I’ve spent May zigzagging the footpaths of the Loxley Valley, like a demented birdwatching ant, as I’ve recounted in the previous posts. I’ve seen some very good stuff over the last couple of weeks, including a tawny owl in broad daylight being mobbed by small passerines, another great view of the little owl, flocks of plump pink bullfinches, hunting kestrels, whitethroats scurring around bushes behind my head… very soon I’ll write a big post about my patch with accompanying maps, photos and various other bits and bobs, at a point when I get the time and internet connection to do so.
The garden is also getting crazily full of birds. The fat cake was nearly all gone, so I replaced it on Friday with one that has juicy insects in it. I’m not sure whether it’s this new ingredient or pure coincidence, but this weekend’s seen the birds arrive in droves. The great tits are now arriving in family groups of up to around five birds, long-tailed tits are regularly arriving (though not on the feeder), a juvenile robin has taken to munching down the fat, and the great spotted woodpecker visited at least 15 times on Sunday alone. Laura also spotted two magpies perched pecking at the fat cake, and as much as I hold no truck with the whole “magpies are evil birds that kill all the small ones” rubbish, I hope they don’t take this up too regularly as it’ll be gone in no time! Other garden spots have included a bullfinch, a grey squirrel, a sparrowhawk overhead, and a wood mouse, sadly clamped between the jaws of next door’s cat.
We also have a regular visitor in the shape of a bizarre-looking blue tit with a completely bald face, that we have unkindly named Martin the Mutant. I’m hoping he hasn’t got some kind of mangy disease that will spread to other users the bird feeders.
We went to Bempton Cliffs on Saturday to hunt for puffins, but I’ll tell you about that in full when I’ve sorted the broadband out at home and can accompany it with some dodgily digiscoped photos. Can’t wait? I bet.