|Where I spotted the Great tit fledgling hunting for food.|
Because when you are ecosystem gardening, your successes are not just measured in the number of flowers in bloom or that you have managed to get a lot of colour in your garden, but they are measured in the diversity of wildlife who shared your garden. It is a slight change of mindset and a having to alter my camera lens slightly.
The Great Tits have fledged. This is excellent news. The young are bobbing about in the undergrowth just below the nest box on the deneside. They will hopefully survive and disperse into the wider world.
|The back lawn/orchard/meadow|
where the blackbirds, sparrows and songthrushes like to
forage. Ducks and chickens on it
This is why at this time it is so important that there is food. Food in the Great tit fledgling’s case means insects rather than snacking at a bird table. Insects are most likely to appear on native plants, particularly those we gardeners often dismiss as weeds. The dock leaf, for example, is an important food source for a particular type of moth (one which has declined by over 70% and is one of the key British eco-species). The caterpillars are the favourite prey of many birds including Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers (which I’d love to see in the garden). So it is a case of thinking dock equals moths equals bird species. So the dock plants can mainly remain. I have noticed that something (mostly a caterpillar) has been eating various dock leaves on the lower walkway (normally strimmed but I am leaving this year as all we need is a path through) so I shall count this as a success – more food for the fledglings (and obviously hopefully some moths as well)
The parent was also hunt invertebrates in the stream for the youngster. Kate the very bossy duck objected and gave it a peck at which point it flew off. She ruffled her feathers and settled to hunting along the margins. The Great Tit did rapidly find more food for its youngster and so all were happy.
|Nest box the tree bumblebees are using|
I also spotted juvenile starlings and song thrushes on the back lawn. It isn’t really a lawn anymore though – orchard? Meadow? I am not sure what to call it. Both are red list birds along with house sparrows who also successfully bred in the garden. The dunnock remains amber listed (not as endangered) but also bred in the garden. A juvenile song thrush flew up onto the fence post and peered into the kitchen window. The picket fencing around the back lawn is so that we could (once upon a time) keep the poultry off the lawn. The vegetable patch also has a picket fence around it. We stopped trying to keep the poultry off in about 2012 when we had a real fox problem. It is better for them to be gathering close to the house. We also put the ducks away at dusk as this helps deter fox problems.
Tree bumblebees have decided to colonise the garden. These are the only bumblebees who nest in bird boxes and one of our tit boxes has a nest. They nest in disused nests and only use it for about 3 -4 months. They are generally docile. Basically you don’t want to be continually walking in their flight path but mainly they will not seek out confrontation. They are a recent settler from Spain and appear to be taking a vacant niche and therefore are to be welcomed. After they leave, I will clean out the tit box and hope for a repeat of something next year.
So I can already see successes and hope to build on these.