More New Feeders!

With the arrival of the Sparrowhawk (which I haven’t seen again since the last time I posted :( ), and the ever-present cat from next door, I decided it was time to provide a bit more protection for the little ones!

So, I’ve bought a guard for the ground feeder.  So far, only the Robin and 3 Blackcaps (2 males & 1 female, happy days :) ) have ventured into it.

Another reason for the purchase was to keep the Pigeons & Starlings from eating everything! Although, one Pigeon has discovered that his neck will fit through the holes to reach the food!

It is quite funny watching the Starlings trying to work out how they can get to the food inside – we’re thinking of attaching string or something to the lid to see how long it takes them to figure out if they pull the string, the lid will open & they’ll be able to get inside :)

I’ve also bought a large fat ball feeder, which is currently hanging up on the corner of the bungalow…..

…..some sunflower hearts, and a window feeder which I’ve stuck on the patio door.

Nothing has come onto the window feeder at all, but I put it there on the off chance that a member of the Tit family may pass by & spot it!  I am debating whether to move it to the front window (my office window) as there are a couple of Blue Tits that flit through the hedge at the front on a daily basis.  Only thing is I work from home & I might not get any work done at all if it’s on my window ;-)

I’m currently completing the Birdwatch Ireland Garden Bird survey, which runs for 13 weeks – I do it every year, and I must say so far this time it has been the worst ever!!  I’m in the 4th week, and have only had a grand total of 15 different species in the garden! I can’t even include the Sparrowhawk as I’ve not seen it since starting the survey :(

I never thought I’d say it, but please hurry up & snow -I want to see Redwings, Fieldfares and Long Tailed Tits in my garden!

I need another 7 species in the garden to beat last years total….. and only 10 days to do it in!

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Bird of Prey = Yay!

Over the past week or so I kept catching glimpses of the tail end of a bird as it left the garden – I wasn’t quite sure what it was, although it did look kind of bird of preyish (or maybe I was hoping!).

Anyway, I’m pleased to announce we’ve now had a definite sighting of a Sparrowhawk sitting in our garden – yay :D   To be honest I’ve never seen one up close before & thought they were a bit bigger than the one we have.  Its visited us twice now in the last 4 days, each time taking me by surprise which is why there are no photos!

I’ve now made it my mission to get a shot (with the camera ;) ) of this gorgeous bird – of course, the Sparrows aren’t happy but I’d much rather a Sprawk get them than next door’s cat :( !

Watch this space…..

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Jinx!

It appears I may have jinxed my feeders!  After posting for the first time in ages, with the promise of more regular posts, the garden birds have had other ideas!  My feeders have been quite noticeably empty of late, which is good as I’m assuming it means there’s more natural food around for them.  But it means I have nothing to photograph or write about :(

However, that said, I did catch a glimpse of a male Blackcap in the hedge yesterday, so I’ll be spearing some apples on canes this week to see if I can tempt it :)

With the garden being so quiet, I headed out to Blackditch Nature Reserve.  I haven’t been there in at least 6 months and I picked a gorgeous day to go!  One of the advantages of working from home is that I can go out whenever I like & just work later into the evening if needs be.

The above are views from the main hide – blue sky & warm sunshine – you wouldn’t think it’s November!

I keep hearing reports of Owls (both Long-eared & Short-eared), Peregrines, Merlin & Hen Harriers so I thought I’d drop by just to see.  I didn’t seen any raptors, but there were plenty of Shovellers, Mallards  and the odd Lapwing.

The feeders were heaving with Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Coal Tits, Great Tits and Blue Tits.  I was hoping to see my favourite the Long Tailed Tit, but none were there.There were plenty of Blue Tits amongst the reeds too – picking at them (apologies for the poor photo). I spoke to the warden afterwards and he mentioned that caterpillars are in abundance inside the hollows of the reeds and so are providing a tasty meal for the Blueys :)

I caught sight of this bird feeding – didn’t get a clear shot of it but I’m curious to what it is (Warren? ;-) ). I’m no good with ID-ing!

I didn’t even see what the bird below was until I uploaded the photo :)

It’s taken me a while but I think I’m back into the swing of things again, I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to get out most days with my camera – even if it’s just into the back garden :)

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New Beginnings

After a loooooong break from here (is it really November?), I’m pleased to say I’m back feeding the birds!  The disease affected a couple more Greenfinches, so I waited for the feeders to empty then took everything down for a couple of months.  The garden was given a chop back of hedges / bushes etc and I’ve now set up the feeding stations again :)

Sadly, Colin’s health deteriorated and he ended up going blind in both eyes.  He started walking round in circles & bumping into things – needless to say he didn’t make it – I have to say I actually shed a tear for the poor thing :(

On to a happier note, House Sparrow numbers are still just as high as last year (if not more) in our back garden and are happily munching their way through the endless bags of seed!  Two Goldfinches are also visiting the Nyger feeder every day, and we’ve started attracting the Blue Tits & Coal Tits again, so hopefully once the weather turns slightly colder we’ll get more & more in the garden!

The Starlings don’t seem to have noticed that the food is back at “Chez Shazza”, but I’m sure they soon will, especially with the apple & peanut butter that I’m putting out – who could resist?!

Oh and the Robin which I desperately wanted when we first moved in, has finally started coming into the garden on a more regular basis – Yay :)

No photographs this time, but hopefully will post some next time.  I hope all my regular followers are still around & I’m sorry its taken so long for me to update!

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Should I give up?

Well, after a couple of weeks successfully feeding the garden birds, Trichomonosis has reared its ugly head yet again! This time, a Goldfinch and a Greenfinch are infected :(

I’ve decided to stop feeding (again), this time for a couple of months to hopefully completely eradicate the problem.  It’s just so odd that I’ve never ever come across this before and now all of a sudden I’ve had at least 5 birds in the last 5 months!

The only bird I’m feeding at the moment is Colin (or Colleen!) who has an injured leg and a bad eye!  He started spending the nights on the roof, which worried me immensely as we live in a bungalow & next door’s cat is always prowling around the rooftops!  He cowers away from all birds (including other pigeons), and when he comes down to feed, he’ll snuggle down under the patio door & fall asleep! Again, this worried me due to the cat :(

So, my ever resourceful other half made a “coop” for him to rest in!  He made it from an old drawer, that was down the side of the house (from previous tenants), and some mesh.  We open the patio door, open the “coop” and he wanders in and sleeps!  He seems to like it.  The way I see it is if he didn’t then he wouldn’t come in!  I am concerned though that we’re doing more harm than good… he shakes quite a bit as well so I’m not sure if he’s old or in pain – does anyone have any suggestions?

All in all, we’ve not had much bird action in the garden – the vegetables & flowers are doing great though :)

Our little patio display

Veg picked from our garden :)

Veg after rinsing - they were delish!

I’m hoping (again) that things will pick up (bird-wise) after a few more weeks of no feeding, and that hopefully the Trichomonosis will have disappeared for good!

In the meantime, below is a photo I took last year of a Stonechat, just to cheer me up :)

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