Little effort, lots of wildlife, by Mike Brown

© Nick Upton - 2020VISION

'It's good to think that we are providing a modest habitat for wildlife on a new property, without doing that much.'

In July 2017, we moved into a brand new house built on a brownfield site 100 metres from the local High Street. Initially our garden was a building site, completely inhospitable to wildlife, but by the time we moved in it had been nicely landscaped.

Although we had pigeons, a few bees and flies that summer we saw little else.

We confess that we are not very proactive in providing habitats for wildlife, but sometimes nature interacts with our everyday activity.

In the winter we put out a bird feeder which was a little slow to attract much more than a couple of squirrels.

However, by spring we started to see various birds such as blue, great and long tailed tits, and a woodpecker, and in the flower beds blackbirds, a robin, a wren and even a thrush which we had thought were now rare in gardens.

When the weather improved after the snow, I was very surprised go see a slow-worm sunbathing on the path near the house. We think it had been spending the winter under our log store. I hadn't seen one for 50 years! We moved it to a safer place in our garden, in the hope it would feed on slugs.

Soon after, we had more guests as a result of our log store. We had left a small square basket that we use for a small amount of kindling on one of the log store shelves. 

As we were starting to work in the garden, we noticed a pair of robins building a nest in the basket. Although they came very close while we were gardening, they were extremely cautious while building the nest. 

We believe there were five chicks and all left without saying goodbye!

We have seen one young robin since but generally, other than pigeons, bird life is scarce in the summer. However, we have seen a frog and a mouse in the garden, and during the winter a fox passed through the development.

In summary it's good to think that we are providing a modest habitat for wildlife on a new property, without doing that much.