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, March 28, 2010

New Home!

We have finally moved into our new house, after just over a week of packing, cleaning, working, unpacking, more cleaning - I've come to the conclusion I hate moving!
The new home is lovely and the back garden is fantastic!  Its quite a mature garden with lots of shrubs & bushes.

It has a narrow path leading you all the way around the grass to the back of the garden through more bushes and ends up at a shed which is covered in ivy!
I would like to say it's a haven for birds but we've had 2 different cats hiding in the garden so far :-(
We have got our priorities right though, and after an hour of being in the house on the first day, we decided unpacking can wait - the feeders must go up in the garden first!
So far, we've put up the coconut, seed feeder and the house.  

 These are all just in temporary positions until we get sorted.
After just 4 days, the House Sparrows have found the house!
The Starlings have discovered the coconut!
A couple of Coal Tits have been helping themselves to the Sunflower Seeds, Blackbirds have been rummaging around in the tree bark under the shrubs and a Dunnock has been underneath the seed house picking up any bits that the Sparrows throw off.
We've also put up a nest box at the side of the shed in the hope that a Robin might take an interest (especially with all the cover there is!)

I'd forgotten how noisy Starlings & Sparrows can be having not had them in the garden for a year - I have actually missed them!  Hopefully, once more feeders and a bath have been put in the garden, there'll be plenty of photos to be taken!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thanks for my 'Firsts'

Well, tonight is our last night in this house - we move tomorrow to a new property with a new garden & I must admit I'm quite excited!
I've decided to dedicate this post to the 'firsts' of things I've seen since living here.
Even though the back garden is small, I love it! I love the fact it backs onto a wooded area where I saw my first fox cub "Peanut" - I'll never forget how chuffed I was when I first saw him and his 2 siblings eat the chopped apple I'd thrown out for the birds!

I'll also never forget the thrill of seeing my first Jay eat peanuts in our garden! This is a bird I'd only heard calling in a wood back home, I'd never actually seen how beautiful it was, so I was thrilled when we had a family of 5 visit our garden every day (this all seems like so long ago now!)

Then there's Cyril, the Badger, again something I'd never seen (alive!) who visited us every night for peanuts and whatever leftovers we threw out there - he absolutely adored peanut butter!

(apologies photos aren't the best!)
I saw my first (wild) Rat too - okay so I know some of you won't class that as necessarily a good thing but I think it's brilliant!  I've even discovered the hole which it climbs into with food - I'm sure there's probably babies in there somewhere!

Again, birdwise I've seen my first Redwing in the garden (okay it was hiding behind ferns but it was still there!) and my first Lesser Redpoll - I'm not going to bother posting photos of these again as neither were very good!

So, all in all, I will miss this garden or more to the point the wildlife within it!  I actually do feel sad when I think that the birds won't have anybody feeding them until new tenants move in & I've no idea how long that will be.

I know I shouldn't but tomorrow I'm going to throw anything I can find out for the birds & rat as a goodbye present - the only good thing is that the weather seems to be warming up slightly so they should be okay, after all they managed before we moved in......... and I can't really leave them a forwarding address!

My next post should be from the new house & new garden which looks like a little haven for garden birds..... ivy covered shed... lots of bushes... hedges... trees... I can't wait!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Murphy's Law

The week we're supposed to be moving out & I get a pair of gorgeous Greenfinches visiting the feeder!

I suppose that's what they call Murphy's Law over here!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Tonight I was looking through photos of the last house we lived in & ended up missing it quite badly (even though I wasn't that fussed when we left!).
Reason for missing it? The back garden - I know we have a kind of wooded area at the moment but I miss the 'normal' suburban back garden, with the Starlings and the Sparrows etc etc (okay I may have had a couple of glasses of red wine at this point)!
So anyway, this post is dedicated to our old back garden (apologies but all of these photos were taken with my old camera and through windows!) ......

We planted a 'wild flower meadow' in our back garden, neighbours may have thought it was 'messy' but nature loved it! I really miss the colours now - I can't wait for Spring/Summer to arrive properly!

