Feeding frenzy

We went out for lunch today. We met family and it was lovely. Our destination was The Queen Inn at Dummer, just off the M3 near Basingstoke.

It has recently been taken over by some people we know, and it will be good to support them, although the real reason we are going is because the chef is good!

This visit, however, is not the reason for this post’s title.

It doesn’t take much to cheer me up on a down day, or in fact, to entertain me on any day! Outside my kitchen window is a bird feeding station. It is visited regularly by tits of various sorts, dunnocks, sparrows, robins and more. Their antics always brighten the day as the various species vie with each other for pole position. It’s awkward, however, for Mrs Blackbird to access, but she has developed a route to one of the feeders and a system of emptying some food onto the ground where she can feed in peace. Mr Blackbird is much clumsier, so never reaches his goal but seems to prefer the berries in the garden.

The feeding area is difficult to photograph. It is in shadow for most of the day, even in high summer, but this gives the opportunity for the birds to display their camouflage. It never ceases to amaze me that a drab brown dunnock is as well hidden as a blue tit, and that even the red breast of the robin can seem part of the general twigs and branches. Sometimes the sparrows are almost invisible but the movement of a branch hi lights their presence and then they are easier to spot.

So, back to the title.

This last week has been very busy hedge-wise. More birds, and more frequent visits. The feeders have been filled in the morning and empty before dusk, whereas they would normally only need filling every couple of days or so. Three or four coal tits are visiting at once, instead of as singles, and it’s the same with the great tits and their blue cousins. Even the robin has been allowing his mate to be alongside.

Could it be that they know that bad weather is on the way? The same thing happened last year before we were hit by a cold spell. Maybe their radar is better that that of the meteorologists. I think it’s time to hunt out gloves, scarves and boots!

By the way. Food isn’t the only reason to visit the above mentioned Queen Inn. They also have over 50 different gins on the menu! So, if gin is your tipple …..