And Then There Were Two (Well Three Actually)

IMG_20150908_154938614I wrote yesterday about our Resident Magpie. Well he’s obviously been telling his chums, because this afternoon there were three of them in the garden. Two on the bird feeder and a third on the suet block which is in the tree just behind. Unforunately I wasn’t quick enough with my phone to get a picture of all three together. The one on the lower platform of the feeder is the one I refer to as our resident, and has the discoloured feathers.

Resident Magpie?

IMG_20150907_151909086

We’ve had what seems to be a resident magpie in the garden for a few weeks now. When I say resident, he doesn’t seem to go very far afield and if he’s not on the bird feeders, then he’s normally within sight – on the roof of our neighbours garage (which overlooks our garden), in the birch tree or somewhere nearby.

My feeling is that either he is one of this years juvenile birds or a much harried older bird. For a time he has a bald patch on the back of his head, which has since grown back feathers, but is a lighter colour than the rest of his “black” plumage, as there are other lighter patches. He seems to have the natural curiosity I’d associate with magpies although he is perhaps a little bit too fearless of us, when we are in the garden.

We’re not doing anything different to what we would normally be putting out on our feeding stations at this time of the year, but he does seem to be monopolising them, almost as if he doesn’t know where to find food elsewhere. This behaviour makes me wonder as to whether he was separated from his parents before they had a proper chance to teach him where to find food outside of our garden.

Robin Update

Mrs Robin
Mrs Robin

The Robin in our garden is still faithfully sitting on her eggs. Having done a bit of online research I now know that it is the female that sits on the eggs alone, and it takes 13 days for them to hatch. So assuming that when we first noticed her was last Saturday, 6th June, we are likely to have baby birds sometime this week.

As she is so exposed, we’re keeping watch but from a distance, so as not to disturb her. Her preference for this nest is completely different to the blue tits who we had nesting earlier in the season. They managed to find a gap in the side of the garage, and chose to nest there. It means we have no idea how many young they had, as other than the chirps of the young, and the parents tooting and froeing you wouldn’t have known they were there, unlike the blue tits from last year, who used the sparrow box, and you could see the young, sticking their heads out, now and again.

Last Years Blue Tits
Last Years Blue Tits

Robins

 

Ever Present Robin
 I seem to have been visited a lot by Robins this year so far. There is an ever present Robin, whenever I’m weeding on the allotment [I don’t to be honest know if it’s the same bird, or there are a multitude of them, taking it in turns to feed on the small insects an grubs I disturb when weeding].

And now we seem to have one nesting in the garden or rather brooding eggs.

 

Broody
The nest is one that we put up, but to this point has never been used, and has been there so long, it’s falling apart. We’ll keep an eye on them from a distance. 

Weekend Round-Up

Ruby keeping an eye on proceedings
Ruby keeping an eye on proceedings

We’ve been having a few issues with our broadband connection, which has meant limited internet time and speed, so although I was going to try and upload a video this weekend, I’ve not been able to. I will however try a few photographs.

It’s another bank holiday weekend so it’s meant an opportunity to spend more time than a regular weekend on the allotment. The weeds seem be growing exponentially, and are certainly growing faster than the food crops at the moment. I spent some time on Saturday just weeding. I’d planned to do some other things, but at the moment, it’s important to try and get ahead of the weeds, otherwise they’re going to crowd out the other plants. I feel like I made good progress, but there is always more to do!

Last weekend I planted some Cavolo Nero and Brussels Sprout plants which seem to have all taken well. These were followed this weekend with some Celeriac. The plot is looking quite full now, which is good. I harvested the first of the broad beans, which although were probably on the small side, were very sweet tasting.

Tomatoes Ready To Go
Tomatoes Ready To Go
Tomato Already Fruiting
Tomato Already Fruiting

Back in the garden I moved on the tomato plants that I’d been given, into their final growing spot. To do so, I had to move the last of the overwintering plants out of the potting shed to make room for them.

I wasn’t going to bother with tomatoes this year, having had such a bad season last year and I didn’t therefore grow any from seed, however as a fellow allotmenteer gave me some plants, I thought why not. One of the plants even has a small tomato on it already!

Monday is a Bank Holiday, so that’s given me more garden time. I’ve spent this morning clearing around the slabs in the back garden. I checked back through my notes and it’s only three weeks since I last did this, so I can see it’s going to be a regular occurrence if I want to keep the backyard pristine through the summer and not use any chemicals (which I don’t want to do).

I know the time span because I’ve been journalling more than I ever have done before. I’m finding that I’m quite enjoying recording my thoughts and observations, and I haven’t kept a proper paper journal for many years, probably since I took up blogging. I think it means that I remember far more when I come to sit down in front of the computer than I would otherwise.

I took a break from the gardening to finish a job application. My redundancy date isn’t that far away, so I’m taking more time to job hunt. I’m hoping to get a bit of a break over the summer, but don’t plan or want to be out of work for too long.

Anyway there’s still a lot of Monday left, and I’m intending to tackle the front garden this afternoon. I need to clear back some of the front border as it’s encroaching on the pavement a little, and again there is some clearing around paving slabs to be done as well as a few other tasks.

The Dogs Are Quite Content To Watch What's Going On.
The Dogs Are Quite Content To Watch What’s Going On.