Sunday, 23 May 2010


There was Flad having a snooze, when down came a magpie to see what grub was on offer. What cat could resist? But resist he did. He just couldn't be bothered to move - or perhaps he was bright enough to realise that it would have flown off before he could pounce.

I put a plastic bowl on the lawn and filled it with pond water for the birds. They ignored it for several days until this young starling decided to have a bathe, then drink its bathwater.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Bathtime for starlings

The pond is netted to stop herons eating the fish. Today, the young starlings discovered what fun they could have on the netting. Mummy (or Daddy) stood on it first, testing it for safety, then gave the youngsters the go-ahead. Soon they were using it as a trampoline, bouncing up and down until it sagged as far as the water surface, whereupon they all had fun splashing around, and having drinks and baths.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Swifts are back!

Just seen the first pair, swooping over the farm fields at the back of us. Last year I spied them on May 7th. The year before it was on the 8th. This year it's the 5th. What wonderful timing.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


The first swifts appeared in North West London a few days ago but none have made it to Hillingdon yet. Today, I walked down the street they love swooping over, my ears straining for their shrill screams, my eyes scanning the skies for their whizzing flight, but still no sign. I think last year I saw the first ones on 7th May so they still have a few days to go.

I've been sent this super link to a kestrel's nest webcam in Belarus. At first I thought the kezzie had abandoned the nest as the eggs were untended for at least an hour, but mum (or is it dad?) returned in the end and settled back on the clutch. They are an amazing colour, a kind of cochineal red. The nest site looks as if it is in a church tower. What do you think?