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A South East garden

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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2018 at 4:56pm
We don't get a huge number of birds in the garden now we don't feed them anymore (neighbour's cat put an end to that). We get wren, robin, blackbird, etc pop in and out and we use to have sparrows nest in the ivy at the front of the house. In the summer pigeons will often drink from the pond in the early evening. I think we could easily not see a bird for an hour too. The flip side is that we have the blue tits thinking of nesting in their box now, so having the garden less busy with visiting birds probably suits them. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2018 at 12:22am
It doesn't bother me as they aren't a big interest, but we only get a few bird species too.
Lesser black-backed and a few Herring gulls, plus pigeons are probably the most conspicuous.
What with their loud, piercing screeching (quite often continuing throughout the night), i wouldn't blame anyone for hating the gulls. They can torture like toothache. But they're also charismatic, fascinating and even entertaining birds.
I've seen one repeatedly dive-bomb a cat, sending it terrified under a bush for all of it's lives, then land on a nearby roof and watch until Tiddles dared poke it's nose out again, then repeat the attack - over and over.
You'd have loved it Gemma!

There's always looking up instead. I've spotted loads more species flying or circling over my garden (though i don't always know what they are), including ravens and buzzards on occasion.

Here you go Chubsta. Chuffed to find this in the garden earlier....

       


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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2018 at 3:31pm
Ben, think I will get one of those gulls and train it, sounds like the best cat deterrent ever!

One I forgot to mention is the pied-wagtails, fairly regular visitor and common locally (we are not far from the Blackwater Estuary). Such funny little things the way they bob and literally wag their tails, always a pleasure to see one. Was one in this morning which reminded me I had not mentioned them.

Looking up is getting more and more interesting here in the past few years, buzzard sightings are much more common than 10 years ago, certainly made a come back in a big way locally and a pair nest at the local farm. Red-kites too occasionally, that's a bird I never saw in all the years of growing up in East Anglia.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2018 at 8:48pm
buzzards have really increased on numbers over the last few years, we started to notice them towards maidstone in north kent and then recently over ashford and the last couple of years at hythe and folkestone, now they are very common and see them wherever we go.

have only seen one red kite a couple of years ago near canterbury, guess they will expand like the buzzards have.

being on the coast we get s lot of the continental birds, great white egrets are very common here whereas they are rare in the rest of the uk
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2018 at 11:10am
Well, I guess the snow has put paid to any hopes of spawn in the next couple of days - temperatures have dropped through the floor overnight and we have more snow than at any point this Winter. There were about 20 frogs in the pond at the start of the night but they all disappeared as the temperature dropped, only my one faithful hog who are three times and seems determined to be the fattest one around.

This time last year I had a pond full of spawn and at least five different hogs each night so I'm not too worried about the lack of number as it seems all wildlife is very slow to get going around here at the moment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2018 at 12:52pm

Chubsta,

Good to read about your garden and wildlife. We all have different passions for wildlife, some just herps I know. I had badgers here for over twenty years – lots of them. They didn’t have setts here but I think came from the grounds of a large house nearby. In fact we are in a dense badger area so they probably come from all over. They brought their cubs along and I got to recognise different ones. As I watched over so many years there must have been several generations I guess. They would feed on peanuts next to hedgehogs too, no aggro but a bit of pushing and hissing at times.

Birds are a long time passion and we get a good selection here. However several neighbours started feeding gulls (herring) some years ago and they are a prefect pest now (4am summer mornings for example). So to discourage gulls I’ve had to start feeding ground food inside a metal dog cage. This allows up to thrush/blackbird size but nothing bigger. I have hanging feeders too. It sometimes seems to me that birds all disappear in cold weather, but if it is prolonged they will come back. That is the time for redwings and fieldfares to be brave and go into the cage. A neighbour who feeds all sorts – gulls, crows, jackdaws, rooks included – had a large flock of bramblings in the snow the other week, which never came here. I did have a black redstart which was great. I have lots of goldfinch, chaffinch and various tits. Siskins come to feeders and breed in the gardens here too. Blackcaps we get summer and winter. I put out peanuts in a feeder and generally have to throw them away eventually. Tits and great spotted woodpecker go on them, but not enough to make much impression. I put up a fat slab for blackcaps in the cold snap and that too is hardly touched. These latter are a long way from the house so are not disturbed by us. I think maybe so many others feed birds and they are spoilt for choice. Certainly when my brother fed birds in the Yorkshire Dales, I was amazed at how much food they got through in a day, no other people feeding where he lived.

I have a lot of flower beds and lawns but have enlarged wild areas over recent years. One thing that seems a common thread on here is that you will still get various herps if your garden is pristine, but you will get more/they will stay if you put in a pond or two and ease back on the mowing. In the early years of having grass snakes in my compost heaps they were certainly crossing mown grass to get there – it didn’t dissuade them.

 



Edited by Suzy - 17 Mar 2018 at 1:04pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Mar 2018 at 3:02pm
Well, with two inches of snow on the ground and temperatures in the minuses the frogs couldn't cross their legs any longer so made a hole in the ice last night and decided to spawn, most is just under the surface so will hopefully be ok for the next few days until the weather warms up...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Mar 2018 at 4:19pm
Oh wow! Our frogs have been noticeably absent this weekend, think they went back to the depths, amazing to see fresh spawn in the freezing cold!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Mar 2018 at 5:54pm
Great news Chubsta!
I've now gone down the route of decanting my bucket of spawn into various shallow trays in the greenhouse. I had to have all the windows open today as it was sunny and would have been too hot for them. I vowed not to do this in 2018, but here I am! The intention is to tip them back in the pond when they are free swimming.
We got down to minus three last night and we had 7-9 inches of lying snow by this morning (it put down a few more inches after dark yesterday). The ponds had a kind of Slush Puppy look, but weren't actually frozen. Hope the spawn that is toughing it out does OK.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Mar 2018 at 10:24am
I was trying to convince myself I would not be raising taddies this year too Suz. Totally different though when it arrives and we start thinking about all the things that could happen to it.
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