Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The early bird...

A few days ago, this fledgling robin started appearing in the garden. He was much too tame, of course. He was really enjoying himself, perching on the handle of the fishing net and spade, splashing in the bird bath, hopping about on the decking... How long before a cat got him, we wondered, or even the sparrowhawk?

Well, I'm pleased to report that he is still alive and perfectly capable of fending for himself, as we discovered when we saw him pounce on this big, fat, juicy worm!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Jackdaw on the feeders

I could hear the jackdaws making their familiar chack-chack sound, which always takes me straight back to my friend's cottage in Cornwall. In fact, the first time I heard them here in West London was a bit of a shock and made me think for a moment that I had been magically transported back to St Agnes. So anyway, I took the camera out of its bag and right on cue, this jackdaw landed on the nearest set of feeders. It was my first opportunity to see one close-up, with that dusting of powdery grey over the head and shoulders. What a handsome bird. That pigeon doesn't look as if it approves at all!

It's interesting to see how the population of big black birds has shifted over the 15 years I have been spending time in Hillingdon. For twelve of those, the crows ruled. Then a few months ago, the ravens arrived and now there is not a crow to be seen. And now the jackdaws have moved in, too. What could be next, I wonder?

Thursday, 5 April 2012


Now, I wasn't sure if the vixen was expecting or not. I think the general consensus of opinion was that she did look rather bulgy. But since then, her teats haven't looked particularly obvious. the way they did last year, though she and the dog fox have been begging for food several times a day, which is a significant behaviour change, as usually they vixen only appears once, in the evening, and we hardly see the dog at all.

Last night, I was just turning the kitchen light out at around 11pm when the garden security light came on and there was the vixen, nose pressed to the glass to see if there was anybody up. She then sat down on the deck and that's when I saw that her teats were indeed full of milk. So she HAS had cubs and hopefully, in a few weeks' time, she will bring them into the garden like she did last year. She is such a good mum.

Here's a photo I took yesterday, of her eating stale chocolate cake. I didn't think she looked as if she was feeding cubs. Perhaps her undercarriage is a bit saggier than it was last year!

Bird porn!

"Quick, quick!" I called to Him Indoors. "There's two Great Tits having a terrible fight." One forced the other down onto the ground and I thought it was killing it. But no. They were mating. A very risky place to do it, in a garden full of cats!