In search of a hen-proof vegetable garden
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Thursday 1st April 1999
DON'T GET ME WRONG, I love to see them wandering about the garden, they bring it to life. I wouldn't want next door's bantam cockerel and his half dozen or so hens to go back to a life behind chicken wire. But, good as they are for rotivating, vegetable seedlings don't stand a chance when they are around.
We call at the local garden centre and a city do-it-yourself superstore, but neither has any poly-tunnel cloches which might help give the seedlings a good start.
A misty morning, the local ring-necked cock Pheasant strolls up the garden and feeds on the nuts I've shelled on the patio. Robin and Blackbird also peck amongst the nut shells. By midday the mist is more like a heat haze.
In the afternoon sun, twenty House Sparrows enjoy dust-bathing in the fine dry soil under the blackcurrants. They've made a couple of shallow pits, exposing the roots of the bush.
A pair of Robins are in the garden most of the day. Before sunset one of them flits from crab apple to berberis bush, fluttering in a upward curve, then hovering momentarily to snap small insects above the pond. A similar technique to the Spotted Flycather.
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