It’s that time of year again and although we’ve already covered the letter G we thought’d we’d reprise it. Last year we must have been visited by a sparrow hawk or all the birds in the neighbourhood had taken umbrage with us because we didn’t see a solitary bird for the entire weekend which was rather disappointing, not least because it turns out that the local WI has a serious game of bird table one-upwomanship going on – as in, “I have a pied wagtail who comes to my garden regularly.”
“My robin takes crumbs from my hands.”
“Robins are so common don’t you think? There’s a wren that visits me every day.”
“Oh, how fascinating. I don’t suppose you’ve seen a waxwing. There’s a pair in my garden. I think they’re quite rare. I expect our environment is just right.It pays to look after your garden don’t you think?” It turned out that the woman the waxwing enthusiast was speaking to was her next door neighbour and come to think of it I’m not entirely sure that waxwings actually visit this neck of the woods.
Now whilst it was tempting to announce that I have a chorus line of fieldfares who cancan their way up the garden path and half a dozen firecrests performing acrobatic stunts for peanuts I couldn’t even claim a visit from Clarence our neighbourhood pheasant last year as we had been the birdy equivalent of Billy No-mates on the key weekend.
This year I had my coffee, notepad and pen at the ready having spent most of the 2016 providing assorted birdseed, sunflower hearts and remembering to melt the ice in the bird bath every time it freezes. All I could hope was that my tweet rating had gone up and that the sparrow hawk would keep his distance.
I am pleased to announce that my bird table was well attended by goldfinches, bluetits, sparrows, dunnocks, a great tit, two nuthatches, a robin, four blackbirds, a startled looking fieldfare (of the non cancanning variety) and a chaffinch. The jackdaws even turned up to demonstrate their helicoptering skills on the peanuts and their emptying technique on the mixed seed feeder which is to swing on it like teenagers in the park until all the seed has been decanted onto the ground. A collared dove flew into the window when it tried to taxi in to land but was unharmed (it does it on a weekly basis leaving me wondering where it got it’s pilot’s licence from). There was even a coal tit bouncing around like a pingpong ball with a mohican. What more could a girl wish for?
Having sent off the online survey honestly and accurately, I’m now wondering if I should adopt the prevailing post-truth approach to information with the ladies of the WI in order to improve my standing as a domestic goddess in our local community. Apparently in these rural parts having a reputation for being on the same wavelength as St Francis of Assisi is inherently helpful if one can’t create a spongecake of appropriate lightness. Do you think they’d believe me if I informed them that my garden is now home to a colony of dodos? Perhaps a party of penguins? An ascension of skylarks? An asylum of cuckoos? A flock of albatross or even a scattering of herons? A parliament of owls carrying letters and scrolls? I thought not –
In the meantime the RSPB’s Great British Birdwatch is running all this weekend – why not download a pack and start watching. Double click on the image to open the RSPB page in a new window….happy birdwatching