Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, January, 2008
THERE ARE a couple of holes in the ground under the bird feeders which might be connected with the molehills on the lawn but there’s a possibility they’re brown rat burrows so, to be on the safe side, I’m making extra efforts to limit the amount of split sunflower hearts from the feeders.
I’ve attached a black plastic tray, a food tray that we kept because we thought might be useful one day, under one of the feeders, using garden ties (like the wire/plastic strips that you use to tie up cables or sandwich bags). I’ve punched plenty of small holes in the tray so that it catches the seed but doesn’t become an impromptu bird-bath. I’ve weighted it underneath with a metal tube (a spark-plug remover that we've never used), again using a garden tie, so it doesn’t swing around like a hammock.
The goldfinches have soon got used to it.
There’s a saucer-shaped metal tray under the larger feeder that keeps falling off because the plastic screw supplied with it doesn’t match the hole in the bottom of the feeder so I’ve attached that to the lower perches with two plastic ties.
The grey squirrel was here as usual this morning, so, to stop it wrecking my handiwork, I’ve smeared the metal pole with petroleum jelly from the pharmacy.
At lunch time we had six long-tailed tits all trying to feed on the squirrel-nibbled remnant of the fat-ball which hangs from the top of the feeder, so I've put another fat ball out.
Once again I’ve put in a hour or so trying out the Ackerman pen; these are the office chairs in my studio. The Ikea version is the most comfortable but I have to admit that the old one has more character. We keep the folding garden chair indoors most of the year.