Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Every year a pheasant raises a large brood of chicks in the garden; although this is not particularly popular with the gardeners - dust bathing amongst vegetable seeds is a nuisance! - it is always a hit with the visitors. Many people have been photographing her and her wandering, chirping collection of mottled chicks as they dive in and out of the borders. They are quite comical as they crash land off low stone walls or bump into each other. Yesterday I decided to take my own photographs for my blog so this is her appropriately looking out from amongst the foliage of Aster 'Star of Chesters'.



I next tried to photograph the chicks - not an easy task as they are constantly rushing about! I managed with the one you can see on the right and was taking this, aware that by my elbow was another chick... as I pressed the button I felt a fierce flutter of wings and a sparrowhawk snatched the other chick from right next to me in a precise movement and flew off to the yew tree. She had been so entirely focused on grabbing the chick that the sparrowhawk seemed to have completely ignored me, even though her wings almost brushed my arm. This single mindedness doesn't surprise me as I had a similar experience some years ago when a sparrowhawk took a baby wren from right in front of me.

The Thyme Bank is in flower early this year - almost by a month - and many other plants seem to be flowering before their foliage has achieved its usual height. The garden looks wonderful though and as we are growing more and more late perennials, I don't worry about it running out of steam. Particular delights are the double Ranunculus aconitifolius known as Fair Maids of France, the many alliums and nectaroscordums, the multicoloured rows of chives including 'Pink Perfection' and 'Black Isle Blush', the fresh yellow of perfoliate alexanders and the first flush of hardy geraniums. We have an Organic Day planned for Saturday June 23rd, with free entry to the garden to celebrate organic growing and wildlife - more on this in my next blog...



2 comments:

preety said...

lovely pictures. i love your blog. shall visit it more often.

Janet said...

The bird life in the garden gets more interesting all the time. Only recently at a quiet time in the garden I watched two greater spotted woodpeckers at the same time feeding and generally busying themselves. They are such beautiful birds when you can get close enogh to se their colouring. How amazing that the sparrowhawk took such little notice of your presence. Sad for the pheasant chick, but it is alays a good sign when predators are present that the supply of prey is plentiful enough to make it worth their while bothering to hang around.