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!

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.