Woodpecker

great spotted woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

I love to see birds in my garden and especially at the feeders, which I can clearly see through my kitchen window, and since I do most of my computing at the kitchen table I do take frequent glances outside.

Over the past years there has always been lots of pigeons monopolizing the feeders and keeping all but the bravest of small birds at bay. But over recent months I have noticed something of a change. There seems to be far fewer pigeons about. Instead of the usual 8 or 10 at a time we seem to be down to only one or two, maybe three, at less frequent intervals. Pigeons are a bit of a nuisance and, yes, I have often said that we have far too many; but I don’t dislike the birds and would not like them to disappear altogether. I can’t help wondering if the steady increase in birds of prey in the area is to blame. I often see buzzards circling around and have also seen peregrine falcons on occasions, which are known to catch pigeons and other birds in flight. I have also come across complete bundles of feathers on the ground which could not possibly have been left by a cat for example. We no longer have a cat, but even when we did there was no way she would tackle a pigeon!

Nuthatch

Nuthatch

On the plus side, the reduction in the pigeon population has allowed far more of our small garden birds to visit the feeders. As well as the usual blue-tits, coal-tits, great-tits, long-tailed-tits, robins, sparrows and various finches that have ventured in when the pigeons are around, we have been visited this year, since the pigeon’s decline, by several nuthatches – the first time that I have ever noticed them in our garden. They are a joy to watch. Blackbirds are also regulars but there seems to be an increase in thrushes as well, and particularly I have noticed redwing thrushes feasting on the Pyracantha berries against the fence this year, having been noticeably absent for a couple of years.

Starlings had been gradually increasing too, a nuisance in some areas and considered pests where I grew up, I hardly ever saw them here until a few years ago and gradually we saw a few more, but never more than half a dozen or so. Now they have now disappeared again and I wonder why.

However there is one bird I have never seen in my garden before, though I know other people outside my immediate area who do have them regularly, and that is a Great Spotted Woodpecker. What a wonderful surprise to see one, a female, fly in to our feeders. Just the one, just the once – so far; at least when I have been looking. Perhaps with this spell of cold weather we have been having she will become a more frequent visitor, then perhaps I may get my own photo instead of sharing the one above which, along with the picture of the Nuthatch, I found on the Internet!

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Perch

First post in place
for the new garden fence.
It doesn’t take the pigeons long
to find a new perch!

Life Cycle

Whenever you go away,
however brief your stay,
on your return you’re sure to find
the houseplants are dry,
the garden’s run wild,
it’s simply amazing
how the washing has piled
and dust has settled everywhere.
You rush around until you are tired
and there is no doubt in your mind
that what you need is a holiday,
but,
you know,
however brief your stay,
on your return you’re sure to find…

Grumble

Watering garden pots again
we all grumble we need rain,
but if and when the rain does come
still we’ll grumble, wanting sun.

Rainbow Hues

Pinks, yellows, reds, greens, blues;
my garden welcomes my return
in rainbow hues.

Silver Birch Trees

Following on from my post a few weeks ago about felling some Silver Birch trees in our front garden I thought perhaps I would give you a little update. Having apologised for failing to take any photos it was pointed out to me that these would have been helpful so I now have a couple for you.

Garden Gap

The first shows the gap in our frontage. You will see that we are on a corner plot, the two roads both clearly visible and amazingly with no traffic on them. The nearest road (in shadow) is the one our driveway leads onto and is relatively traffic free in any case. The other runs along our north-eastern boundary and is one of the main roads in to and out of our small town so can be busy, especially during the morning and evening ‘rush hours’. The photo is looking north towards the centre of town, which is  beyond the houses you can see.

You probably can’t see too well, due to the shadow, that we have already done some replanting with young laurels and holly, as well as staking some of the self-set trees that we are retaining for the time being. These are  Sycamore, which are little more than weeds and not our choice, but at least they are already there and will provide some leaf cover for the time it takes the other planting to establish. The stump from the trunk that was leaning over and pushing the wall is to the left of the gap, against the remaining trees and we are not able to replant that spot just yet.

This second photo looks towards the north-eastern boundary and the houses on the other side of the main road. Once all the trees and hedging are in full leaf we can usually see very little of the houses.

Silver Birches

There are four of our other Silver Birches shown in the photo, all with ivy smothering their trunks. We have made some effort to kill this off but it grows rampantly around here and soon recovers! You will note that the two trees on the right are just coming into leaf, however there are no leaves (apart from the ivy) showing on the two trees to the left. It appears that they are probably already dead and will in fact have to come out rather sooner than we thought. Such a shame.

It saddens me that we have to take these trees down. I do enjoy the privacy they give us from the nearby houses and the feeling of almost living in a woodland that they provide. When we moved here some eleven years ago, downsizing from our small-holding out-of-town, it was the number of trees surrounding the property that was one of the main things attracting us to it. Even though many tree species can out-live us it is a sad fact that trees also have a limited life-span; in the case of Silver Birches very similar to that of humans! When these have to go we will replace them, though it will be many years before they provide the same degree of cover.

Mixed Feelings

Buzz of the chainsaw felling my neighbour’s tree,
covered in ivy and past it’s time,
allowing more light to reach our garden.
Mixed feelings.

Wilderness

A wilderness of summer green
provides a screen between
the house, the tamed garden
and the main road,
traffic heard but not seen.

Green Fingers

I love a tidy garden.
Mine always looks a mess;
I haven’t got green fingers
nor take the time I guess.
Oh, the plants are thriving
but so are all the weeds,
can’t bring myself to pull them up
until they’ve spread their seeds.
Their flowers are so pretty
I leave them all too long
and next year twice as many
will round my garden throng!

Weeds

Spring’s lush growth
has overtaken my garden;
weeds among the flowers.

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