BIG Garden Birdwatch 2018

For the past five years I’ve been participating in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. Over the years I have seen fluctuations in bird numbers and species. This year before the count, it had been the poorest showing of birds in a long time. I don’t know whether this is due to the goldfinches being scared, yes you read that correctly, scared of the seed I bought for them from Haiths? Or whether it’s due to being a mild January, where there’s more abundant foods elsewhere? Either way when I came to sit down with a cup of coffee in hand I wasn’t expecting much of a show. However the birds had other ideas!

This year, the only day I could fit in the hour long bird watch was Sunday, between 12.10pm and 1.20pm. While a enjoyed a relaxing lunch, I gazed out of the window to where the bird feeders were all topped up!

I didn’t have to wait too long for the first visitors, the starlings, who in turn bring a cascade of flocks of goldfinches and pigeons. My tally for the hour was as follows.

  • 8 starlings
  • 10 goldfinches
  • 9 pigeons (featuring a prima donna display from the rescue pigeon, Hoppy)
  • A swift visitation by 1 dunnock
  • An equally brief visit by 1 blue tit

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The yarden this winter has generally attracted two blue tits, but the other was no where to be seen. I have spotted a visiting robin on most days, (which the dunnock could have chased away), and two great tits have visited occasionally. On Friday last, I saw what was either three long tailed tits, or wagtails, they stayed all too briefly for me to ID them!

So, there you have it, my tally for 2018’s Big Garden Birdwatch. I wonder what species I’ll see in 2019?

What species did you record if you participated?

Thanks for reading,

Christine x

Four Out of Five Birds…

By no means is this post sponsored by Haith’s – Bird Food Specialists since 1937. However, after previously testing their wild bird food, (you can read all about that here). I decided to purchase some of their foods for our indoor aviary, which houses seven finches, with two in the ‘naughty’ cage! Overall we have a mix of nine foreign finches.

We regularly offer millet sprays to our birds. We usually buy Chinese millet from a local pet store. On perusing Haith’s Cage and Aviary website, I spied French red Anjou millet sprays. Though a little more expensive than the Chinese millet I was won over by their deep red colour.

Haith’s delivery is supper fast. On receipt of my goods, I couldn’t wait to give the finches their first taste of the red Anjou millet. Needless to say the new millet went down a treat!

With two of our ladies laying eggs at present (in rather unsuitable places I may add), I purchased Haith’s foreign finch tonic food. This blend is to support staple foods and is enriched with nutritious seeds to help with a balanced diet. Like their wild bird seed, the foreign finch food came SUPERCLEAN. You can read more about Haith’s cleaning process here.

To help with digestion and aid in egg production I also purchased some granulated charcoal.

We are very happy with the purchased products from Haith’s. The birds are loving the new tonic seed and red Anjou millet. I will definitely purchase these items again from Haith’s in future.

Thanks to David for taking the pictures!

Christine x

SUPERCLEAN™ – But What Does it Mean?

* This post comes courtesy of Haith’s – Bird Food Specialists since 1937. If you want top quality bird seed and feeders from a British family run business, then Haith’s has all the products your garden birds need!*

So, you’ve decided to start feeding the birds visiting your outdoor space, (be it a garden, yard or balcony), and that’s a good thing. But there’s so many different types of bird food that you don’t know where to begin!

There’s seed for finches, soft food for robins, peanuts for tits and suet for starlings! The choice can make your head spin!

But did you also know there’s different qualities of food too? There’s the cheap supermarket bought versions which are full of dust and germinate once fallen on soil.

Then there’s SUPERCLEAN™!

Haith’s kindly offered me some of their Premium Wild Bird Food to sample. Or more importantly my visiting garden birds to sample! They sent me a bag of SUPERCLEANseed and another bag of uncleaned seed. You can tell the difference straight away from the pictures taken by David below. The uncleaned seed had pieces of wood, dust and seed husks whereas the SUPERCLEAN™ looked polished and wholesome. Which seed would you prefer too feed your birds?

 

Why do Haith’s SUPERCLEAN™ their foods? 

The reason Haith’s SUPERCLEAN™ their seed is due to studies by Professor John E Cooper DTVM FRCPath FSB CIBiol FRCVS, who found that birds who ate abrasive materials easily damaged their respiratory tracts. This damage in turn leads to increased vulnerability to illness and disease.

Haith’s kindly asked me to help spread their message about SUPERCLEANand the importance of feeding good quality seed to wild birds. The below info-gram is helpful in explaining their process.

Healthy Seed - Healthy Birds! (1)

And if all that isn’t enough they have birder and conservationist extraordinaire Bill Oddie explaining the process.

And how did the SUPERCLEANseed fare? On a freezing winter’s day, with snow forecast, the wild birds needed all the high energy seed they could get. I filmed many goldfinches on the feeders and a very cheeky pigeon helping himself to the seed on offer from the Multifeeder!!

If you would like to see the variety of bird foods from Haith’s follow this link: https://www.haiths.com

What are your opinions on bird seed?

Thanks for reading?

Christine x

It’s Working!

The planting for wildlife is finally coming to fruition.

Sunday was a lazy day and amongst the flowers of my Wallflower and Cat Mint I spied a Small White butterfly and Bee!

