I am now permanently in a wheelchair and my pace of life has become a lot slower because of this. One advantage however is that I have plenty of time to notice things around me which maybe other people don't.
I am very fortunate to have a beautiful garden containing some very old apple, pear and crab-apple trees as well as many established shrubs and perennials plants. I spend many hours in the winter looking through my lounge windows and French doors longing for the summer months when I can be outside in the fresh air (getting my vitamin D) and enjoying the many sights, sounds and scents of my garden. Most of the plants I have collected over the last 20 years attract insects, birds and animals and this year in particular I seem to be reaping the benefits.
We have always put out food for the garden birds and now seem to have a vast array of various feeders to suit nearly all different types. You may not be aware that some birds only feed from the ground, others like bird tables and yet others like hanging bird feeders. Over the winter months, I purchased two perspex birdfeeders that attach to the window with three strong suction cups.
This is a wonderful way to feed and watch wild birds up close. The tough, non-yellowing polycarbonate bird feeder attaches to your window with three strong suction cups and the tray detaches easily from the roof/back section (without removing the suckers) for cleaning and refilling. Suitable for year-round feeding - and a fabulous gift for anyone. Great for feeding mealworms, sprinkles, nibbles and bird seed. I purchased mine from the RSPB at a cost of £10.45.
Earlier this year, I treated myself to a bird feeding station. These are available from Amazon, garden centres and many discount stores. They can either be freestanding, if you have a patio or can be pushed into the ground. There are plenty of different styles of containers which can be attached to the upright pole, enabling you to put out many different types of food, mine also has a water container. I bought some fat balls from a pet food stall on the market and discovered that not only blue tits and great tits love these but so do the starlings. I also have quite a selection of bird boxes, bug boxes, a hedgehog box and a butterfly box, so hopefully there is a home available for everyone visiting my garden.
It may take some time for the birds to accept and build up their bravery to try any feeder which is new in their territory but I have been delighted and surprised by the wildlife visiting my garden this year. Maybe you could add one of these feeders to your birthday or Christmas present list!
Here is a list of all the wildlife visitors to my garden this year: longtailed tit; greenfinch; goldfinch; wrens; blackbirds; woodpecker; magpies; blue tits; great tits; robins; sparrows; chaffinch; sparrow-hawk; doves; wood pigeon; jackdaws; crows; butterflies; dragonflies; squirrels; hedgehogs; frogs; pipistrelle bats and flying overhead lots of swifts and for the first time this year buzzards. I thought it might be interesting to find out what wildlife visits your garden in Barrow upon Soar. Please contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, with details of your sightings.