The garden feeding station is a massive success; loads of birds visiting the feeders and consuming around 4 kg of mixed seed and sunflower hearts every week, plus the obligatory fat balls. The variety is a little sparse, House Sparrows dominating the scene for the majority of the time, but Starlings, Collared Doves, Feral Pigeons, Great & Blue Tits, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, a pair of Rose - ringed Parakeets and a Robin also take advantage of the facilities. I have to admit to spending considerable amounts of time staring out of the kitchen and marveling at the antics of these feeding birds.
There is, however, a down side to this generosity - Brown Rats! They have always been a feature of our living with a farm at the bottom of the garden. Each harvest sees these creatures move out of the crops and into the hedgerows and gardens along Vine Close, so it's not a surprise to see a rat scurry across the lawn during the autumn. To have them feeding, unconcernedly, under the feeding station is taking the piss. I've been forced to use violence - my trusty 1959 Webley Mk III underlever air-rifle has been called into action and has, so far, accounted for four of the little blighters. Sadly, this has not been enough, I have had to resort to poison as they are now under the decking right outside the kitchen! I'm not happy about the poison, it's a last resort solution in my opinion. If I was able to spend more time with the rifle, I would, but work and general life keep getting in the way.
The one highlight from all this time watching out for the furry fiends, was the chance encounter with a very rare garden visitor in the form of a stunning little Song Thrush, quietly feeding in the shadow of the buddlieas. It made my day!