Nature Notes: December 2021

As M does all of the garden-related work, I’ve let him do this post!

“December has been a slow month in the garden for many different reasons: as well as work commitments and deadlines for reports, there have also been two large storms to contend with (although Arwen blew itself out before getting to us).

The birds and squirrels, however, have not been bothered in the slightest, with regular visits to the feeders continuing. Even in blowing wind and heavy rain, the squirrels were out feeding and using their tails as a sort of umbrella. There is, it seems, now a coordinated effort from the squirrels to empty the seed feeder as quickly as possible, usually by liberally spreading it onto the ground below and which not even the birds have been able to hoover up. Then they invite the friends in and have a party. This, however, does distract them from the fat ball feeders, which are specifically for the smaller birds such as the tits, robin and blackbirds. 

We have also noticed a fieldfare visiting recently. Doesn’t seem to have fed much, though. Probably just sussing out the competition, or the food on offer.

As usual I have taken charge of the Christmas tree and this year have gone for a real tree that has been “pot-grown”. I managed to assure C that this was a good idea and promptly loaded the trolley with two bags of compost and a rather large plastic pot which I insisted was necessary (not much to plant in winter and I have to take every opportunity!) – it now sits in our living room all decorated and hopefully will allow us to have a re-usable Christmas tree for a few years (until I decide that it needs to be “freed” and plant it in the garden that is!).

The storm did, however, manage to break one of the main branches for one of the trees in the lane behind us which caused the council to come out and chainsaw it which was a shame but we have plenty more so I think the squirrels won’t miss it too much. Another issue I need to deal with is the leaves. I have left them for now as the squirrels and birds seem to enjoy playing with them but I think I need to ask for a rake for Christmas…”

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