Visitors to the bird table.

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Visitors to the bird table.

Post by wayland on Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:31 am

We are now feeding the birds and will do for the rest of the winter and into late spring. With the aid of the camera trap, I have a notion to run a small survey on what visits our bird table. I will post pics here for anyone interested. I would be interested to hear about what visits you Very Happy
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Re: Visitors to the bird table.

Post by wayland on Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:41 am

Wonderful thing. Nature. I am all set up to film those that enter my small wildlife copse. Nuffin. Feeders totally ignored. It must be a good sign me thinks. They are not hungry enough, or that is what I choose to think. The copse is maturing nicely and getting quite dense, I suppose the critters will find it soon enough
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Re: Visitors to the bird table.

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:05 am

The countryside is still well-stocked with seeds, berries, wild fruits and insects, so the birds ard not yet interested in feeders. Far better for attracting them is a good water source - I find the pond to be fantastic in that respect. It's right outside the kitchen window so I have a perfect view. At the moment I'm getting grey wagtails, pied wagtails, robins, wrens, blue and great tits, blackbirds, song thrushes, mistle thrushes, goldfinches, chaffinches, siskins, redpolls, collared doves, house sparrows, dunnocks, starlings, bullfinches - all arrive at some stage during the day to drink and bathe. Funny thing though - no greenfinches, which used to be abundant in the garden and are now a rare sight. I read somewhere that they had become victim to some sort of disease - an awful pity if they go the way of the yellowhammer, which is now extinct in these parts. Another bird which used to be fairly common around here is the stonechat, but since that hard winter we had a few years ago, I rarely see one. Goldcrests are ten-a-penny in the garden but, for some reason, they never seem to come to the pond - likewise the long-tailed tits.

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Re: Visitors to the bird table.

Post by wayland on Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:44 am

Hi Sean. You do have an impressive amount of bird species visiting you. Far more than us I am sure. We lived in town for a while in the UK and was glad to have many species visit the feeding station set up in our tiny back garden. Moving to a smallholding in the Fens the numbers became few. Apart from water fowl which were in abundance. We would be forgiven to think that a rural location would mean more wildlife which is not the case. I would have thought that living here in rural Ireland with all these woods, hedges, streams and grazing land around would lead to an abundance of wildlife. Its not the case here anyway. I am pleased to see an abundance of Gold Crest`s though. A bird that I only saw once in my life prior to moving to Ireland. Hopefully the trail cam will capture far more than I have noticed. How did the pond do this year? Our established pond did well over the summer. The few fish we have spawned and now we have hundreds of fry. I dont suppose they all will survive the winter. I will have to do some thinning next year. Frogs spawned in the spring as usual and everywhere I look there are hundreds of critters running around the bottom. We also had a number of huge Dragonflies haul themselves out and metamorphosize into brown helicopters. I probably spent too much time just staring into this pond this year, but what the heck. The new pond I dug to help with the irrigation had sticklebacks. I hope they are still in there but I will have to put a liner in it sometime and so it will be much disturbed.
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Re: Visitors to the bird table.

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:31 pm

Hey Wayland,
I put the abundance of birds in my garden down to three things: first, I never use insecticides or herbicides or any other sort of sprays. Secondly, it's a no-cat zone. I haven't seen a cat around this neck of the woods for years. And, third, I think the prescence of hens, ducks and geese walking freely around the place helps to attract wild birds. But the pond is definitely a major attraction too. Certainly for species like wagtails it's a magnet in this area where there is no other bit of standing water for miles.
As for the pond itself, I had a good crop of tadpoles and all the usual water creatures - including the impressive brown and blue helicopters that you mentioned - which was the main reason for building the pond in the first place! Several species - hawkers, darters and a couple of damselflies arrived and laid eggs, so that was a definite success! But no fish. I'm toying with the idea of getting some - maybe sticklebacks or minnows.... what d'you think? Would they affect the dragonfly population?

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Re: Visitors to the bird table.

Post by wayland Yesterday at 9:54 am

I wish I lived in a cat free zone Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Sadistic killers of wildlife. Nuff said. Unfortunately both Minnows and Sticklebacks require running water to thrive but their are many native species that will luv the protective environment that your pond can offer. Do you have experience of Minnow Traps?. We used to make them as kids and spend hours trapping allsorts. Youtube have many designs to try. If I had a new pond that was at least a year old I would plan to stock it in July next year. As most native fish spawn between march and June there would be lots of fry available at this time. If these traps are put into pools/ponds such as yours whatever you catch would thrive in your pond. If you have the knowing of drilling holes in glass, clear wine bottles with their bases drilled make fine traps. Coke bottles with their necks inverted are easier to make  but would need to be weighted. A fun enterprise to do. Roach, Rudd, Perch, are a few that would thrive in your pond and a few Tench (The doctor) are a must. As to Dragonflies!!. Their larva are a predacious carnivore and might live in your pond some years before metamorphosing. They will eat anything that they can catch hold of. Tadpoles, small fry
etc etc. An important  balancer me thinks. Having said that larger fish will eat them so balance is maintained. Writing this has stirred childhood memories. Something for me to plan for next year and my new pond  Very Happy .
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