… Woodpigeons and sorry Mr & Mrs Robin, we were here first! We enjoy preening in the morning sunshine on the roof of the pergola and we enjoy a bit of exercise jumping across its rafters. Then there is the great central location with a lookout over the whole garden - especially towards the potting shed where the gardener goes to get seed for the bird tables :-)
So what’s this all about then? The gardener has gone towards the potting shed (I'm on the house roof lookout this time) and she is standing behind one of those video cameras we've seen her with before and is pointing it towards the Robin’s new house! Mmm...
Perhaps I should remind her I’m here. Shh… chaffinches, I’m trying to get us some seed…
Oh dear… well that’s not working! Wait a minute… Mr Robin is using the perch I like to use to stare in the window at the gardener to get her attention. The Blue tits and Great tits have perched there too en route to the camera nestbox on the house wall above. Perhaps we should go and tell them that we’ve got nesting competition!
Yes, Mr & Mrs Robin, as mentioned earlier… we were here first. We made a nest in the more common ivy on the opposite side of the pergola to you in June 2014 and we laid two eggs! Unfortunately we had to leave in a hurry (the gardener thinks Magpies or Jackdaws had something to do with us leaving our eggs just before they were due to hatch).
just visible from the path below. Abandoned eggs disappeared from nest.
Okay, Mr & Mrs Robin, strictly speaking we weren't the first to take advantage of the cover and food provided within this pergola area. Yes, there are other noisy neighbours to this location besides us that you should be aware of.
The gardener here has hidden a feeding station for night garden visitors between two of the ivy clad pergola poles at ground level below your new house. Yep… during the night when you are sleeping, directly below you, passing by on a well travelled route through the garden are hedgehogs.
So, Mr & Mrs Robin, just before dusk (sometimes later) you should also be prepared to hear the quiet footsteps of the gardener walk by below you as she brings food and water to the feeding station known as Hedgehog Manor.
There are two tables here after altercations with diners. It can be a bit noisy when the ceramic plant saucer (used as a water dish) gets pulled out for cleaning and refilling but wait until you hear the huffing and puffing of two hedgehogs!
Both the gardener and a hedgehog got a fright one night as the plastic scoop of food gently bumped into a diner. It was dark this night and a quick photo has revealed the strong roof is sagging with the the likely roots of a bigger plant above so some attention is required here so you should expect the gardener at work below you too.
We weren’t visiting this garden when the gardener experimented with her first hedgehog feeding station of an upturned plastic box with an entrance of 13cm x13cm cut out of it. It worked fine at the time (we've heard) but this garden has got way busier since the introduction of the more spacious hedgehog Manor hidden out of the rain and wind.
So to sum up, Mr & Mrs Robin, our 2014 Woodpigeon nest is still sitting across from your new house and we have visited it already for a spell a few weeks ago. We are currently not in residence but you should expect us back, calling to each other and to see us preening and jumping on the rafters above you - Blackbirds too.
Finally, before you completely settle into your nice new house we should give you the final thumbs up on your potentially noisy evening diners. When they take their huffing and puffing altercations out to the street below you need to be prepared for the night sounds that hedgehogs make…
image not perfect but great capture of behaviour in feeding station.
This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in May 2015.