January in the Garden

Dear Readers, the first day back to work after a fortnight off is always a little bit anxiety-provoking, at least for me. What will have turned up in my Inbox while I’ve been off, eating rose and violet creams and watching episodes of 1970s favourite ‘Lord Peter Wimsey’ (don’t ask). But my Inbox turns out to blissfully free of crises (at least so far), and so I spend a few minutes actually in the garden. Not many though, as it’s starting to sleet, the wind is enough to blow your wig off and I don’t want to deter the poor hungry birds. Have a look at the bittersweet berries though! So glad I didn’t cut them back.

And at least now I know where the squirrels are hanging out. I interrupted one eating my grape hyacinth bulbs yesterday and s/he wasn’t the slightest bit perturbed when I banged on the window. They have that ‘who, me?’ look down to a T.

Next door’s shrubs are in full flower – the hebe has been going since May. Just look how windy it is! Very alarming. No wonder all the bees are staying tucked up in bed.

Not so the starlings though. They practically live in my garden these days, as my budget for suet pellets is blown every month. I have two whole sacks on order, but of course they’re delayed what with Covid, and the poor old Royal Mail struggling to keep up. However, I do have a final tub of live mealworms. This starling almost seems to know it.

And while I’m on the subject, spring isn’t really that far away – look at the buds bursting out everywhere! These are on my lilac, but nearly all the shrubs are starting to stir.

So, out I go into the cold and wet to pop out some mealworms onto the bird table. The scene is like something from Alfred Hitchcock.

But once I’ve put the food out, and they’ve got their courage up, it’s chaos for about three minutes.

And then it’s all gone. I just hope the suet turns up soon. Those starlings will be outside with placards if I don’t find something to feed them.

9 thoughts on “January in the Garden

  1. Fran & Bobby Freelove

    You’re absolutely right, we can’t keep up with the suet in our gardens too. The starlings sit in the two sycamore trees and watch us. Within seconds they’re down, not sure if we can name the company we use, Winston Wilds, please edit it if we’re not, but their suet products, which are totally different to anything else, are by far the favourite of our birds, they ignore anything else in preference. We know so many people are divided on starlings but to us, well we love them.

    Reply
    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Very happy for you to make a recommendation, Fran and Bobby! I use the stuff from the RSPB but I will definitely have a look at Winstons, the RSPB is very expensive. I’ve heard good things about Vine Farm products too.

      Reply
  2. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    Thankfully our bird feeders are less frantic than that. We’ve had the usual Tits (Blue, Great, Willow/Marsh and Crested) and a couple of Alpine Accentors hoovering up anything that’s dropped from under the trees. Also, yesterday, we had a flock of about 7 Siskins and at least one Goldfinch. (I’m sure he or she must have had a few friends). They seem to come and go throughout the day and, so far, barely a squabble between them. (I tried the Trail cam by attaching it to the post holding up the terrace roof, but it was too close to focus on them).

    Reply
  3. FEARN

    That hebe must think it is still in New Zealand! The birds here are busy stripping the crab apple tree in preference to the food we put out (although that goes too). The apples must be fermenting inside them. Perhaps that is why they are so unusually tolerant of each other. We have had 6 or 7 blackbirds in the garden at once.

    Reply
    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Yep the blackbirds are much more tolerant once the winter comes. They breed early though so I imagine there will be ructions in a month or so!

      Reply
  4. Anne

    Your starlings are akin to our Laughing Doves the way they line up while waiting for the seeds (in my case) to be ‘delivered’ and then swoop down to gobble them up as quickly as possible!

    Reply
  5. christineburns2013

    Its such a joy to watch the birds on the feeders from my kitchen window. Starlings, blackbirds, coal, blue and great tits, a nuthatch and yellowhammer and, in the Holly tree across the lane, redwings.

    Reply
    1. Bug Woman Post author

      I’d love to see a nuthatch (though we have them in the local wood) but I’ve only ever seen a yellowhammer when I’ve been down in Dorset…

      Reply

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