After a very wet start to the summer the weather improved and the birds had the problems of finding food for an increasing hungry brood of chicks to feed.
The ground was very dry and hard and difficult for the birds to get at any tasty worms and grubs. However, the hot weather produced an abundance of insects and other creatures for the birds to feed on.
The swifts, swallows and martins had plentiful supply of insects to feed on. The swifts stayed with us until mid-August. The house martins stayed until the end of August. The swallows mostly reared two broods of chicks this year. They will stay with us until September and even early October before leaving our shores to take the long journey, often flying thousands of miles to spend the days in warmer climes, going as far a field as Africa before getting ready to join us next summer.
The bird table has been a success and the water provided has seen birds of all types visiting the garden and courtyard for a drink. There are regular visits by magpies and crows. The sparrows and blackbirds are seen every day and now appear to be quite at home in the garden.
There has been a heron spotted flying overhead towards the river most weeks, with its large wings and familiar long legs and neck being easily identified.
The garden area of Cardigan has been used to grow tomatoes and beans this season. There have been sunflowers and strawberries which have proved a great hit with the birds. One blackbird in particular has been seen coming right up to the back door to eat the strawberries situated outside. A family of goldfinches has passed through on a few occasions, stopping to eat the seeds off the numerous plants. Even the seagulls have got in on the act and have also been heard causing a row on the Clinic rooftops.
The majority of summer visitors will soon be long gone. The resident birds will be left to spend the winter at home. As the arrival of the swallows heralds the start of the summer, their departure signals the onset of autumn and the start of dark nights and frosty mornings. The robins will return to the garden for the winter by September.
Outside the Clinic garden the grounds have had the resident rooks in large numbers this year. Along with the jackdaws they can cause quite a noise in the tall trees in the grounds (not a good place to park your car under!).
Most of the birds have had a successful summer. Sadly, however, a goldfinches nest with all its chicks was raided, probably by predators – cats being the most likely to have found the nest. The peregrine has not been seen but the pigeons and dove population seems to have been dwindling so its safe to say that the peregrine is still around.
The winter will bring us full circle, with this little instalment from The Twitcher being an insight into what birds we can see from the window and in the surrounding grounds of Caswell. So keep a look out in the coming weeks for redwings passing through. The bird tables will always attract birds through the winter and you never know what you might see.
PS Many thanks to TerryC who helped compile this article.