Monday, January 30, 2017

Big Garden Birdwatch 2017

It's been quiet this year, over the Winter and in the run up to the weekend's Big Garden Birdwatch. Not seeing many of the regular species that used to turn up at the feeders - particularly chaffinch, greenfinch and goldfinch.

Perhaps because we've had milder winters or they're put off by the neighbour cats visiting the garden far too frequently or more worrying because of their decline in species numbers. I rarely see a greenfinch these days and goldfinches are certainly less frequent visitors. I used to see them almost daily.

On a positive note, perhaps more people are feeding their garden birds so they have more choice.

Feeder contains fat balls, fatty nibbles, sunflower hearts (saves the mess), dried mealworms and a bird table mix.

Species count:

House sparrow 8
Starling 3
Blackbird 1
Blue Tit 2
Robin 1
Dunnock 1
Magpie 1
Goldcrest 1

Total species 8

Won't count the wood pigeon feathers I found the following day. Yet another cat attack. No corpse found this time, so it may have got away with a few feathers missing.

Good to see the house sparrow family turning up. They're the most consistent these days along with visiting blue tits - usually 2-3 and the starlings demolish the fat balls pretty quickly.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Winter blackcap

A regular winter visitor but the first one I've seen in the garden this year, despite the frequent cold snaps. I daresay this one won't hang around until the #BigGardenBirdwatch this weekend.

This is the first time I've seen one on the fat balls - one will usually visit the seed feeders and sometimes stay around for a few days, especially if it's very cold. It didn't stay long on this occasion having been chased off by the robin.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Special Branch

First task of the year and out with Special Branch up at Stanmer Organics. Great turnout all round with nine of us turning up, despite the cold and recent snow, although not too much left on the ground.

Raised beds - Special Branch, Stanmer
Rebuilding two raised beds, further along from where we were working previously.

With nine of us we made quick work of it but only two people able to work on replacing the stakes holding up the boards.

Rebuilding the raised beds.
Took a timely break in the polytunnel for lunch when it started raining.

As there were enough of us, we also set about trimming the overgrown willows either side of the polytunnel, adding the trimmings to the dry brush hedge along the edge of the wood.

So three tasks completed, rather than just the planned one ... and we finished early.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

January walk along the South Downs

Lovely walk on the South Downs from the Jack and Jill windmills along to Ditchling Beacon and a loop return via the Chattri monument.

Early rain showers cleared and it was warmer than the past few days with lovely views to Brighton and the coast.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

... and a partridge in a pear tree

A covey of 18 red-legged partridge turned up this afternoon. Emerging one by one from the hedge to feed below the feeders for several minutes and then disappearing back the way they came.

No doubt escaping from the nearby shoot and not yet destined to end up on the Christmas table.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

SWT Christmas Task

Sussex Wildlife Trust volunteers clearing scrub on Malling Down, Lewes.

A good Christmas turnout on a misty Sunday morning. Not too cold or windy.

Clearing a few small clumps of hawthorn, dogwood saplings and the ash tree felled last time, got the bonfire going. Sausage rolls and mince pies around the fire for lunch.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

New garden visitor!


I occasionally see or hear one of these flying across the local park but one has never visited my garden feeders until today!

Definitely prefers the fat balls or the fatty nibbles and has now been seen on at least three days. It may of course have been sneaking in when I wasn't looking.

I daresay it won't put in an appearance for BTO Big Garden Birdwatch!