Thursday, 28 May 2015

Heating vent perch for smart Magpie

A tripod with a video camera on a stair landing, while packing for a family holiday earlier this month was a bit in the way, it has to be said. Capturing video footage was a distraction to the job in hand too, but the amusing view out of the stair window kept catching my attention.

The rain was heavy (much heavier than the video below has shown) and a soaking wet, young Magpie was clearly showing why this corvid species are regarded as highly intelligent birds. It found my neighbour's warm, central heating vent tucked under the overhanging house eaves and sheltered out of the rain!

This young Magpie was perched here for some time, only moving when my movement past the window going up/down the stairs caught its attention. It would always return though. So who was actually watching who then? The Magpie won that... I had a packing to do after all and gardenwatching wasn't on my long to-do list with too little time to do it in ;-)

2x clips, 57 secs, no background music, note the closing eyelids of this bird.

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in May 2015.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Song Thrush and black berry surprise

Ivy flowers on the garden pergola have been discussed in a previous blog post back in November 2011. Black ivy berries to follow have been suggested in other blog comments as food for the Woodpigeon too, further suggesting the promise of Bed and Breakfast for a pair of Woodpigeons that nested there last year.

As for the black ivy berries, nope I’ve never noticed them. Well, not until Day 1 of BBC Springwatch (Monday of this week). So, it was a sunny Bank Holiday Monday and the garden awaited weeding but at the same time there was ironing in the basket and a washing in the machine waiting to go outside, but... the Robin nest video footage had me glued to the PC monitor!

Walking away was hard, nesting activity is addictive viewing you know, but domestic duties called as did some time outside in the garden and in the sun. Expect the unexpected and all that, but as the washing machine door was opened, movement outside caught my eye that I really wasn’t expecting...

Song Thrush video, 50 sec with background music, try HD quality.

On top of my ivy clad pergola, a Song Thrush was moving about. That, in itself was a nice sighting as they are shy visitors. A quick dash for the video camera ensued and then on zooming in… yep you’ve guessed right… it was eating black berries on my ivy! In May... really?

“In autumn, ivy flowers attract insects, which in turn provide food for robins and wrens. When the black berries appear in the middle of winter, they're devoured by everything from thrushes, waxwings, starlings and jays, to finches and blackbirds.”
Top 10 plants for birds by Gardener’s

“Calorie-rich ivy berries are loved by birds, including the song thrush, mistle thrush, redwing, blackbird and blackcap. Although the berries appear in November, birds don’t tend to eat them until around now – shorter-lived berries such as rowan and hawthorn are eaten first, leaving the longer-lasting ivy berries until last. According to the RSPB, ivy berries contain nearly as many calories as Mars bars, gram for gram.”
English ivy: berry good for birds by Kate Bradbury, February 19th 2015

Video grab of Song Thrush eating black ivy berries, May 25th 2015.

So, all these years as I’ve watched and watched with great anticipation for my Wisteria to flower towards the end of May, over on the other side of the pergola, there has been something going on that I never knew about until now. My ivy has been feeding the birds! Seeing is certainly believing :-)

Wisteria flower buds (flower opening almost there) May 26th, 2015.

Wow... this week has seen two firsts for my garden (the other being our Robin nest having chicks being fed). It's almost midnight and Mr/Mrs Hedgehog has just popped by... so its time to say good night from us both :-)

Hedgehog in feeding station, May 26th, 2015.

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in May 2015.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Phew... all is well at Robin nest

After last night’s worry, mentioned in this morning’s post, a variety of wriggly food continued to be delivered into the Robin nest this morning… by both parents! Phew… Mum isn’t missing after all.

Apologies are in order too, Mr & Mrs Robin, I can see now that you do keep a clean house by removing the fecal sacs from your chicks! Oh my… your chicks must be getting a good size by the size of the poop parcel below... keep that wriggly food coming!

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in May 2015.