A little bird-watching from the conservatory, yesterday, gave some surprising results.
When my son was ill for a week or so around just before Christmas, I encouraged him to keep the bird feeders stocked up. Initially I thought the spells of fresh air, albeit ankle-deep in snow, would be good for him, but he actually became quite interested and watched from his bedroom window. We both love the long-tailed tits which visit in winter, and we argued for ages about the identity of small dull sort of tit that neither of us had seen before (ie not blue, great, coal or long-tailed).
A previous post mentioned our discovery of a vole (or maybe voles - but we only see one at a time) which has realised that dropped or discarded nuts or seeds can be found in plenty under the feeders. The surface in front of the arbour is broken green slate and he is easy to watch. Concerned that if we find him very visible, predators will more so, I asked my son to deliberately scatter some seeds under the bench. This seems to have appealed more to birds which find the feeders difficult, so the vole still has to wait his turn.
For weeks my son re-stocked the feeders without being asked, but is now busy, feeling deprived of cycling opportunities by various voluntary commitments - which seem to have piled into the same week, and asked me to do it yesterday. I was looking out to see which supplies I would need for which feeders when something brown and not very bird-like caught my attention clinging to the bottom of the wire peanut holder. Our little furry friend is obviously alive, well and growing in confidence and the peanut holder is now completely empty!