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Essex Field Club
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The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more

Sat 9th June 2012 08:55 by Michael Daniels
Have been watching the present series of Springwatch on BBC TV.  These appear to have shown an improvement on previous programs - with less contrived hilarity which was found unnecessary distracting.

Their box containing a Blue Tit family fell fowl of the atrocious weather over the extended Jubilee weekend. Our brood, perhaps luckily, fledged and departed the nest on the Saturday.  I say luckily, but what was their fate out in the wider world to be drenched by those Sunday monsoons and other downpours since?  As was pointed out on the program, the fierce rain would have washed the bird's largely catapillar food out of the foliage on to the ground thus not the place where Tit parents would have foraged for vital supplies. So our little family also may have been in trouble, but I do notice that ground beneath some of the thickest cover around this garden still looks fairly dry, therefore, there is still some hope left for their survival.

For our populous ground feeding birds I found an answer to the problem imposed by the ever resident Wood Pigeons gobbling up all the scraps we put out.  Gulls also raid the food and within a few short minutes all is gone.  I must admit to being a bit of a hoarder and when we changed our refrigerator, I retained the wire drawers er, 'might come in useful' Now they have and by blocking the one open end with a polystyrene panels suitably drilled to allow access for species up to Blackbird size, these selective feeders have proved most successful. Redundant fridge drawers used as garden bird feeders Copyright: Michael Daniels Initially we had some very frustrated looking Woodies and it was quite amusing to watch one female Blackbird perched on the wire becoming near demented with the sight below of a delectable meal just out of reach.  But she and her fellows eventually reasoned those end holes provided were the way in to secure sustenance both for themselves and for several broods.  Dunnocks, Sparrows and Robins also being reared in the close by large privit hedge, and the species last named possibly in an open box I provided, but they all entered through the mesh - no problem and do they eat! 

Graham, as he informs us is still an early riser following his days with the GPO.  So Graham did you manage to see anything of the Transit of Venus?  I pondered whether to remind members of this event, but telling folk they had to be out watching at four am and with only the faintest hope of seeing the Transit, I didn't feel it was worth raising any expectations.  My cousin in Australia I imagine fared better, although they have had quite a few periods of inclement weather.

By the way, my wife does have concern for my being mean to those Woodies, so I throw them some grain and for her and my reward they kindly leave us donations of guano, especially in the bird bath!



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