1.30 p.m.: One of the song thrushes is bashing a snail against the concrete edging alongside the pavement. That corner of our garden should be a good hunting ground because last week, on a warm wet evening, I spotted a dozen garden snails nibbling the leaves of the hosta by the front door and I relocated them by chucking them diagonally across the lawn into the bottom of the beech hedge. Most likely they have slowly made their way back to the hosta.
But garden snails are getting on for twice the size of the other snail that we get in our garden, the brown-lipped, Cepaea nemoralis, and, so far, the song thrush is going exclusively for the smaller snail.
Having extricated the snail, the thrush goes to one of the clumps of sedge we’ve planted and wipes its beak against it, probably to remove the slime. It then takes a look around, probably on the look out for more food items to take to its young in the beech hedge.
It pounces on a large earthworm that it’s spotted beneath the rowan. It’s giving it a good tug when a blackbird flies in and there’s a head to head with lots of bluster and threat. At one stage the two birds are locked beak to beak in a tug of war with the unfortunate worm stretched between them.
But despite the spirited defence put up by the song thrush, the larger blackbird takes possession of a three inch length of worm and flies off behind next door’s leylandii hedge, pursued by the thrush. The thrush now has back-up: it’s mate has appeared.
The thrush might have lost the battle but when it returns it picks up the remaining section of worm which is twice the length of the piece snatched by the blackbird. The song thrush is feasting on this when the blackbird returns and tries to grab it but the thrush retreats across the road and continues to wolf down the worm. This time the blackbird doesn’t get the chance to snatch it away.