Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Sunday, 1 June 2008

GBMD - Garden Birds

I've noticed this year there's many more birds in the garden. My untested hypothesis is the great summer tree cull on the public land next to the house has opened up a new corridor into our garden. Last year the birds had plenty of cover in there to sing away in and generally thumb their noses at us (or should it be curl up their beaks?); this year they've had to come into our garden instead to replace the food and shelter those 4 trees gave them previously.

As a result we've frequently seen a variety birds on the patio for the first time this year. Previously they've mainly confined themselves to the bottom of the garden where my ongoing tally for the garden is 37 species. My heart is in my mouth whenever I see them. Whilst I love to see our visitors, I'm always mindful that Skimble and Jess will have an equal and hungrier view too. However, a welcome parade of wrens, blackbirds, robins plus blue and great tits continue to visit us daily in their live form. We also have some new nesting birds close to the house for the first time. NAH was just about to tackle the Clematis cirrhosa 'Balearica' at the side of the house when I noticed a pair of wrens making frequent visits. Our sentinal conifers on either side of our central patio steps are also playing host to a pair of gorgeous goldcrests.

The call of the female tawny owl I told you about previously, has now been replaced at 4am by an extremely loud song thrush. So far she's only visiting our lawn in the daytime, but the distinctive hammer on stone noises from the bottom of the garden show she's also swiftly despatching lots of our garden snail population. For that reason alone she's welcome, but as song thrushes are also on our endangered list in the UK (red status), I feel particularly privileged to have her here.

So my second contribution to Garden Bloggers Muse Day is dedicated to my garden bird visitors, particularly the thrush. It's a poem I found a couple of days ago by Ted Hughes:

Thrushes

Terrifying are the intent sleek thrushes on the lawn,
More coiled steel than living - a poised
Dark deadly eye, those delicate legs
Triggered to stirrings beyond sense - with a start, a bounce, a stab
Overtake the instant and drag out some writhing thing.
No indolent procrastinations and no yawning stares.
No sighs or head-scratchings. Nothing but bounce and stab
And a ravening second.

Garden Bloggers' Muse Day is hosted by Carolyn Gale over at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.

8 comments:

  1. We've got loads more birds this year too - I put it down to being catless for the first time ever :( but maybe there just are more about? (We also have mice for the first time - time to get a new cat, perhaps!)

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  2. Goldcrests; I now have serious garden bird envy. I have only ever seen them fleetingly when walking at Wisley, it would be so wonderful to have them in the garden. We do get a few interesting ones too though, and the Goldfinches, and in winter/ early spring, the Bramblings, both of which turn up on mass together with other finches are great to watch.

    Agreed, you must make it to Mottisfont to see the roses. GTS has written a few books, a couple are worth a read if you get the chance. Recollections of Great Gardeners, and The GTS Rose Book.

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  3. Lovely post, VP. Thanks so much for adding to our poetry circle with your musings.

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  4. How great to see a post saying that birds are on the increase rather than the opposite. let's hope you're right.

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  5. Hughes' poem makes the thrush sound rather threatening, doesn't it? Your description of it reminded me of the part in The Hobbit when the thrush's knocking revealed the secret door to Bilbo.
    Our cats seem uninterested in the birds this year; I don't know why, but I'm glad.

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  6. Lisa - luckily for us our cats don't bother much with the birds and go mainly for mice. I'm enjoying your Japanese diary very much BTW.

    Zoe - this is the first year I've seen Goldcrests in the garden, they've skirted round the outside before. We get goldfinches too (they're zooming away in the trees at the moment), but not Bramblings. I've just inherited GTS 'Gardens of the National Trust' from hubby's mum's house. I'll check out your other recommendations

    Carolyn - thanks and thanks for being the hostess with the mostest!

    Sue - I think the absence of the magpie nest this year (it was in one of the trees which blew down) is also making a difference

    Rose - you're right at least from the point of view of my slugs and snails. But having watched our song thrush lately, I think Hughes has captured their essence every well. I didn't know of Hughes' poem until last week (I was going to post D H Lawrence's The Snake instead), but as soon as I found it I knew it had to be this month's Muse Day!

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  7. I love to see birds in the garden. This year I've had several that I haven't seen before. I've managed to photograph most but I missed the pair of yellow warblers (hate that because they were the first for me).

    Loved the photos of your kitty helpers.

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  8. Hi Roses & Lilacs - welcome! Thanks for your visit and comments. Sadly I can't get back to yours to return the compliment.

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