Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bird Feeding Stations

As always when we arrive at the Garrique we receive the warmest of welcomes from Fiona, a freshly picked bunch of flowers from the garden and bowl full of fresh, free range eggs from the farm. A proper highland welcome.

We exchange information about the farm, the wildlife and the birds. Fiona is very fond of the bird life around the farm and encourages and feeds it throughout the arduous winter. Thus, ensuring a chorus of birdsong not only to greet you each morning and evening, but also to accompany you on your daily walks around the forest.

Unfortunately, in return we bring the modern trappings of an everyday European couple and their high tech gadgets, which we very quickly and willingly, learn to do without.

Having established ourselves in the cottage and over a warm tea or coffee we take stock of the birds coming and going. Lots of familiar friends from last year but maybe not in as many numbers as before.

The winter has taken it's toll, over and above the natural predators; the kestrels, sparrowhawks and buzzards.

Nothing for it but to set up the bird feeding stations, to fatten the little rascals up as quickly as possible, so we can get them into good breeding condition for the Spring and the task of caring for their young.

The birds are naturally nervous of the feeding stations but are soon encouraged by the constant attention and cheeky nature of the local Chaffinches. Always first to arrive and willing to take a chance where food is on offer.

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