We put up a wooden bird feeder on the side of the shed which the Sparrows loved - only thing was the Starlings also loved it when it rained to shelter in!

The summer before we moved we started getting a Goldfinch with a deformed claw (who I named Gripper to go with Stumpy the Starling!)

Unfortunately we moved house before I could really monitor 'Gripper', so I've no idea what happened to him (or her).
I'm actually looking forward to moving house again just to see what other birds I can get back in the garden!

Whale Update

Okay, I know this is supposed to be a garden bird blog but I thought I'd post an update regarding the dead whale we found down in Wexford.
I reported the finding to the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group ( when I got home.
They replied advising that there was a Pilot Whale stranded at that spot on 31 October last year which was buried and it's possible that it's the same one coming up again through the sand!  How bizarre is that?!
Anyway, I thought I'd better update just in case anybody wanted to know.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


At the risk of repeating myself, I need advice on what to do!

I know I've mentioned this before but I'm still not sure... we're hoping to move house in the next couple of weeks and the plan was to gradually decrease the amount of food I put out for the birds.

I've now completely run out of peanuts, there's only half a feeder of sunflower seeds and just 1 fatball left in the ring.

The problem is I wasn't expecting it to be this bloody cold every day and I'm finding it hard every morning not to refill all the feeders! Especially when there are 2 Long Tailed Tits huddled around the remaining fat ball - its quite a pathetic sight!

Some mornings its like a scene from Snow White in our back garden.. the pair of Robins sat watching you (glaring would be the correct term!), Chaffinches and Blackbirds throwing things around on the ground looking for something to eat and then there are the 2 Squirrels literally sat on the back doorstep waiting for you to throw nuts out!

So, what do I do? Do I give in and replenish all feeders to give them a chance or carry on and hope it warms up soon? If its the latter then I would have to leave all blinds closed as I don't think I could stand to see them all starving & shivering outside!

Please help!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I always go on to a website called every day just to see what's been reported in our locality whilst I've been at work.
Almost every day there are sightings of species I've never seen in a place called Tacumshin in County Wexford, so this weekend we decided to pay a visit to this lake.
So, what did we see.......?
Hmmmmm........ a dead whale (pilot whale we think) on the beach, not a very good start (quite sad really).
If you don't like gruesome pics then look away now!

So, continuing our walk we cut across the dunes to reach Tacumshin Lake, passing more remains of what looked like a wader along the way!

Thankfully when we reached the waters, there were live birds out there! Was beginning to think I was the grim reaper :-(

The place was full of waders, of which I'm no good at ID'ing (surprise surprise!), below is a picture of a Redshank (I think), although there have been sightings of a Spotted Redshank at the lake.

And I have no idea what these are....

In fact, I think the only waders I know are Turnstones.

We sat watching a flock of them not far from where we were sitting when a small bird dived at them before landing on a concrete post to the side of us.
The flash of bright turquoise and orange confirmed it was a Kingfisher! My new species for this month, as hard as it is to believe I have never ever seen this gorgeous bird! And I only saw it this time for about 15 seconds before it flew off (so no photo)!
We waited for about an hour in the biting sea breeze for it to return, hoping that it would land on the post that was conveniently positioned in front of us

but it didn't! I never even thought of seeing a Kingfisher at the beach, I still find it bizarre! Another first for me today was a Hen Harrier which came up from behind the dunes on the left of the picture above and flew over the water. Again, no photo as we were busy looking for the Kingfisher so missed the close up view of the bird of prey!
Just got a poor distance shot.

All in all it was a very good day, I've missed out the section about how bad the roads are and the fact there are no signs telling you how to get to the lake, or about how bad the parking is and the fact that ideally you need a 4x4 to navigate through the sand/mud/water!!

Just out of interest, yesterday sightings recorded at Tacumshin were:-
2 Buzzard
1 Hen Harrier
1 Spotted Redshank
1 Green Winged Teal
1 Glossy Ibis

And whilst we were there today, we missed 2 Red Kites and a Fan Tailed Warbler back at home in Wicklow!
We just can't win!