Doorstep Wilderness


Migrant Hawker

The Other Half…

Or rather, my other half…. 😉

Innocent as Doves

testing again 005

testing again 007

Meanwhile in the Garden…

Into the Doorstep Wilderness 086

Into the Doorstep Wilderness 032

Into the Doorstep Wilderness 081

Garden Quicky 027

Into the Doorstep Wilderness 054

The Opportunist 007

The Opportunist 016

Avian Retribution

Unhappy Blackbird 006

It’s a tough life for a blackbird in this neighbourhood…

This male blackbird relentlessly heckled this cat for three whole days, virtually non-stop…this is most likely the result of the cat killing a family member, usually a young bird…

In this case I think the unfortunate victim was the spouse as there is only one bird present…

Unhappy Blackbird 020

Unhappy Blackbird 028

Unhappy Blackbird 023

The Feline Dilemna

For the last three and a half years I have been “catless”….meaning that I haven’t been under feline ownership. 😉

In these “catless” days I have taken to feeding the garden birds to an obsessive level…therefore my garden is an interesting place for my neighbours cats to visit…I have tried to keep them out but that would mean shutting out the local hedgehogs too…plus the fact that cats will always find a way…

These are the two main perpetrators in the disturbance of my avian paradise…I did build a bird table last year from bamboo as I thought that this may increase bird safety, yet I discovered that the table only created a blind spot which only aided feline offensives…these attacks eventually led to the destruction of the bird table too… 😕

The cats can’t help it, I know….even my lazy cat managed to catch an immature blackbird as well as several dragonflies, frogs and even a bat on one occasion 😦 …basically, it’s an impossibility fighting their natural instincts. The cat with the bell eventually lost his “cat-safe” collar…also it seems that I get more cats now because my garden is no longer the territory of a “home cat”…



Spoonys' Return 001

A Welcome Distraction

Dandelion Path 005

During my household chores I noticed this Speckled Wood butterfly as it flew into my peripheral vision…obviously I had no choice but to drop my chores and pick up my camera! 😉

Dandelion Path 009


The Aster Project

Aster Foxes 131

My most contrived project of the year begins to grow in April and eventually reaches fruition by the end of October….basically I let Asters overtake the whole of my doorstep wilderness and then patiently wait for a few sunny days when hoverflies, bees, butterflies and the occasional damselfly descend on the flowers for the abundance of nectar before the chill of autumn kicks in… 😉

Aster Foxes 007

Aster Jungle 075

Aster Jungle 109

Aster Jungle 113


Aster Jungle 143

Aster Jungle 154

Aster Jungle 199

Aster Jungle 013


When the Birds are Sleeping…

Aster Jungle 004

…the Snails are Creeping! 😉

Doorstep Wilderness

Baby Hedgehogs =D 012

There was a familiar squeal from the garden, armed with flashlight and camera, your intrepid reporter proceeded to investigate into the current state of affairs within the doorstep wilderness… 😉

The smell of woodsmoke hung on the wind as I stepped out into the cool October evening and before I knew it I was surrounded by mini-hedgehogs…well three or four anyway…they were noisily foraging and already at their young age seemed perfectly able to take care of themselves.

Approximately a third of the size of a fully grown adult hedgehog, they seemed totally undisturbed by my presence….in fact one of them kept fearlessly homing in on my feet and camera lens.

Baby Hedgehogs =D 002

This one got a feather stuck on its’ nose…

Baby Hedgehogs =D 005

The next day I found one rummaging about under the bamboo in the middle of the afternoon and again this perfect mini-hedgehog seemed perfectly content with my intrusion…adult hedgehogs are far more wary….which I assume is something these patio punks still need to learn…

Afternoon Hedgehog =D 012

Eye Level

Blue Tit Session 029

A regular visitor to my garden is the blue tit…one of the smallest birds here with a fiery and fearless personality. These attributes are neccessary when dealing with other competitors for the nuts such as great tits, sparrows and even jays…

The birdfood hangs just outside the kitchen window so I always have a good view as they perform acrobatics and also provide a colourful distraction from the less interesting kitchen chores. 😉

Blue Tit Session 031

Lavender Days

beez katz spoonz =D 058

Ten years ago, right next to the back door, I planted a couple of lavender plants…these days, although they have become a bit old and ragged they never fail to produce a multitude of flowers, rich in nectar which, in turn attract swarms of bees to entertain me as I soak in the hot afternoon sun.

