At work today I received an exciting text message from my husband, “two of the starlings are on our feeder!” it said. We’ve noticed a group of starlings on the roof of nearby houses in the last few days, but this was the first time either of us had ever seen them in the garden. That brings our total garden bird list to 14 species, not too bad for a small garden in a very new housing estate.
Shortly after the first couple of starlings arrived, the whole flock alighted briefly in the garden and visited again several times during the afternoon. When I arrived home from work this evening, we sat out in the (really very chilly) garden and I was lucky to also see one of the starlings visiting our feeders. As that lone starling fed I could see others gathering, many clustered together, on an aerial on a nearby rooftop, before all together they suddenly took wing and the whole squadron wheeled in formation above our garden and away.
After work this evening I was feeling a little wound up, so when I came home it was good to take 30 minutes to explore the garden, to take in the little changes that happen day by day. This evening I focused on the small scale. Bees were busy visiting flowers in our pollinator border. On the hollyhock and catmint soldier beetles were hidden in wait on leaves. In a hanging basket, on a flower a hoverfly sat very still, huge eye peeking out between petals. And on the honeysuckle miniature predators hunted, a ladybird and ladybird larvae helping to control the aphids.
After just that short amount of time in the garden, I could feel my heart rate had slowed, I was relaxed, no longer wound up, the annoyances of the working day superseded in my conscience by the minutiae of life in the garden. It may have been cold and grey, but there was still plenty to explore.
The #30dayswild campaign also has some suggestions to “Take action for wildife”, one of which I out into action today. This was to swap your cups and bottles, ditching the disposables in favour of reusable water bottles and coffee cups. So, out with the 2 litre bottles of sparkling water in the fridge, replaced by two glass bottles of chilled tap water, a refillable water bottle rescued from the cupboard and installed in my bag for work and a never before used china reflillable coffee cup in my bag, and used for the first time in a cafe today instead of taking away a disposable paper cup. Starting this early in the month should mean that by the end of my #30dayswild this habit should be ingrained and disposables gone for good!