Young Robin - taken 2009 in back garden - Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland


When was the last time you actually watched wildlife in your back garden?

Today? Last week? Can't remember? In today's modern world, we are finding it increasingly difficult to relax and take time out from work or family. This blog is to remind you all of the free entertainment that we can enjoy each and every day - WILDLIFE!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Weekly Tweet has Moved!

After encountering problems with Blogger for a while now (mainly with photos), I've decided to move to WordPress.
Unfortunately I've had to change the blogs name to Shazzas Backyard Blog 

Please click on the link to have a look.
I hope you will all still visit me :-) Thanks

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Good News

Where do I begin?  After weeks of neglecting Weekly Tweet & all the blogs I follow, I can now get back on track - my business is now full time which means I get my evenings & weekends back to enjoy the birds again! Happy Days!  Of course, that means you have to read more of my waffle ;-)

First things first updates on our garden activity:- we still have plenty of juveniles visiting - Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Starlings, Sparrows, even a couple of young Linnets (no photos though, I'm afraid).

Another piece of good news is the Housemartins won their nest back & are busy flitting back and forth feeding - I'd love to see them fledge (especially as I now work from home) but don't think I can sit glued to the window all day (unfortunately)!

We have been inundated with Starlings every day and I've noticed about 3 that have varying discolouration to their heads / beaks.  Does anyone know what this is? Have they picked up some kind of illness or is it just different colouring?

Another piece of good news - guess what we rescued this morning?  This fella was found down our drain (we must get a cover for it), a bit wet & probably tired but was a good size and seemed okay.
We placed it at the back of the garden, next to the shed where its all overgrown and covered in leaves / ivy.
After watching it for half an hour (just to make sure it's okay), it started to move and has now buried itself underneath all the leaf litter.
This is my first encounter with a Hedgehog over here in Ireland and I'm pleased to say it was a happy one!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Where's the reliable bird gone?

From the very first day we moved in we thought it odd that we hadn't seen a Robin in our garden.  We assumed it would eventually find us but after 3 months of living here, we've still not seen or heard one around the neighbourhood!  Is that normal? I've never lived anywhere before where there's not been the faithful old Robin visiting.
We even left a spade upright in the soil for it to land on :-)

We do have lots of Sparrows and Starlings though, could it be that there's too much competition for food?  Maybe we should've waited before buying the Robins nest box - needless to say that's empty but it is well covered now by all the ivy and clematis that's growing around it!

The garden is still full of fledglings which is always nice to see even though they do make a racket at 5.30am!
I think there's bad news regarding the Housemartins nest - yesterday a male Sparrow decided it liked the look of the nest and moved in!  I've never seen that before and the Housemartins certainly didn't like it.  I'm not sure if there's eggs / chicks inside but I'd say the family has been evicted!
Surely the Sparrows would be settled in their own nests by now?  I'm hoping the Housemartins win it back - there were quite a few mobbing the intruder whenever he flew out and he appeared to be by himself.

The next couple of photos are of flowers in our garden - I'm not really a flower person so I'm not even going to try to name them but I just like the colours!
And finally, one of the first flower on our Mangetout plants!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Family Meeting

Don't you just love Spring?!  Our garden has all of a sudden become a focal point for families of Starlings & Sparrows.  I love the way the fledglings open their beaks & flap their wings whenever an adult bird is near - they don't care if it's their parent or not - it has food!!
We have this small family of Greenfinches down most evenings now, the young are so adorable, often sitting there for half an hour or more with the one sunflower seed trying to get to the middle! I suppose I should really start buying the sunflower hearts for them instead to make it a bit easier!

Also saw something really positive at the weekend - the Housemartins are back rebuilding their old nests at the side of our neighbour's house!  It seems to be taking them a while but fingers crossed we'll have young in a couple of months!  I've never seen so many Housemartins before swirling above the roofs and they're so vicious to each other! One could be clinging on to the wall and another will literally fly up and pull it off! I'm going to try and video them this weekend if the weather is okay (i.e. dry!)

Will also keep an eye out for other fledglings in our garden in between shooing next doors cats away!
Does anyone have  any tips for keeping cats out? So far we've come up with barbed wire and a gun! Don't think the neighbours would approve though!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Warning - Long Post!

I can't believe how long it's been since my last post! I must apologise for not updating Weekly Tweet & also for not checking the other blogs I follow!  Work / business commitments have taken over in the last few weeks & I'm ashamed to say I've not really been observing the garden as much as I'd like to!
However, a quick update is long overdue... in the last month activity has picked up and we've had Siskins, Chaffinches, Feral Pigeons and plenty of Sparrows.

The evenings are now filled with the chattering of House Martins and Swifts flying over the roofs and the chirping of baby Starlings in the eaves of the neighbours houses.  I love this time of year and can't wait until we start getting the baby Sparrows & Starlings in the garden.

Another reason for the delay in posting is that we were on holiday last week in gorgeous County Kerry.  I love the South West of Ireland and certainly recommend the place we stayed (Inch Strand - where Ryans Daughter was filmed!).
The brilliant news is that we saw 4 new species that we've never seen before!
We took a trip to the Skelligs which was supposed to have Puffins running around your feet - we saw none! Until just before we left when one flew onto the island and landed rather clumsily under a rock!  I managed to take a shaky photo of 4 floating on the sea - I actually didn't know what I was photographing as I was quite high up but am REALLY pleased they turned out to be Puffins!
Whilst on the Skelligs there was the unmistakable sound of a Wren singing it's little heart out - I eventually found it perched on the edge of the cliff!

On leaving the island, the boat took us around Little Skellig - a huge Gannet colony - these are my favourite sea birds, I think they're so graceful and beautiful with their golden caps! The photos aren't brilliant as they were taken from the boat on an extremely choppy day (I'm not very good on boats!), but I think you can get the idea of how many Gannets are on there!

We had a regular visitor at our cottage of a Mistle Thrush every day (species No.2) which seemed to like the small lawn outside the front door!

Species number 3 was a Peregrine Falcon! Unfortunately I didn't get any shots of this as it took us by surprise - we'd stopped at the side of a cliff to take some scenery photos (and also some of the chap below!), climbed down the grassy bank a bit and something took off from below the ledge - it circled above the sea then disappeared - it was definitely a Peregrine though, no mistaking the shape / colour!
Lastly species No. 4 were a pair of Choughs!  These were above us on a deserted beach digging around the grass / sand of the cliffs - they were gorgeous, so glossy. Photos aren't the best I'm afraid!
So, May definitely started off well - unfortunately I didn't see any new species for April but the 4 in May certainly made up for it!
I'll try not to leave it so long before my next post and I'll sort out some more photos of Kerry.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Simply Stoned!

We went for a walk yesterday evening after work and came across this obliging poser!

I love where we live!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New Feeder.......New Bird

Okay so the new bird wasn't on the new feeder but they are both new!
The bird is our very first Greenfinch in the new garden! I couldn't see any more so I'm not sure if this one is single or just went for a wander by itself!

Apologies for the quality of the photos - they were taken through the kitchen blinds!
The new feeder is a peanut one that I just couldn't resist!  It's hooked on the corner of our bungalow and in perfect view from the bedroom window!
A solitary Blue Tit has already visited it this afternoon - it's perfect for the "clinger on" birds and it's out of the way of the main feeders so the Starlings won't monopolise it!
So the view from our patio chairs is this....

What more could we want!?