September 2019

Posted on 30 September, 2019 in Garden

As the features I have added to the garden continue to mature - 2 years for the back 'hedgerow' and coming up to a year for the pond - a few visitors not typically recorded were seen this month.

First of all a Sparrowhawk was quietly observing the garden from the big laurel tree! I spotted it from my bedroom, and I like to think that the increase in visiting smaller birds that I have observed, has been enough to interest this hawk. It wasn't the best or longest view - it flew off as I slowly opened the window for a better photo - but I think it was a male. I have seen quite a few sparrowhawks in the neighbourhood, either soaring fairly high up or dashing across the streets and gardens, but this was a first for the garden. As much as I enjoy the house sparrows that visit, and am working attracting more of them, for me a raptor is still one of the most exciting birds to see.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

The day after, as I watered the garden during a dry spell, I found an impressively-sized COMMON FROG lurking by the back fence. My interpretation is that the native hedgerow that I planted during the first winter in the house, is providing enough cover and vegetative hospitality for it. I saw one or two in the pond during the summer so the garden seems to provide a place that they can at least spend the summer at.

The next week during breakfast a Green Woodpecker landed in the garden and hopped about the lawn! Although I had heard a call in the early hours, and have seen one on the road outside going after the ants' nests, to see one at home in the garden was a significant surprise and a distinct pleasure! I wonder if it will return, or be a one-off like the jays that occasionally venture in.

Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker

The day after, a couple of Collared Dove came to investigate the ground feeding station, but since the cage is too finely meshed for them, they didn't stay for long. I would like these doves to find some suitable nesting or roosting place in the garden, but the laurel doesn't seem to suit them (or any other species but the wood pigeons), so I hope the silver birch grows quickly, or that the cotoneaster and bird cherry I intend to plant will do the trick.

Collared Dove

I also finally fixed the pond's water feature onto the brick with some plastic ties, that I typically use for pinning back shrubs. It had a habit of falling off into the water but should now stay in place. I also removed the fine-grained filter-come-spout from the top as it frequently became clogged up, and when it was not clogged it squirted water out of the pond, sometimes drastically lowering its level. Now it's just a half centermetre diameter of spout but it still gets enough solar energy to spurt a few centremetres clear of the surface. Hopefully now it's secured in place its more consistent operaton will keep the water oxygenated and the mosquitoes down. I want to avoid a repeat of this summer where the pond was full of larvae and the garden became a no-go zone after dusk!