“Lockdown” Birding & Wildlife by Marion Turner

Hi everyone

We all hope that you are enjoying being at home or able to work from home during “lockdown” and that you are able to find time in the day to watch the birdlife, wildlife or just to admire the flora and fauna either in your garden, or whilst out for your permitted daily exercise. I am sure that all members would agree that if you are still going to work as a key worker, whatever that role may be, we are very grateful to you for keeping the world ticking over.

As SLB won’t be issuing a May Newsletter, sorry to disappoint, but I am sure you all understand it is for the best that Sue doesn’t have to make a non essential journey to pay for and collect it and that’s assuming the printers are actually open, instead I will “waffle” on for a bit about what we have seen in our garden.  As my elderly mother lives with us none of us have left the property in the last 5 weeks so our garden has become our world and we are extremely grateful to have one. Graham is working from home so I have kept myself busy in the garden being supervised by mother, so this fabulous weather has really helped.

Most mornings me & mum have a nature ramble around the garden to check out the bug house we made from an old laundry basket to see what’s moved in, keeping well clear of the big spider that has taken up residence in it.


I have been a “guardian”of the red Mason bee for a few years now and so having received this years cocoons we put them out into the emergence box a couple of weeks ago and I am very pleased to say they have nearly all hatched out now in this nice warm weather.


They are a solitary bee so there are no hives to look after and more importantly they very rarely sting. They are especially good pollinators of fruit trees and bushes so needless to say we have both in the garden to give them plenty to feed on once they have emerged.


Last year we had 30 cocoons sent which all hatched and when we sent back the tubes containing their eggs we were told there were 194 eggs in them which I was amazed by.

It is then onto the grass and wildflower area we have to see what’s growing. Among the grasses we started with violets & snake head fritillary and celandine which have now been joined by red campion, vipers-bugloss and plantains. It is rather exciting to see what else may come as the area becomes more established.


On the bird front we have had nesting Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Wren and Song Thrush who are all now busy feeding their young either at the nest or in the Blackbirds case in whatever cover their young are hiding in (in this case our wood store or undergrowth).


We still have a Wood Pigeon on a nest in the hedge in the back garden and I am sure there are other nests we have yet to discover.


Not much to report on our boxes but there is still plenty of time for them to become someone’s “des res”. In the garden on our feeders and tables we have enjoyed the usual visitors Blue, Great & Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Red-legged Partridge, Magpie & Crow. Whilst overhead or in the neighbouring fields we have noted Jackdaw, Rook, Raven, Buzzard, Mistle Thrush, Pheasant & Peregrine Falcon. At night time we have Tawny Owl & a neighbour has “shouted” to us that she has a Barn Owl in one of her trees most nights but we have yet to see it. However, our star bird for the last couple of weeks has been Lapwing who appear to be defending a possible nesting site in the field at the back of our garden. This is the first time in the 25 years we have lived here that we have heard them for so long. I am not sure whether the farmer has left a bit of rough ground for them but they are certainly hanging around and we are keeping everything crossed that they are successful. Our only two summer visitors so far in the garden have been a pair of Blackcap and a single Chiffchaff.

Foxes still visit in the night as they always leave some pooh as evidence and they are regularly captured on our camera trap.


Our partially blind hedgehog still visits during the day to either eat it’s own food that we put out or to share our cat Pippins food if Pips eating al fresco. It is a sight to behold as Pippin regularly gives up his dish for one of our male Blackbirds and the other day even the Blackbird was moved aside by the visiting Hedgehog all being watched by our dog Kizzie who wanted to join in the meal!


I agree it is a very odd world we are currently living in but I realise that you just have to make the best of what you have got to get you through the time. We have to count ourselves as lucky that we have a hobby that you can do anywhere and within reason at anytime of the year, whether you have a large or small garden or even no garden at all we can all enjoy the birds we encounter.

Stay safe and stay sane – hopefully things might start to get back to normal soon but in the meantime enjoy your birds.

Maz, Graham & Mum