Sunday 3 January 2010

Garden friends

A daily activity for us is checking that our garden friends are surviving the winter. Making sure the birds (and the squirrels) have enough to eat, making sure that there are holes in the ice in all the ponds, and other general maintenance issues.

Rich had already topped up the nut feeders to ensure that our fat little squirrels didn't go hungry (as if!) but I noticed that the pigeons and the blackbird were hopping around looking hopeful so I gave them some of last week's stale bread (trust me, this is a delicacy amongst the birds of SE7).

It is a lovely winter afternoon outside. Very cold but crisp and clear with late afternoon sunshine just about filtering through the trees.

Blackbird eating the crumbs left by the squirrel... and then enjoying the breadcrumb feast... yesterday he went as far as hanging from the fat-ball feeder, most ungainly!

Fat little squirrel in "where did I leave those nuts" shocker! Then he realises the feeder is full and goes back to stuffing his face.

The blue-tits and great-tits always feel the need to 'scope' the feeders before eating - presumably to check they aren't full? By the way... these feeding poles are not 'squirrel proof'... he just takes a long run up to climb the pole! Note in the photo on the right the squirrel is still eating.

Even my little round red tennis balls with wings, the robins, were out today. They are pretty much the sole users of the feeding tray (the blackbird is far too lazy) - apart from when the squirrels exhaust all other avenues!

For me nothing epitomises a winter afternoon in the garden more than the cool clear sunlight low in the sky filtering through the trees.

This is our very own 'Nickle Nackle Tree'. For those not lucky enough to grow up with it; this was a childrens' counting book by Lynley Dodd. I still own a copy - it is a beautifully illustrated and I can still recite the rhyme by heart thirty years later! It is now back in print and if you have a child in your life this one is a must. This is the Nickle Nackle Tree because the birds love it - to quote Lynley Dodd "on every twisty branch there was a jumbly jam of birds".

Some of our feathered friends seems to have decided to get a head start for the spring. This rather thrown together nest is perched precariously in one of the shrubs.