Hi this is Simon from the Wild Bunch with our latest column.
With summer at its height, birds in our garden became quiet and less frequent visitors to the bird feeders. I stopped feeding, thinking that natural grain and insects were abundant enough. As bird numbers declined, I thought, “good, they shouldn’t become too reliant on supplementary feeding”. Karie, however, bemoaned a garden empty of birds, insisting she could hear one fledgling dunnock on the terrace “screaming” its hunger. She checked out the RSPB website. “We are in drought” they urged, “there is not enough food available. FEED THE BIRDS!” Under such emotional pressure, I returned to my feeding regime and, a month later, we are back up to ornithological strength.
Predictably, yesterday, the sparrow hawk was back too. P.C. Crow, however, who doesn’t tolerate predators on his territory, intercepted the hawk, leaving the small birds safe to feed and splash about in the waterfall (an overturned watering can).
Occasionally we see a buzzard soaring over Keyford and, in early August, while walking the dogs in Tytherington, just two miles away, Karie and I counted twenty-three buzzards and red kites circling over a field as it was cut for hay.
A charm of goldfinches, including at least five chicks, arrived this week and explored our overgrown wild garden, flowers mostly gone and seed in full production. Despite many teasels – and the classic image we all know so well – they were ignored by the finches, which could mean food is not yet scarce or the seed not quite ready?
New plant arrivals this year include the mist-like hedge bedstraw and a magnificent purple loosestrife whose extending floral columns have reached an impressive two feet (60cms). Our first-ever golden rod has arrived to round off the summer.
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Photo: Visitor of the month – a grey dagger moth lava on the 10-year-old family oak. By Karie Hicks