Sunday 14 October 2012

Still here 14 October 2012

Some years ago our then new neighbours cut down a lovely mature ash tree that grew in their garden next to our house. Residents in Kingham like cutting down trees to make way for extensions or conservatories that add value to their property. 'You must be really pleased we have removed that dreadful tree' they enthused in their naivete. Well no, actually. This tree for years had attracted all manner of bird species and Nuthatches always bred in it every year bringing their young to the feeders in our garden. With the loss of the tree they disappeared along with the Spotted Flycatchers, assorted tits and finches that used the tree for shelter and as a food resource. I was therefore delighted to see a single Nuthatch hanging upside down on our peanut feeders the other day. It is now a regular visitor. So welcome back and long may you remain.

House Sparrows have declined by over 70% and are extinct as far as I know in London and other large cities. Here in our garden at Kingham we still have a regular flock of around 20-30 birds that visit in a garrulous group to feed on the peanuts, often monopolising the feeders, fighting off the tits and moving in and around the overgrown hedges surrounding our garden, always as a group. They chatter away incessantly in the high holly hedge that runs alongside our drive when I leave for work in the morning and are there when I get back in the early evening. The holly hedge seems to be their headquarters, providing refuge from the daily marauding Sparrowhawk, a place to loaf and preen and a secure roosting site. 

The Great Spotted Woodpeckers are still regular visitors to our feeders, flying first into the huge Acacia tree before flying down to the feeder. We have both female and male visiting but never at the same time.They are very intolerant of the smaller birds and if one of the tits or sparrows gets too close it is seen off with a vicious jab of it's beak. Sometimes the woodpecker will just cling on the feeder apparently resting, quite content, and can be there for up to twenty minutes just doing nothing before flying back into the Acacia tree. The minute it has gone the tits immediately return and recommence feeding

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