A week ago my wife and I came back from a magnificent trip to Canada and Alaska where the wildlife consisted of black bears, moose, elk, orca, humpback whales, porpoise, dolphins, sea-otters, bald eagles and osprey and much more besides. On our return home after a 3 week sojourn it is eerily quiet, no bird song to interrupt the break of day and it has obviously been very dry indeed. There are lots of young birds about though, washed up looking blue and great tits and today there were adult blackbird and song thrush foraging side by side on my lawn following a welcome spell of rain searching for earthworms to feed to their young. There is no sign of my tawny owl chick and no sounds at night to indicate his presence or contact calls with its parents. Has it survived I wonder? My bird boxes are empty but there is evidence that pied flycatchers at least have raised a brood but there is no sign of the adult birds around as is the norm. Where do these birds go after the young have fledged? Straight back to Africa perhaps. During the apparent dry weather in our absence a mole has been busy on our front lawn which looks more like a scene from the battle of the 'Somme' as a result of the animals' industrious excavations! My wife is angry at his antics but I am reluctant to take drastic measures to be rid of him after all he is merely trying to find sustenance in this exceptionally dry period by digging deeper for his diet of earthworms. Mind you I have cursed the little blighter whilst collecting the result of his mining operations in order to displace elsewhere in my garden.
Siskins have been feeding on the nijer seed today but I understand from Caroline de Carle from the RSPB Ynyshir reserve that the usual disease associated with garden feeding stations is ailing the feeding station on the reserve which seems to be particularly affecting siskins so this may be a good time to carry out a thorough disinfection of your own feeding apparatus as a preventative measure.
It appears that most of my kite chicks have fledged their nests during my absence and I'm waiting to hear from Tony Cross if any of them were taken away for the ongoing Irish release project when we were away.