There was also the sound of Goldfinches in the nearby trees and a hungry baby Great Tit being fed by its parents!

Here’s footage I took in 2012 when the Great Tit’s brought their babies to my feeders.

New Life Just Keeps Coming!

The news from the past few days has been a visitation of a Male House Sparrow with his baby! Mum spotted them last night on the bracket feeder and I ran upstairs to get the camcorder, but on way down, they had flown off… such is life! The baby House Sparrow, looked like a Goldfinch baby and was crying like all the other babies before him/her, begging for food, which the daddy House Sparrow was obligingly giving!

At dusk last night, I spotted nine, yes NINE Goldfinches and this morning, Friday, I spotted yet another baby Goldfinch begging from his parents! WOW! My yard is so blessed with all this new life. 😀 It is nearing the end of July and still there are baby Goldfinches abound!

My feeders have become a hive of activity over the past few days, with not only Goldfinches, House Sparrows and the Blue Tit couple regularly gracing my feeders, but the Magpie with the sore eye has been seen eating from my fresh coconut and last evening Mr. Dunnock was spotted hopping about the yard floor picking up the seed left by the Goldfinches! I love watching the Dunnock, he is such an adorable little bird, people think he is brown and boring,  but I have fallen in love with this small, unassuming bird! 😀

With all this activity at the feeders, my two 5kg bags of Haith’s bird seed is going down considerably as I am filling up the feeders once a day! I really can’t keep feeding at this level with dwindling financial resources, so any ideas on how to keep the birds happy but feeding for less, then do let me know. 🙂

I am eager to get out into the yard and join the Big Butterfly Count, I saw three Red Admirals last year but this year butterfly sightings have been poor.

In my area I have seen the odd White and Cinnabar Moths but none of the more strikingly colourful ones. Lets hope the sunny weather that the Met Office has hinted at for the coming weekend, will bring the butterflies out!

Slow Progress and Free Tickets to see TED!

After ending my last blog with some optimism I begin this with saying that David and I never completed the stud wall yesterday. 😦 We did cut the wooden beams for placement and David took off the old 1900 nogs but we never built the frame back up again much to my disappointment. 😦

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On a happier point, the Haith’s bird food arrived a day after I ordered them. They arrived via FedEx and the Goldfinches are eagerly gobbling up the seed! 😀

We have had many Goldfinches visiting as well as two faithful Blue Tits, and up to three male House Sparrows. I am very happy that the House Sparrows have visited, adding to the bio diversity of the yard. My mum also said that the Dunnock was spotted hopping about the yard and helping himself to the dropped sunflower seeds yesterday. I do love Mr. Dunnock and I am very grateful that he has continued to visit and that he is getting some food, despite the hoard of Pigeons and colony of rats that are in competition for the feed!

I was amused when I got an email this morning from Vue Cinemas. I had entered a competition last week to win preview tickets to the new comedy ‘Ted‘. David and I both think it will probably be awful, but today I found out I got two free tickets to see it! lol 😀 I just sat laughing at the computer for a few minutes and my mum thought I was mad! The screening is tomorrow, so I am planning a romantic date with David, we are going for a pizza before hand and then going to see the film. I just hope it all goes according to plan!

Look! A New Roof!!

The past two days, I have been on the edge of my nerves watching the workmen fit the new roof to our home. I was very surprised that it only took two days! The scaffolding will be taken down tomorrow and then our house will be free to show off its lovely brand spanking new roof. 😀

The work started on Wednesday morning at 8am! I was knocked out of a disturbed sleep by my mum who said ‘Chestnut (Chestnut Roofers and Builders) are here! I dived out of bed and looked out of the window and it looked like a huge military opperation had commenced as there was a convoy of lorries and vans parked outside the house! 😮

The five men worked from 8am til 4pm! I can’t fault their work ethic, they hardly stopped! At least we had good weather on both days of construction!

On the Wednesday, the workmen took the old slates off the roof that must have been on since the house was built over 100 years ago! Then there emerged a pile of rotten wet wood, that were the battens crossing the roof and which the tiles are attached too. The men had constructed a shute that made a right racket when the tiles and later on the bricks from the demolished chimney stack were thrown down.

Wednesday evening, David went into the loft to see the water proof fabric that had been laid down, it resembled a Japanese wall to me. 🙂

Work recommenced on Thursday with the putting up of the tiles and taking the chimney pots down. The workmen used a mechanical conveyor belt to carry the tiles up to the roof. 🙂

The work was completed at 3.30pm and David became just shy of £4000 poorer! I must say the roof looks very smart! We now just need a good torrential downpour to test the new tiles and guttering. 🙂

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Wild bird news: I have just ordered from Haiths.com a 5kg sack of sunflower hearts and a 5kg sack of Goldfinch seed which has teasel seed that the finches love! I can’t wait for the seed to arrive so I can dish the feed out as I have ran out of Nyjer seed. 😦

I was quite amused watching the Goldfinches cope with the work on the roof today. I watched them several times as they flew around in circles trying to land but fearful of the workers on the roof. Later in the evening, I sat out in the back yard with a cup of tea and chatted with my mum, while the Goldfinches and Blue Tits flapped their wings overhead trying to land on the seed. Needless to say, we didn’t stay in the yard for long as we left the birds to eat in peace. 🙂