Issue 26

Twitcher's World: 10       marienkaefer-48

Winter 2009

Another mixed summer and autumn brought its seasonal visitors, and our regular garden birds seemed successful in rearing another generation. After the house martins, swallows and swifts arrived, things settled into the summer frenzy of trying to feed hungry mouths.

Our resident blackbirds produced several broods of chicks, and young goldfinches, blue tits and chaffinches appeared in the garden hunting for insects amongst the trees. A pair of tree sparrows also nested somewhere in the gardens, their chicks busy feeding around the therapeutic garden. Young kestrels practised their hunting skills on the field voles, quite often they were seen perched on the fence or on the roof, waiting for voles to make a dash along their tunnels in the grass.

One unusual bird turned up in the field behind the clinic one evening. The light was fading and this bird seemed to glide smoothly in circles without a wing beat. It had bright white markings on the front of its wings and left us baffled for a moment, there was a sense of something not being quite right. It turned out to be a remote control aeroplane, the father and son flying it were hidden just behind the trees. I must add the light was poor and those bright wing markings turned out to be lights, that´s my excuse anyway and I´m sticking to it.

There seemed to be an abundance of butterflies this summer even with all the rain. Painted lady´s, peacocks, small common blues, gatekeepers and several other species turned up in the gardens. These will have overwintered as eggs, or larvae, some even as adults waiting for the right time of year to emerge. There were plenty of flowers amongst the weeds and flower beds to feed on, the speedwells and cresses covering any ground left bare. The goldfinches took advantage of groundsel and a large patch of thistles left to flower behind one ward.

Later in the year as things slowed down, more birds visited the feeders in the garden. Young magpies with their short stubby tails harassed their parents, but made do with peanuts when nothing was given. Starlings came for a while and a late migrating willow warbler hung around as the leaves turned. Now, in December, the gardens are left to our resident birds who´d appreciate food put out if you can find a spot, you´ll be surprised what turns up!

That´s it for this edition so will close hoping you all have a good Christmas and New year.