Birding at Mother's Garden - June 2011

By Martin Kirby

The joy of swimming in the farm reservoir while the Sand Martins and Swallows swoop to drink around our heads has to be balanced with the droppings hitting the sheets on the washing line. Maybe we need to move the line! Another question is how long we can tolerate the Swallows nesting in the barn. We love them and will never stop them, but there are seven nests on the high beams now and the mess means we need to cover everything. Strangely the Bee-Eaters have not come near our four hives so far this summer, but they are here in plenty, increasing in number. We have found new colonies, and see one pair boldly return to an old site in a bank right beside the lane. The Golden Orioles sing at sunrise and the Buzzard patrols, and the best sightings have been of a Pied Flycatcher, Peregrine, Bonelli's eagle that glided very low over the farm, and an Alpine Chough. The Chough was a first for us, and clearly identifiable. The sighting was, naturally, higher in the mountains, but still only about 5 miles from Mother's Garden. A butterfly footnote. All of the honeysuckle we have planted is bringing not only glorious scent but a surge in the number of Southern White Admirals. The larger White Admirals are again much in evidence, but I have not seen a Swallowtail caterpillar on the fennel or a Swallowtail butterfly on the farm so far this year. It can't be long.......


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