Friday 5 February 2021
Saturday and Sunday was the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch weekend and also the week our pond came to life.
We had moved all of the bird feeders down to the very end of the garden to reduce the risk of wild birds bringing Bird Flu to our various neighbours chickens. I did a one hour watch on both Saturday afternoon (overcast and light rain) and an hour on Sunday midday (dull but dry) with eight bird species and two mammals on the Saturday and with ten bird species and one mammal on the Sunday. Common to both days were nuthatch (image 1), blue tit, great tit (image 2), robin (image 3), dunnock (image 4), blackbird and coal tit (image 5). Saturday had the wonderful addition of a male great spotted woodpecker (image 6) and Sunday had the addition of chaffinch, long-tailed tit and treecreeper (image 7). On both days up to three little bank voles (image 8) and on the Saturday we had a squirrel.
At the shallow end of the pond we had our first frog of the year (image 9). This frog had a pale blue chin and so would have been a male. Males usually appear first and wait for the females to return to the pond. This end of the pond is 4 inches deep which is ideal for frogs. Palmate newts have been active for several weeks now. Down amongst the leaf litter in the bottom of the pond shallows, I spotted a number of leaf clusters moving slowly about (image 10); these were the cases of caddis fly larvae that had joined leaf portions together to make protective shelters.
Looking at our garden list, I see that we have recorded 47 bird species over the past 40 years that we have lived here.