Sunday, February 21, 2021
The RSPB are doing their garden birdwatch, so we thought we’d have a go at the orchard. We dug the pond just over eight years ago, and it has had time to get established and now supports a whole community of birds, insects and pond life. There is not a lot of standing water in this area, so our pond is a magnet for all sorts of birds, who hop from the surrounding trees, onto the bulrushes, down to splash in the water, and lurk amongst the reeds. We arrived to see a mass of goldfinches, with their pretty yellow and red faces, who of course never keep still enough to count. Blackbirds, great tits, chaffinches followed. A couple of crows and a magpie cruised down for a moment but didn’t loiter. I have often seen robins and dunnocks here, and I spotted them sitting on trees next to the allotment wall. A small (very small) murmuration of starlings flowed into the neighbouring field, and one or two peeled off and hopped boldly into the orchard. In the summer they love to take noisy baths in the shallow part of the pond. I really wanted to see a blue tit because I know they are around, and finally, just before we left, one obligingly alighted on the pear tree. I did a final sweep with the binoculars, and spotted, creeping warily beneath the hedge, a pair of greenfinches. We’d seen them in the summer, but not since. Then finally, out of the corner of my eye, there was a tatty looking thrush – something wasn’t right, what was with the big white eye stripe? It had its back to us, but it took a while to realise it was a lone redwing. There were probably others, but we didn’t have time to seek them out. We were pleased with our tally of twelve birds, but even more pleased that we have created this resource which attracts and nourishes so much life.