If you remember, last month I said fingers crossed for house martins returning in 2021. They’ve gone one better and are now ensconced in one of the ancient nest boxes we put up! Maybe they are sitting on eggs – there’s certainly a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. We see them flashing out across the fields, and sometimes shooting back into the nest. It’s a joyous sight for us, because years ago, (and I do mean years!) Geoffrey Sizzey’s garage at Newpound was a summer home for house martins. The old-fashioned pumps had fixed canopies, just the right height, and there were five or six nests every year – the birds totally unfazed by all of us coming and going underneath. We loved them. It was the reason we always got our petrol there! Inevitably as time went on a few car owners complained about ‘dropping’ and eventually to our dismay the nests were removed. The birds returned the next summer to find themselves homeless. We watched some of them flying aimlessly around and eventually moving on. So, what a joy to have them under our roof edge now. They might even be distant descendants of the Garage Gang! We definitely plan more nests for next year!

Woodpeckers on a bird feederOur garden is still full of birds. We have starlings galore – third brood perhaps? And woodpeckers are having a great year. They’re Spotted woodpeckersometimes on all three nut feeders at the same time. I’ve invested in a squirrel-proof feeder (see below) – which was a bit daunting to set up, but definitely works, and all the birds are now using it. We’ve also put up a squirrel feeder box, but they don’t seem to have worked it out yet – just lift the lid, guys!

Meanwhile there’s now a lone moorhen on the village pond, totally surrounded by ducks – the original first brood have decided they have squatters’ rights. We feed them most days and some of them realise corn’s coming as soon as they see us! It’s so lovely that they are welcome in the gardens close by, and don’t have to cross that busy road too often. Traffic is certainly building up again – which is another inevitability I suppose – hey ho!

Talking of ducks, a very belated thank you to the young Duck-Hero of Newpound Lane. A local lady heard a duck calling loudly. Following these anxious sounding calls, she found a duck running up and down by the deep drain not far from her gate, and to her dismay saw ducklings ignoring the mother’s frantic calls and disappearing down through the holes in the cover. Luckily, help was recruited from the house across the road. Our hero settled down beside the drain, managed to lift the cover, and carefully retrieved every last one of those terrified little bundles of feathers. Hooray! They were swiftly gathered up by Mum and led away to safety. And most of them are now happily waiting for corn by the pond! So, thank you, D-H!

PS Apologies to Three Lane’s End Farm (for the extra path!)



Sue J