Today is not a good day for the allotment – it poured down with rain yesterday and has done the same all day today so the ground will be soggy and squelchy. However, it should encourage the potatoes and fill up the various water-butts.
So instead, I’ve been sitting watching the birds and other things from the dry of my computer desk.
The bluetits have obviously got young and, after a couple of weeks where the journeys in and out of the box have been few and far between, they are now dashing backwards and forwards every 30 seconds or so, interrupted when the squirrel decides to sit on top of their box, at which point they dash about trying to make up their minds which is more important, feeding their young or surviving the clutches of the squirrel. I haven’t seen them try to get in whilst the squirrel is about so discretion is obviously the better part.
The great-tits are also dashing backwards and forwards. They go to out seed basket, grab a sunflower seed, fly up into the oak, shell the seed then fly off elsewhere, repeating this every minute or so when they’re active.
Finally there’s the squirrel. We have a family of grey squirrels living somewhere not far away and we have an ongoing battle with them to keep them off the seeds and nuts without surrounding the baskets with barriers that would prevent the woodpeckers getting at the nuts.
I thought we had succeeded, and in fact for several years the seeds/nuts have been squirrel free. However, this year we seem to have acquired a more acrobatic and daredevil squirrel.
The seeds and nuts are suspended from our oak tree on long wires. So far this year the squirrel has:
- Slid down the wires (headfirst) to get at the seeds. (We put up a nut basket with a sliding cover but all he did was to go for the seeds instead, then we put up new, thinner wires and this stopped him);
- Jumped from a branch halfway up the tree across to the seeds (we cut off the branch which drove him further up the tree);
- Now he sits on top of the bluetit box summoning up courage and leaps, legs all outstretched to catch on something. It seems to work 50% of the time. Sometimes he misses and goes splat on the floor.
To give you an idea, here is a picture, BTW the bottom of the nutbasket is 6ft off the ground, just above head height.
What we do next, I’m not quite sure, we may have to invest in one of these large clear plastic domes but …