“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.