, House Sparrows, Starlings, Dunnock, Robin, Mr BB and Mrs BB were all seen to drop down. Maybe next week whilst Mum's back in hospital, I'll move the hide back to where I can get a good view of the stream.