Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Where the Chaff are the Finches??

There hasn't been too much activity in the garden recently, the Sunflower Hearts are being eaten mostly by great, blue and coat tits, who don't like staying on the feeder for very long. They fussily find a heart, flicking the bits they don't like to the ground, before flying off to a nearby perch and nibbling there instead.  

We've also had the occasional Dunnock coming to the garden

The Niger seeds still haven't been touched, which really surprises me, as I would have expected a flock of Goldfinches to be fighting over them by now.  The only finch we have seen is a Chaffinch, and there only ever seems to be one!  

But there is another way of attracting Goldfinches (as well as other wildlife) to the garden - Teasel, and apparently they absolutely love em!

So we're re-designing our garden. The very first thing to do is build a wildlife border starting with Teasel.  We decided to try and grow our own and this what we did.

First of all we bought Teasel seeds from the local garden centre.  We used an old plastic egg-box as a propagation box and filled with damp seed compost.  We sewed the seeds and covered with a very fine sprinkling of compost, covering up with a lid and leaving at room temperature (15-20 degrees), where it will hopefully now germinate.

Not sure if this will work, but lets see what happens!

The weather is starting to get warmer and mornings/evenings lighter, so hopefully we will start to see more activity in the garden!

Last week we also saw a rainbow overlooking the garden.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Day of the Robin

We've added a second feeding station to the garden and hanged a feeder filled with sunflower hearts, but it is the Robins that are hogging the limelight at the moment and this particular one seemed to enjoy it!

Robins don't seem to be very difficult to attract to the garden. They mostly eat mealworm from the hanging coconut and also fine blended bread, which we put out on the ground. Occasionally they go for the fat balls as well.

This week we also saw a couple of buzzards patrolling the skies above, you always have a good chance of seeing them on clear days.  I love the sound that these birds of prey make, if your ever out and about and hear this, you know one is close by.  

There was a flock of gulls hanging around as well but I'll be honest I haven't a clue what was going on here! Not sure if it had anything to do with the buzzards being about or if they just fancied a gathering!

Elsewhere the Niger seeds have yet to be touched, the jackdaws are so heavy that they keep turning the coconut feeder around and we're still waiting for somebody to move into the bird box in the tree!  

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Pulling the Birds

Birds really liven up a garden and to try and attract them we decided to buy a bird feeding station with a couple of feeders.    

It has been a good time for us to start this project as winter is a really important time for birds to feed, with short days and harsh weather it can be difficult for them to find food.

We've found that it can be quite costly to feed the birds in the garden (particularly with mealworms) so its always good to shop around and see the best price you can get. Looking on the internet or in local shops seem to be the best option as some garden centers appear to be too expensive. We started off with Peanuts, Fat Balls and Niger seeds (which you will need a special Niger feeder for). 

Our feeding station has been up for about 3-4 weeks. With the food we have provided, we are now hoping to see a variety birds attempting to cling on such as tits, finches, robins, starlings and woodpeckers.  Blackbirds, pigeons and song-thrushes will more than likely go for scraps underneath.  

So far we've have had: blue tits, great tits, coal tits, robins, blackbirds and Jackdaws, who annoyingly seem to devour all the food. The fat balls appear to be the most popular, the peanuts have yet to be refilled and the Niger seed surprisingly has yet to be touched.  

We've also displayed other foods around the garden, including coconuts with mealworm filling and suet blocks.

February appears to be a great time for putting up nest boxes.  The reason being that this is the time of year birds will begin to look for somewhere to obviously nest for the coming spring. Today we've put up our first nest box, trying our best to keep out of direct sunlight!   

For the next stage, we're looking to add another feeding station as well as trying out sunflower hearts and mealworm.  Hopefully we'll also get plenty of viewers for the little house in the tree. 

Let's see what this week will bring!

A Wildlife Garden - The Journey Begins

Out on the Cheshire/Derbyshire boarder high in the hills of the High Peak National Park, this is a series of stories on starting a wildlife garden completely from scratch.  With a interest in wildlife, but little more than that, this is our way of sharing the stories, pictures and life that comes into our garden and what we are doing to attract it.

We hope you enjoy the journey!