Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Goings on

This is probably the first year I have really watched what goes on in my garden. There is so much activity out there and since writing this Diary I am finding that I have only been slightly aware of it all. I never considered before what the visitors were actually doing as they scurried about on the ground or darted into my hedge. I filled up feeders and experimented with different foods to see what would happen - just as I would experiment with plants.


What happens? If you build it they will come, a title used in a previous post taken from the film Field of Dreams, is actually so very true. Providing different foods attracted different birds which in turn brought others. I didn’t particularly set out to build a garden for wildlife but just by planting small trees and shrubs I began the process of creating areas that would attract it. This could even be created on a balcony with pots.


Blackbird female building nest in ivy, video 0:23 with background music, try 480p quality.



A surprise, shown above, came yesterday morning when I saw a female Blackbird taking nesting material into my Sulphur Heart ivy growing over my pergola. I didn’t think it was thick enough for a nest. I set up the video camera to see if I could see where it took it and saw it took great mouthfuls through into it from the top. So much goes on that we can miss. I no longer just glance out of the window to see how my plants are doing I now look out to see what is going on in my garden.

Expect the unexpected. This is another phrase I could use often to describe activity in my garden. Last weekend we couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw a Jackdaw landing on the small hook that our nest egg hangs from. It had a job keeping its balance as it pulled and pulled at the nesting material in the egg. We were watching from the window but it was too late to catch it on film. It finally went away successfully with a very large piece of material and we were both amused and surprised when we saw exactly where the material went. It flew over our hedge and straight to our neighbour’s chimney – then we saw it stuff this large piece of material into the chimney! I have since seen it again near our nest egg and I have also seen it at the chimney with what looked like a role of A4 white paper.

The video, shown above, was taken in my garden on April 8th 2007.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Shirl,

Like you I wasn't really interested in gardening until recently. I lived in a terrace with just a back yard. But we bought a new house with small gardens back and front. There was just a lawn at the back, which I dug out and replaced with gravel. I now have climbers and shrubs round the edges and alpines in the middle. On the back wall we have a Sulphur Heart like yours. We also have a blackbird which visits daily. The ivy is not fully grown yet, it is about 3 years old. I'm really pleased to hear that birds will nest in it and am looking forward to seeing that. I think your blog is a great way of sharing and is very inspirational.

shirl said...

Hi,

I am delighted to hear that you now have a garden and I hope you get as much pleasure out of it as I do mine. I actually began gardening at the age of ten and it is only in the last nine months I have become as interested in the birds and I am finding their activity fascinating.

I love to watch the blackbirds – I throw sultanas around the ground which they really love. I have found once you get one species others will soon follow – song thrushes are now feeding with the blackbirds and I have many birds that regularly visit.

You have planted shrubs and a climber which give the birds both shelter and food (insects) which is an excellent start to get birds to visit your garden. My Ivy was a good size when I bought it from a ‘search and rescue’ corner of a garden centre. I find it responds well to occasional pruning to make it spread further – you can use take cuttings but the plants take a while to get to the size you will buy in a garden centre. I initially planted clematis with mine to help fill the space and had the bonus of flowers too!

Nestboxes will attract some birds too - the Blue Tits will happily nest in them. If you haven't seen my posts on our Nestbox you might enjoy looking through the whole story - click on the Lable: Camera Nestbox 2007 in thr RH column. It could get exciting this weekend as we may see the eggs hatch!!

Your alpines will also help in getting birds to visit your garden too as when they flower they will attract insects which attract the birds. I began gardening building Rockeries and planted alpines in the crevices between the stones.

I have a tiny pond that the birds will drink from but much more popular is the large plastic plant pot saucer filled water. It has a few pebbles and small rocks to one side – this is a great favourite with the blackbirds as they love to bath in it! It is great to watch.

Thanks for your very kind comment. I never tire of talking about gardens and it is lovely to think I can perhaps pass on some of my enthusiasm at the same time.

I wish you well with your first garden and thank-you for sharing it with me.