In recent years we have unfortunately seen a decline in the number of bees which makes these “lavender days” even more special and joyful as I watch them for hours as they busily buzz from flower to flower…I marvel at their constant activity, I laugh when they occasionally fly into one another and just immerse myself in this fleeting moment where everything seems almost perfect.

beez katz spoonz =D 062

beez katz spoonz =D 071

Sparrow Psychology

For the last years I’ve fed the birds in my garden at ground level on a couple of paving stones as the area can flood if it rains a lot. All the birds can feed simultaneously, doves, pigeons, sparrows, blackbirds, greenfinches, chaffinches…plus the occasional visits from jackdaws, dunnocks and robins…

House sparrows are social feeders and like to descend on the available selection of seed and grain in large numbers like this…

Unfortunately when it rains the food can spoil rather quickly and then there’s the neighbours cat…

So after much thought (at least a year) I decided it was a good idea to construct a bird feeder….one that was easy to clean, keeps the food dry if it rains and safe from the claws of feline predators.

But it’s been a week already and the birds don’t even use it….only the occasional great tit and a pair of greenfinches…it seems to scare the sparrows and other birds…I still offer food on the ground closer to my dwelling and even right next to the new feeder, which probably doesn’t help matters but the pigeons have to eat too…I can’t imagine a wood pigeon using the feeder but the smaller collared doves might. I’m hoping they will get used it and not treat it like some obstacle…it also provides safety from hawk attacks…but until now my feathered friends refuse to cooperate. There again, the sparrows have been very busy lately, in the spring the tone of their chirps change…

Due to my rather excessive pruning of the privet hedge earlier in the year I was able to witness all their displays and quarrels…all this usually happens inside the hedge, my pruning provided me with a cross-section view into their world. Before you know it there appear small, fluffy bundles of joy, bawling for love….and food, maybe they should check out the new feeder. 😉

The Usual Suspects

From Spring to Summer 079

Last June I was honoured to receive daily visits from a family of great tits…the juveniles in the pictures are less colourful than the more striking adults.

So that I can keep a close, watchful eye on everything that is happening, I hang their food up just outside my kitchen window, but because they get used to their usual flightpaths, I have to be careful with having the kitchen door open….because they fly straight into the glass of the door. 😦 Don’t worry, I have since learnt to hang a blanket over the glass to remedy this hazardous situation. 😉

From Spring to Summer 106

Mussen en Mezen...Dag 3 (tripod +hi-speed) 189


For a few years now, I have been feeding the birds in my small backyard with the same sense of responsibility that most people have for their pets…

House Sparrows are becoming rare in parts of Europe such as the UK and the cause of their decline is a mystery…in my backyard there’s usually somewhere between 70 and 100 in total…they can chirp up quite a lot of noise too 😉 …which I love…. bathtime is quite eventful too and I always have to laugh at all the fuss they make.

Being born in London, Sparrows have always been part of life really…I could never imagine them not being there…


Lately, while I’m pottering about in the garden, I’m amazed just how close the birds will get to me…so  after a while I decided to swap the secateurs for a camera and sit and wait…

Initially this female blackbird was quite shy and remained in close vicinity to the privet hedge making clucking noises….after a while she regained her somewhat bossy countenance and decided to show me that it was her food…a regular display that she usually performs for the other blackbirds, she spends a lot of her time chasing them round the garden just because they want to eat too…

In the first shot she was charging straight at me so fast I could barely fit her in the frame…. o.O


First Steps

Crocuses are to me a sign to start moving about outside again, to shake off the shackles of a long, cold winter and make a start on the garden…I leave all last years growth and leaves until this time to clear up so I have quite a task to get everything ready for the year.

winter to spring 051

On top of everything I decided to attack the privet hedge with a serious prune…the sparrows were shocked by my sudden change in behaviour, but they could still feed when my back was turned so everything was alright 😉 . As I was working on the hedge I heard a lot of commotion behind me and as I turned I witnessed a sparrowhawk heading straight for me :O  ….it landed on the hedge about a yard from me, looked at me briefly then effortlessly took back to the wing (they make it look so easy). No photos of the incident unfortunately as I don’t generally expect a hawk attack when I’m pruning the hedge…

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

It was early evening…I was just starting to open my eyes and get breakfast ready, I’d already catered for the garden birds…I suddenly heard a woosh and the familiar chirp the sparrows use to signal the presence of a sparrowhawk.

This is a regular occurance which I have learnt to accept, I mean, I was just about to boil a couple of eggs and a hawks got a right to eat too….it’s just difficult when it’s my sparrows right in front of my face…it was empty talons this time for old hawky but that is not always the case…