How the Mighty Have Fallen….

Dear Readers, those who’ve been following this page for a few weeks might recognise this plant as the nine-foot tall angelica that popped up this spring. Well, the flowerheads have gone over and the plant has been looking a bit precipitous for a few days, but the rain and wind on Sunday night finally blew it over altogether. What a shame! But it’s clearly become handy for some of my local visitors, who find it very convenient.

The garden is still full of fledgling starlings – by this time in a normal year they’d be much more independent, and the garden would be falling silent. This year, the little devils are still everywhere. Each time I walk out to the shed they positively explode out of the surrounding trees and shrubs, followed by the woodpigeons, collared doves, goldfinches etc etc.

I’ve taken to saying “Calm down guys, it’s only me” every time I go out, but I’m not convinced it’s working.

And then, I had a very nice surprise this morning.

Fledgling sparrow marching along the hand rail.

Look at this fledgling house sparrow! I haven’t really seen sparrows in the garden for months, apart from the odd fleeting visit, but this morning the place was full of them. Here’s a Dad feeding his youngster…

For an enchanting ten minutes they seemed to be everywhere. Perching on the hemp agrimony….

..hanging out on the greater willow herb…

or just chilling on the hand rail waiting for some food….

…and every so often getting lucky…

Mum used to love sparrows.

“They’re so friendly!” she’d say. “You never see them fighting”.

Well, all I can say is she must have been watching a different species from the one that I observe, because I see sparrows squabbling all the time though, to give Mum her due, it does normally seem short-lived and non-serious. And today it was all about the difficult business of rearing these hard-earned balls of fluff to maturity. I always feel so privileged to host the local birds, especially when, like sparrows and starlings, they’ve become so much rarer than they were when I was a girl. The garden might look a bit wild and woolly, but goodness a lot of wildlife pops by, and that makes me much happier than a manicured plot would ever do.

8 thoughts on “How the Mighty Have Fallen….

  1. Anne

    A ‘wild and woolly’ garden is a far more meaningful contribution to the environment – especially within an urban setting – than any beautifully manicured spot where a weed would not dare raise its head above the close-cropped grass. To have a garden, however small, is to take on the stewardship of that bit of earth. I truly enjoy following the goings-on in your garden. I have also found the angelica saga interesting.

  2. Claire

    What a nice post! Here we are seeing less and less sparrows in town or garden, there is a spot, though, a triangle of big pyracantha between busy roads. I often wait for the bus there, and it’s incredibly noisy with their twittering( because of the traffic noise, you can only hear them from the bus stop). They are protected by the spiny branches. You hardly ever see any of them…

  3. Alexandra Rook

    “The garden might look a bit wild and woolly, but goodness a lot of wildlife pops by, and that makes me much happier than a manicured plot would ever do.” Hear,hear.
    I’m trying to combat the tidy minded (& ignorant of nature) in my block of flats who are whingeing about the one lawn we’ve let grow long – species rich with Ox-eye daisy clumps, sorrels, self-heal, bees drunk on clovers, hawkbit etc. They are somehow blind to the enchantment of flowering grasses waving in the breeze. I’m about to purchase a T-shirt with the slogan ‘No amount of evidence will convince an idiot’; would you believe they called an EGM to prevent individuals gardening when we have the ‘mow blow & go’ kind of gardeners who – if they tackle the plants at all – go at them with a hedge trimmer. It’s tragic. Don’t know if I can bear to go on living there & fighting for better management. It’s been 5yrs of battle going nowhere.

  4. Sharon

    We have recently acquired a home with a garden. We started putting out bird food. Then we put it out in feeders hung in such a way as to not be accessible to the local Wood Pigeons.

    More recently we found a designated mealworm feeder, and hung that in the plum tree, again in a Wood Pigeon inaccessible way. Eventually the local sparrows found it and started feeding. A fortnight ago the local fledging starlings found it, the sparrows no longer get a look in, and we are now buying dried mealworms by the kilo per week. We are raising our own murmuration, though at present they’re more of a Squabble!

      1. Sharon

        Live mealworms? No Thank You! When young my brother used to get maggots for fishing. The ‘spares’ he would bring home, which was ok if he was going fishing in a day or so. Otherwise inside the sealed baitbox they would pupate into Castors (again, fine fishing bait) then emerge as flies. Not a pleasant thing should you unsuspectingly open said box!

        We’re selective about the wildlife we encourage, though we’ll keep feeding the Squabble.
        Besides which, you get so many more dried mealworms per Kilo, and we are now on pensions.

  5. Bug Woman Post author

    Absolutely true re the dried mealworms, they’re much more sensible. The mealworms turn into darkling beetles, which is not quite as bad as flies, though they rarely get a chance poor things…


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