Sometimes blackbirds and thrushes nest in the higher branches of our mature cedar tree, or in the densely-compacted growth of the viburnum growing against the outhouse, or in our beech hedge, from where we often hear the blackbird making its piping alarm call when our cats trespass near the vicinity of its young.
Occasionally we have visits from a cock pheasant pecking at heather shoots; a family of partridges looking for seeds; wood pigeons and collared doves resting in the trees; magpies harrying young chicks; a pair of bramblings eating the fruit on the cotoneaster; a grey heron after a juicy frog; screaming swifts flying over the ponds, catching insects on the wing; a flock of fieldfares getting drunk on fermenting apples; a pair of bullfinches prizing open the buds of the crab apple tree; a flock of siskins feeding on the fruits of the hazel and alder trees; a female sparrowhawk swooping in on a tasty sparrow; and a barn owl, whose pellets we mostly find in Summer, catching a juicy mouse.
In the adjacent field during the breeding season, we regularly see groups of oystercatcher, rook, crow, lapwing, magpie, grey heron, wood pigeon, curlew, black-headed gull, lesser black-backed gull, golden plover, a pair of buzzards and a few skylarks, whereas in the Winter we see greylag geese, mute swan, whooper swan, and Bewick swan.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.
Cecil Frances Alexander.