“Look! What’s that?” called David first thing this morning, pointing out of the kitchen window at our bird feeding station. At first I thought it was a small odd-looking jay but then I realised that it was an extremely large finch. I knew this was special, an unusual visitor, but it took a while for my brain to get into gear and flick through tucked away memories. I rushed to grab my glasses and managed a fleeting proper look before it flew off. A hawfinch. Yes, definitely a hawfinch! Wow. I’ve not seen one for years and years. They’re elusive birds and on the Red List (which means there is concern over the number of breeding pairs in the UK) so it was brilliant to see one here and a lovely start to the day. (This isn’t my photo. I am rubbish at taking photos of moving things! I found it on this website.)

Honestly, of all the changes we’ve made to this garden I think putting in a bird feeding ‘station’ has given us the most pleasure. We all stand in the kitchen watching the comings and goings of goldfinches, bluetits, coal tits, great tits, robins, greenfinches, dunnocks, chaffinches etc as we butter our toast. There’s a water spray bottle on the windowsill to blast at the cats when they sit underneath gazing up hopefully…

Talking of cats, a few hours later, I was sitting at my desk and heard a kerfuffle outside. I glanced up to see both cats on the wall, clearly up to no good. Grrr. I stormed outside to shoo them away and found the object of their attentions sheltering in the lavender hedge – a baby rabbit. Goodness knows what that was doing in our garden. I’m sure we haven’t had rabbits in here before so I reckon the pesky cats picked one up on the Leas, the National Trust land just up the road, and carried it back home to play with. The dog soon joined me and was very interested in the cowering rabbit. I called David to stand guard over it while I took the dog back indoors and found some gloves and a box to put the rabbit in. As soon as I returned and we tried to grab the rabbit, it scarpered between our legs and along the hedge into next door’s garden. Hopefully it found its way home. I’ve been keeping a weather eye on our pets ever since.

Later this evening: the hawfinch came back! It sat on the branch of our Heath Robinson bird feeder ‘tree’ for ages having a good look around. Now it knows we’re a good source of food, hopefully it’ll come again 🙂

Have you any plans for the bank holiday weekend? We’ve been invited to a party tomorrow but otherwise we’ll be taxi-ing our children around (the middle ones driving test booked in June!) and doing as much as possible in the garden, weather permitting. Hope you have a lovely one.


14 thoughts on “Wildlife

  1. Observing the wildlife that visit our garden is a joy, from badgers to honeybees. Helping at the village plant sale on Saturday, then working in the garden preparing for our open day.

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  2. A hawfinch, how wonderful, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. The biggest boy (the birdwatcher) saw his first ones when he did work experience in the forest a couple of months ago, but just a brief glimpse as they flew over. It would be amazing if it became a regular visitor to you. Wildlife in the garden is such a pleasure isn’t it. We’ve got blue tits in our nest box this year. They’re so busy at the moment, in and out feeding their chicks. And crows and magpies regularly visiting the pond in the hopes of snapping up a frog, which is a bit gruesome, but no doubt they have chicks to feed as well. Hope you have a lovely bank holiday weekend. It’s a bit on the chilly side out there at the moment. I normally put my tomatoes out in May, but they’ve had a brief reprieve until the wind changes. CJ xx

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  3. Oh what an exciting visitor Sam – that is the hawfinch, bunnies in the garden are not good news. No bank holiday plans as such. Now that we are no longer working bank holidays are not as special as they once were 😄 Hoping to do some gardening out there and potter in the greenhouse too. Hope that you have a good weekend.

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  4. We do a lot of gazing out of the windows too – no hawfinches though no, thankfully, rabbits! As Anna says, for us a bank hol weekend is ‘just’ another useful 3 days!!

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  5. The hawfinch is quite handsome – that’s a species we don’t have. On the other hand, we have WAY TOO MANY rabbits. Earlier this evening I saw 4 or 5 chasing each other around the garden. I wish I could put them all in a rabbit stew.

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