Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Garden updates

I try not to mix up my posts on the plants, bird and wildlife in my garden too much but there is so much going on at the moment. Everyone is the same at this time of year I am quite sure. It is a busy time in the garden. My Nestbox videos of yesterday have now been processed and if you scroll below you see them but first to a very special plant in the garden…

Photos of wisteria in the stages before flowering are regularly searched for on the internet. This is such a wonderful plant to have flower in your garden. This will be my third year of flowers and I am thrilled. I hope the photo above helps if you are looking for flowers on yours.

You can see that the flower racemes are getting longer and the leaves are beginning to open behind them. We have had a warm spell recently and today it is raining, much needed for the garden plants now, so I would guess this will help them grow a bit further before they open their tiny flowers along the racemes.

Close-up photos are great for details of plants and I regularly use montages to show this. However, yesterday I posted photos of my garden as well as my Nestbox update. There you will see the plants that are surrounding my wisteria too.




Photos of hedgehogs are also being searched for at the moment and our juvenile has been back searching for food once again. The photo above is from a video capture which I will post one day soon. There is an interesting story to go with this one!

If you have a hedgehog visiting your garden remember to leave water out for them as well as food. I have found they like peanuts and sultanas in my garden.




Juvenile birds are now regularly visiting my garden. I have seen a woodpigeon, greenfinch and siskin. I am also seeing rows of queuing house sparrows and starlings on branches of trees. They are very noisily waiting to be fed by their parents. However, the starling juveniles don’t really care who feeds them and have been seen sitting next to the juvenile house sparrows opening their beaks looking for them to feed them!! The house sparrows have just shuffled along the branches but the starlings are seriously persistent birds! I really must try and get some video of this.




The blue tit chicks in my camera Nestbox and the plight of the female to single handily feed them is definitely the hottest news in my garden at the moment – despite the noise that the starlings are making as I write this. As it is overcast and raining today the image from my camera Nestbox is showing in black and white so it is difficult to make out the tiny chicks. I can see that one egg is certainly still there. I will update this post with numbers at the end of the day.

I am delighted to finally show some Nestbox video from yesterday and the night before. I’ll start with two short ones first. You can see how the chicks wriggle for space in the nest with their flopsy little bodies trying with all their might to lift their heads.

Blue tit chicks wriggling at 2 days, video 0:13 with background music, try 480p quality.



The next video shows the female demolishing the egg shell of a hatched chick. She eats this as it gives her calcium – I don’t know how she knows this. I didn’t speed up this clip at all – she clearly had no time to waste!

Blue tit Mum eats egg shell, video 0:23 with background music, try 480p quality.


Can I help her? Well, as I have been writing this the postman has come with a very special delivery of live mini mealworms. I don’t relish opening the box! It was a Bank Holiday yesterday so my 'next day' delivery is later than I hoped.

My plan now is to try and leave a few scattered mealworms in corners and edges on the ground and some also near my ivy without the starlings catching sight of them! An impossible task perhaps but I have to try. Before I do that I am going out for more supplies of sunflower hearts which the starlings will eat greedily but perhaps it will stop them finding the mealworms. The blue tits and other birds are looking the sunflower hearts too. Ah… but maybe the rain today will make the insects move about and the blue tit will find them more easily. I hope so.

Finally, on the positive side the female is still finding food at the moment and I do believe the chicks are growing a little. When the last eggs hatch she will be out and about more. I wonder if we will see last night's blue tit, seen drinking at my pond, again today. Ah... what a journey our garden can take us if we look more closely.


All photos and video above were taken in my garden during May 2008.

14 comments:

Mo said...

I'm considering buying some starling-proof feeders with bars in front of them as our starlings are also demolishing everything in sight at the moment.

I hope you find some way to get extra food to your hard worked mum.

Zoë said...

My wisteria is still adamantly refusing to flower, I have told it if it refuses next year its destined for the compost bins.

Its so hard to know what to do with the birds, I feed all year, especially using sunflower hearts, as the sight of all the overworked tatty birds trying to raise their broods in the horrid wet conditions we have had the past few years in May, seems to add to their burden.

Thankfully we havent got many Starlings, and I seldom see them in the garden. Sparrowhawks and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers are a threat though.

You images have sorely tempted me to buy a camera for my bird boxes for next year.

Best Wishes,

Zoë

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The hedgehog is so cute. The drama with the Tits continues...

Jane Marie said...

I love, love, love watching the nest box videos. Fascinating.

shirl said...

