• Monday, January 11th, 2010
Long-tailed tits have become more accustomed to gardens and this year it’s been particularly noticeable. Going back 3 years ago they were hardly ever seen, but now I spot them on a daily basis on my bird feeders. Apparently the long-tailed tits entered the RSPB Big Garden watch top 10 list of most common garden birds for the first time last year. Long tailed tits are small insectivorous birds with, as the name suggest a long tail (see the pictures taken in my garden below).
Long Tailed Tit
They didn’t used to be so common in gardens and preferred hedgerows and woodlands as their natural habitat but bird experts say that the long run of mild winters has resulted in fewer deaths each year which means that there are more of them able to breed in spring. And they also seem to have adapted and learned to feed from tables or feeders.
They are one of the most graceful little birds I have seen in my garden and I enjoy watching them mostly at the weekend. Long-tailed tits normally travel as a group and this year I have been able to count groups of 6 coming all together to feed on my feeders. Having obeserved them on a daily basis I get the impression that one of the birds of the group is in charge of keeping an eye out for danger whilst the other can feed safely.
Long Tailed Tit on feeder
They are very sociable birds indeed and not too scared of humans.
They seem to enjoy the fat balls as well as the special robin grain feed which I have included against a south facing wall near the house.
I may not be doing much gardening at present due to the cold weather but there are many birds to take care of and feed.
• Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
I like to dig my vegetable plot every winter/spring – not only because it is good exercise at this time of year but also because it allows me to give the area a good clean up and prepare for the spring time. It allows me to release any stress or anxiety that may have built up during a busy working week in the office.
Digging my garden
Now you don’t have to dig your garden if you do not want to, particularly since it is now commonly acknowledged amongst experienced gardeners that as an alternative to digging you can mulch and cover your soil with compost or well rotted manure. And you can just let the worms get on with the task of incorporating the organic matter into your soil.
Personally I prefer to dig my vegetable plot every winter because of the nature of my soil – heavy clay which benefits from being broken up and enriched regularly.
As I am writing this I realize that I am behind on my digging and currently I am still tackling the area where my squash, sweet corn and dwarf green beans were grown last year.
Naturally my faithful mascot – Fat ball Rob – will come and join me and seek any little worm which I have exposed in the process.
Obviously any arduous activity such as digging is always followed by a comforting cup of English tea and that’s me for the day!
My top tip: if there has been a lot of rain recently it is best not to dig the ground not just because it will be messy (this has never stopped me!) but trampling over wet ground only compacts it further.
Was it tip-top for you? Please leave a comment.