The Garden Diary 2004


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3 May - Distracted by the Great Tit events, I haven't spent much time looking in other directions in the garden these last few days. The weather has been very changeable over the last few days and today has been no exception. This morning was dull and wet, but the rain disappeared in the afternoon and we had some welcome sunshine.

The Robin continues to come for mealworms to take away for young (which must in a another garden, to the north of this one). It has finally realised that it can enter the mealworm feeder, which means that it no longer has to compete with the Starlings for mealworms in an open dish.

It does have to share the feeder with the Blue Tits but there haven't been any conflicts between them as far.


There is a second robin that comes looking for mealworms. I don't thing it's the mate, but there is no aggression between them unless they get very close.

Then we see brief displays like this, where he puffs out his chest feathers to produce darker bands when viewed from the front, and tips his head up. Sometimes the display is more pronounced, but the posture isn't held for long.

The Blue Tits are still going back and forth to their nest box, but the level of activity suggests  they have not got chicks yet.


I think the Blackbird is still using the nest behind the Bamboo, but I have not yet been able to pinpoint the spot. However, a Land Rover that was parked in front of the bamboo has now been moved so I may be able to get a better idea of its position in the next day or two. We have an injured Starling in the garden at the moment. It seems to have an injury on its left side so that it cannot fly. Otherwise it seems to be able to move around the garden quite easily, and is finding enough food to survive, as long as it isn't found by a cat.

I have still to get a picture of the Wild Garlic, and today I noticed that there is a Lily-of-the-Valley flower open today.

7 May - A dry, mainly bright, but cloudy day and I managed to get a few photographs done and had a surprise.



First of all, the pictures of the Wild Garlic and the Lily-of-the-Valley, both deep under the Hawthorn, and prone to the bird droppings from the Sparrows!



Ferns are not flowering plants, but nevertheless they are important components of the garden, usually tucked away in shady corners.

This Hart's Tongue fern has grown from a small specimen that I brought back from Cornwall some years ago, (with permission, from the garden of the people in whose field we pitch our caravan each year)

I like how the new fronds slowly unwind themselves at this time of year. All the other ferns are at a similar stage.

I mentioned a surprise - that came this afternoon. Over the last five or six days I have noticed the Collared Doves perching in the Birch tree quite a lot.

Today I found out why when a surprised Dove flew out of the Hawthorn as I walked past. They are nesting in there, about 8ft above the ground and overlooking the path up to the West Wing!



9 May - A somewhat brighter day saw the first of the Hawthorn flowers opening this morning.

The weather was good enough for us to have coffee down the West Wing and we spent some of the time watching a Wood Pigeon who was gathering twigs form the conifers behind us and taking them to a taller conifer further down the road.



Walking down to the bottom of the garden has to be undertaken quietly now as the Collared Dove sits on her nest, although she is very tolerant as long as you don't move too quickly.

I took advantage of one of her absences to take this photograph to show her nest with two white eggs (the camera was at the end of a monopod which was held up with the camera's self-timer operating).


The nest is a very thin layer of twigs which is usually built in rather precarious places near the ends of branches, so this is quite a secure spot.

We are trying to decide whether or not one of the House Martin 'boxes' at the front of the house is being used for nesting by a pair of House Sparrows.

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