It’s late-December, and today it’s time for a wildlife garden check.
Walking anti-clockwise around the garden edge, I go first to the Blackbirds’ feasting corner. They have been visiting Cornus kousa, an Asian dogwood. It’s been doing a great job feeding the blackbirds with its red fruits that taste a bit like bananas, but with bitter seeds. The plump fruits were strewn all over the ground after a windy, rainy night, looking strangely exotic, like a cross between strawberries and lychees. Beak-shaped holes showed where the Blackbirds had been. Next to this tree is an eating apple tree, against the south-facing wall. It had been heavily laden, and there were plenty of spare windfalls left for the birds. Some were not yet rotten and bore deep beak incisions.
The only insects I have seen lately were a little community of Winter Gnats, watched through the kitchen window. They were circling in a whizzy way through the garden air – beautifully in time with each other, yet social distancing in a spherical formation. After grim stories on the news each day, these gnats always make me smile. They strictly come dancing, even in late winter.