Friday mornings calm contemplation of my breakfast was rudely interupted by F getting all excited about a woodpecker on the bird feeder. By the time she had worked out how to use the camera on her new work phone (first thing to hand) the woodpecker had become aware of the attention and did a flit.
It took a few days to get the birdies to trust the birdfeeder and so far it has been only sparrows and blue tits that will use it. In fact we have 10 bird feeders with a range of contents: a couple of seed feeders, a tray of fat pellets for robins, and a small do-dacky of meal worms (it's a fine mash tray with a little roof over it that only small birds could fit into. The magpies steal the mealworms and they have voracious appetites). There is a nigella seed feeder (not yet deployed), a tray of peanuts in a squirrel proof cage, and 4 suet ball feeders.
Chaffinch. We just saw a chaffinch. Some days starlings and black birds come for the fatballs but we haven't seen any today. Yet.
Before we left for Greece we built up 10 years of experience at keeping squirrels and wood pigeons off the feeders. We know they need to eat too but the pigeons are so very wasteful, throwing most of the seed on the ground. The squirrels have a good supply of acorns and chestnuts locally they don't need our seed and in any event they are grey squirrels and at the risk of being squirrel racist, we have to remark that they don't belong here, have out competed the natives, carry squirrel pox, and do lots of damage to the bird nesting boxes that we put up. F has even invested in metal doorframes for bird boxes (which we will deploy this year when we build new birdboxes) to stop the squirrels chewing the entrances larger and stealing eggs. If the squirrels persist we might adopt a pine marten (we have a pine tree), as we understand they predate grey squirrels rather effectively.
I could get lessons (from the pine marten I mean) on how to catch a squirrel. It has been one of my life ambitions. Imagine calling a pine marten 'O Sensei'.
Crows are still the bane of my life. My humans feed crows and magpies too - just not on meal worms. We had been told that a garden with crows won't have small birds, but it has never been the case here, and the crows (despite my distaste for them) are my allies against squirrels and great big seagulls (which I like even less than crows,....my enemy's enemy and all that).
I have lots to tell you about my supervision duties but they can wait for later posts. We still aren't completely sorted out and there will be more work to supervise.
The starlings have arrived, the sun has made a rare breakthrough, I'm off out to inspect the garden.Work i-fone on the left, personal Sam-android on the right. Possibly not an entirely fair comparison as taken on different days, different light, but that still doesn't account for all the difference.
|Greater spotted woodpecker (still only blackbird sized)|