Spring blossoms and my attention is drawn to the birdlife of the garden as they sing and build nests. Gradually the lush greens of summer emerge and with it the birds disappear behind the foliage becoming less easy to see.

I am now into full swing with my project and enjoy the absorption in the fecund of the garden



1st May

My wife has pointed out to me that what I call Beech trees are not Beech trees, but Lime trees. Which no doubt is why the young leaves are so tasty. This is embarrassing but also interesting, the trees have become different entities for me, they are not the same and I look at them differently.

5th May

The garden is maturing into its summer plumage. The Mulberry leaves slowly emerging, the ash trees much more quickly and there seems to be a particular abundance of blossom on the holly trees. This morning the blackcap had returned, which I eventually tracked down after hearing the song echo throughout the garden. It seems to me to be half way between a robin and a blackbird, that at least is how I recognize it. I have also been noticing three larger birds who make regular visits to the garden, the jay, the magpie and the great spotted woodpecker. The woodpecker flies into a Sycamore tree near the house, occasionally looping down to the Mulberry tree but more normally flying up to the large Sycamore tree in the wilderness. He seems very busy and very anxious and it is not easy to get a photograph of him


7th May

A lovely experience today. Birdsong filled the garden and on closer attention I could discern two separate songs. There was a blackcap singing high up in the large ash tree and then down by the garden shed a robin also singing, when one stopped the other started up, as if they were having a singing competition!


10th May

A fox in the garden today. It peered at me for a long time from the other side of the Mulberry tree before trotting off. I also noticed a wood pigeon flying into the holly tree with a twig and on further investigation saw another pigeon sitting on a nest -- are they still making the nest after some eggs have been laid?

11th May

The wood pigeons seem to have taken up serious residency in the holly tree and I already have warm feelings towards their domesticity. The female sits tightly clamped to the nest. Whether there are eggs there or not, I don't know, but I suspect she is in the process of laying. Meanwhile the male flies off in constant sorties to gather twigs of all sorts. I have a soft spot for wood pigeons, there is a ponderous gentleness about him and I love their surprising agility when reaching down from a precarious branch to pluck elderberries from a distant extremity.


12th May

The garden is now in its full flush of early summer greenness. Everything is very abundant. The Mulberry leaves are, very slowly, emerging along with what I take to be the green embryos of their fruit. The Wood Pidgeon was absent from her nest last night but has returned today, so is, presumably, waiting for the eggs to come. The male, who has a tail feather missing, continues to be attentive. I thought the blue tits had abandoned their prospective nest site in the roof of the rectory, but today I saw them returning so, maybe, they are still considering it.

13th May

A bright warm morning and the garden is looking spectacular. A wren sings his heart out from the top of the Mulberry tree and the bluebells send an azure ripple beneath its emerging greenness. The bluebells, however, are beginning to fade as the flowers of spring begin to make their transition into the fruits of autumn.

Mulberry leaf

17th May

Yesterday the wood pigeon nest had completely disappeared. There was not a single sign that it had ever been there. I suspect that once an egg was laid the squirrels very quickly ransacked the nest and destroyed it in the process. I have noticed them previously running by very close to it. But there could, of course, be another explanation. Nonetheless squirrel pie sounds to me like an attractive option. Meanwhile the garden is full of summer somnolence, even if the grinding, thumping noise of London makes it somewhat less than an idyll. The air is full of insects and the dazzling bluebells fade into their seed heads


19th May

The bumbarrels have reappeared. On the top of the Mulberry tree a wren was singing with its accustomed vigour and looking up I saw two furry balls just below it. They were two bumbarrels preening themselves. Lovely to see them again, after a while they flew off, their gentle tweeting just audible beneath the wren's song.

22nd May

The starlings have been very vocal in the trees. They must be feeding on something up there, but I don't know what it is. The city is also becoming noisy in this fine summer weather and the garden is only quiet in the early morning, when it is very tranquil with the filtered sunlight and clear blue sky above. Yesterday I managed to take some decent photographs of the collared doves which are frequent visitors to the garden. They looked very pretty framed against the delicate green leaves of the ash tree


25th May

A change in the weather; a chill to the air after the sweltering heat of yesterday. The garden is also changing as the bluebells fade and the elder begins to come into flower. I noticed, also, flowers beginning to appear on the bramble

26 May

A hazy green morning. Starlings scuff and argue in the treetops and down beneath a wren trills its energetic song. The Mulberry leaves are emerging into something more like their final size and shape and beneath them the green catkins, promising fruit, dangle. A small troop of starlings fly up into the late-leafing sycamore and a solitary swift scythes over the wilderness. The Mulberry tree is strange at this time of year, no longer the skeletal monster galumphing across the lawn but not yet the full-leafed behemoth of greenness. At the edge of the lawn, Comfrey flops down and is visited continuously by bees burrowing up into the mass of pink and white blossoms. The big ash tree in the wilderness looks magnificent in its early plumage spreading out above the trunk, green and shiny.

28 May

The wilderness is now very overgrown. Stinging nettles crowd the path and deep under the foliage midge-like insects send me scurrying out into the sunlight. Elsewhere the elder flowers continue to emerge, suddenly springing from an obscure green into a sun-blinking white.


31 May

The garden is very quiet. London sleeps on an overcast Bank holiday Monday and everything is bathed in a very curious grey light. In a corner of the garden buttercups bring a splash of speckled yellow underneath the fronds of unfurling bracken, in an most unusual, but attractive sight. Elsewhere the first foxglove has come into flower


Spring BirdsRobin

A hop of blackbird
A scuffle of starlings
A perkiness of wrens
A ponderousness of pigeons
A scythe of swifts
A sloop of seagulls
A perdition of crows
A twinkle of robins
An aria of thrush
A tininess of goldcrest
A green of woodpeckers
A spotting of woodpeckers
A flight of the bumbarrels
A fidget of blue tits
A tailoring of great tits
A melody of blackcaps
A skulk of warbler
A jag of jay
A catwalk of magpies
A caress of collared doves
and the shriek of the peregrine