Sparrow Box Soap Opera

blue tit

Some day we will get it right for the birds!

First we put up a blue tit box and sparrows nested in it, so we replaced it with a sparrow terrace with three nest holes and the blue tits nested in it.

Now the blue tits are sub-letting to a group of wrens.

As I went to make our morning cuppa, passing the back door something caught my eye, I looked out at the sparrow box and in the half light could see a little head appear from hole number one. I was amazed to see a wren fly out and it was quickly followed by three more, they had obviously been using it as an overnight roost.

We had spotted a wren yesterday coming out of hole number three, while at the same time a blue tit was taking great interest in hole number one. Another blue tit attempted to investigate the middle hole but the one at hole one in no uncertain terms let it know it wasn’t welcome, although it didn’t seem bothered by the wren.

wren

We watched three wrens this evening. One popped in the middle hole then joined the other two in hole one.

It would be lovely to think that we could have blue tit and wren making a nest in the terrace this Spring and a bonus would be a sparrow in the middle. Well, who knows what will happen with these contrary birds!

Barbara Bell

An apple a day helps to keep the hunger away for winter birds

Some wildlife followers may see winter as a season of relative emptiness and in some ways a time that is almost unused by nature itself.  To others the return of falling snow and ice over the past few days may create a mini wild arctic landscape of the mind right on our doorsteps.  The bounty of local hawthorn berries along Jerry Clay Lane and Trough Well Lane at Wrenthorpe have been hungrily foraged by redwing, fieldfare, mistle thrush and blackbirds.  Now their attention is turning to plantings in urban areas and in particular gardens with apple trees.  Indeed, blackbirds and mistle thrush have become obsessive feeders of fallen apples and are now increasingly unfriendly to any other birds attempting to muscle in on their valuable windfalls.  Attached photos show a mistle thrush in between courses in a small orchard close to Jerry Clay Lane and a blackbird standing guard over fallen apples at Wrenthorpe Road.

blackbird feeding on apples at Wrenthorpe Road.

blackbird feeding on apples at Wrenthorpe Road.

blackbird feeding on apples at Wrenthorpe Road.

blackbird feeding on apples at Wrenthorpe Road.

Many birds and animals are now fighting for survival to take them through the worst of the weather to spring.  Just putting out any unwanted apples on the lawn and keeping bird feeders topped up, together with a supply of fresh water can make a massive difference to them and repay us with memorable close-up views of nature in our own backyard.  Attached photos show close encounters with Grey squirrel and nuthatch at Nostell Priory by the bottom lake over the New Year period.

Grey squirrel at Nostell Priory

Grey squirrel at Nostell Priory

nuthatch at Nostell Priory

nuthatch at Nostell Priory

Together with the bird sightings our local lockdown walks have also revealed several wildflowers in bloom even at this time of year.  These include red deadnettle, daisy, dandelion, cow parsley and hogweed.  Perhaps winter is not so bleak after all.