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16 February 2020
A robin wakes me up now in the mornings

first bird of the dawn, melodic, even sorrowful but more importantly before the alarm clock and signalling bit by bit the days are getting longer. He sings for perhaps 15 mins a solo run until a song thrush breaks voice, more  jaunty, more happy, even joyous, quickly followed by the haunting pipes of a mistle thrush far away high up in a tree somewhere, they always are.
The trio have the garden to themselves until the horizon of the Marlborough downs appears tree by tree, by silhouette and a carrion crow caws its lazy flight looking for breakfast. Then all goes quiet until a great spotted woodpecker beats its beak on a hollow branch on the big larch. I am here, look this is my territory and see what a good drummer I am.
And some people sleep with the windows shut?

Bird table
The bird table this year is particularly bountiful with blue tits and greenfinches, at least double what we normally see. The birds cannot be that hungry, it has been so mild, so I deduce they had a good season last year. Plenty of the normal fare but no nuthatches and less long tailed tits. The long tailed tits worry me as both last year and the year before their nest were predated and I love their happy tweeting wanderings around the garden.

My solution is to plant some gorse to attract them to nest in a save place. Try and buy gorse in a nursery – its difficult, I will have to go up on the Downs to find some, with permission of course!

Apart from my vegetables every plant we grow now is with wildlife in mind and we will halve the mowing regime to create more patches of long grass and more mown paths, its exciting a new way of gardening. This medlar unfortunately died but it has really interesting branches, I will plant a honeysuckle against it and leave it for the birds.

Gardening jobs

I still cannot get on the garden it is so wet, but I did manage to cut some pea sticks from my mini hazel coppice and finally clean up the greenhouse, including sowing tomatoes in a propagator (Gardeners’ Delight and Green Zebra). I will also move a few snowdrops around this weekend rain or shine. Our outdoor seating surrounded by wildflowers last May

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