THIS YOUNG greenfinch had hit the glass panel in our back door. We’ve heard bangs on the patio windows on two or three occasions during the last week or so but this is the first fatality. It’s whole shape, but particularly that tail, is fishlike.

Ways to reduce casualties might include moving the bird feeders further from the house and sticking birds of prey silhouettes on the windows but the latter would have little effect if, as probably happens several times each day, the bird is being chased by a real sparrowhawk at the time.

Another young greenfinch, presumably a nest-mate of this bird, continues to come to feast at the sunflower heart feeders.

One evening Barbara saw a sparrowhawk swoop at a goldfinch on the feeder. The goldfinch swerved from side to side as it was chased at high speed down the garden and managed to escape across the meadow into the comparative safety of the wood. By this time the sparrowhawk gave up and flew up to perch on a branch.


Another casualty, but this mole may be a casualty of natural causes rather than of predation. I noticed a number of molehills in our small patch of meadow when I was mowing back the weeds and grasses on our return from holiday. It’s been very dry, so the mole might have been under some stress as its earthworm prey became inactive, but this individual appeared to be a well-fed. This week the meadow between us and the wood has been mown, so I expect that it’s possible that this mole suffered some kind of internal injury as the tractor moved across the field and fled to our garden.

But moles may be like their relatives the shrews; you find them lying dead by paths, apparently having simply expired there. Shrews are said to be distasteful to predators, so perhaps, like them, moles don’t make attractive prey items.

Horse Chestnut

Taking my mum to a hospital appointment when we got back from holiday, I found time to draw this horse chestnut from the shelter of the entrance porch, as it was raining at the time.

Growing from a narrow grass verge between building and tarmac road, it’s not surprising that the tree is showing signs of stress, putting out all those shoots from the trunk.

Parts of the Pea Flower

My mum had put some sweet peas from her garden in a vase with sprigs of lady’s mantle.

The magenta petals of the flowers are backed by the green, star-shaped sepals. The flowers grow in a raceme, a type of inflorescence in which the flowers are arranged along a central axis along the stem.

Each flower is supported by a pedicel – a small stalk.