Hi again Mo, Zoe and Lisa :-)

Mo – Argh… not all these feeders work! I have the RSPB Fatcake Guardian which does work for so long until one smart slimmer starling makes its way in and then the rest just follow. They demolished a whole fatcake in a day – food that the blue tits, great, and coal tits took. I was considering a ground cage so the finches could get food but the blue tits won’t go there for food. I have tried hiding feeders under tree branches and in ivy – unsuccessfully! I have one other ‘homemade’ plan but I don’t know if this will work. Please do let me know how you get on. I know they are endangered but when you get great flocks of them it really isn’t fun for all the gardens in the area :-(

Zoe – you know what, I thought that three years ago! However, I love the way the leaves are so I decided if it didn’t flower then I would be brutal with my pruning for a nice shape. The next year I had my first flowers! Yes, until two years ago I only fed the birds over winter months. I had no idea they needed help at this time of year. I’d love to see the woodpeckers but we have no large trees. Yes, it was seeing images on another site and following the diary that tempted me to get a camera for a Nestbox. Thanks for your good wishes :-D

Lisa – It is but the drama of the Nestbox isn’t always like this when you read other diaries. Nature and wildlife is really just one long drama though I suppose :-D

garden girl said...

This is so fascinating Shirl! Single-parenthood isn't easy, and apparently that goes for some wildlife as well as us humans. Kudos for doing your best to help that single mom.

Nancy J. Bond said...

What a cozy little home you've provided for these dear little creatures. As I've said before, it is fascinating to be able to watch this miracle unfold through your camera lens. :)

easygardener said...

I think our first instinct is always to want to help when things go wrong. Unfortunately the bird doesn't see it in the same light.
Still, we wouldn't be human if we didn't try at least once.

artistsgarden said...

Shirl - another lovely post. I love wisteria. I quite like it when your plants and your wildlife are all in the same post.
Regards
Karen

Anonymous said...

It really is great to watch the process of life happening right before us. Thank you. I loved the wisteris shot. I had a wisteria that I said grew a foot a week. It's almost like Kudzu.
Anna--Flowergardengirl
Blogless at the moment but working on it.

Miranda Bell said...

Beautiful garden shirl and great to see the progress of the blue tits - I've been glued to Spring Watch - seeing all the things going on in that too...

Can't remember if I posted a note on one of your postings about the water vole I was lucky enough to spot - take a look - it was v. exciting! Miranda

Anonymous said...

1. it is illegal to interfere with a wild birds' nest

2. the pellets could have gone into a chicks beak, choking it to death

3. chicks are not meant to be eating pellets, they are supposed to be getting insects and bugs, which are full of protein, not carbohydrate or fat based foods

4. the mother could have seen you as an intruder that could not only breach the nest and eat the chicks, but threaten her own life also, causing her to abandon it in fear for her own safety, thereby causing all chicks to starve and die

Other nestboxes have lost a parent on the way and still raised a successful brood.

shirl said...

Thank-you anonymous for your comment. I appreciate you have taken the time to do this.

I understand completely that it was not a wise move to attempt to put food in the Nestbox. I recognise all your points.

I should say that the very small fat sprinkles that I used were actually recommended to me by the RSPB as a suitable food for young chicks. I must stress that they did not suggest I put it in my Nestbox. I had not planned to do that then.

You have reiterated my message on my post that this was not a wise thing to do. I could have chosen not to mention it at all on my post but decided I should show it as an example of what not to do.

Regards, Shirl

shirl said...

Hi again garden girl, Nancy, Easygardener, Karen, Anna and Miranda :-D

garden girl – It is! Yes, I expect you are right there. Thank-you, I have tried even though some of my decisions haven’t been the right ones! The Nestbox is so close to where I sit here. If I look up from this screen I am looking through the wall to her nest and chicks – if I could see through walls that is! She really is that close so it is very hard not to get involved! Have a great weekend :-D

Nancy – Well yes, we provided the home but it is all the work of the female that made it so cosy. Yes, I agree it is absolutely fascinating to watch what happens with a nesting bird. Although we may have another drama yet– the camera may just be playing up! We have interference on the screen now –Argh!!! Have a great weekend :-D

Easygardener – Yes, I hear what you are saying. However, as I said above, the Nestbox is so close to where I sit that is hard not to want to help. Have a great weekend :-D

Karen – Thanks and thanks for the feedback on this post too. It is a tricky balance sometimes. I never like to make my posts too long but I can find it is hard to leave bits out! Have a great weekend :-D

Anna – It is and I am glad you have enjoyed it. Gosh, I have never known a wisteria to grow that fast! Hope you get your blog sorted soon. Have a great weekend :-D

Miranda – Thank-you. Yes, I think we are making progress the chicks do appear to be getting a little bigger but they will need a great deal of food yet to survive. Yes, Springwatch has been very interesting with all the nesting birds there. The scenes from Scotland have shown we can get nice weather here too. I think you did mention the water vole and I will pop by soon to see it. I have never seen one before but I can imagine your excitement! Have a great weekend :-D