Garden Ticks

Garden Ticks (Front) Garden Ticks (Back) Garden Shrubs (Front) Garden Shrubs (Back)

I first encountered the term “garden tick” in Simon Barnes’s “How to be wild”. Just for a moment I had a vision of some sort of tick like the kind that can cause Lyme disease – only to realise a few seconds later that we’re talking about ticks of the kind that you make on a twitcher’s list. Hence a garden tick refers to a list of birds seen in your garden. A bit like the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch. That’s the type of list I can live with, as opposed to the ones where people travel the length and breadth of the country to catch the rare lost bird soul.

Anyhow, my garden is my pride and joy, not because of the way the borders are pristine and manicured, but because I’ve let it grow wildlife-friendly. Being a reluctant gardener at best, that’s not such an arduous task. The front garden, with its lawn that’s mostly moss and herbs, is surrounded on two sides by old christmas trees, various shrubs, and a crab apple tree.

The back garden used to slope down, but has now been divided into a front portion which is mostly lawn (with some rose bushes and honeysuckle on the side), and a back portion that’s mostly left to its own devices (although I try to stay on top of self-setters and horsetail seedlings).

The lists in the relevant links show the kinds of bird observed in or near either my front or back garden. As you can see, it’s a fairly humdrum list, which is reflected in my reported lists when I take part in the RSPB Garden Birdwatch. None of the “specials” happened to be observed at the time I was doing my part of the Garden Birdwatch. But then again, I don’t go to any great lengths to attract specials – coconut halves with fat and seed is as far as I go, and that in the winter only.

Still, I’m rather fond of the group of house sparrows that flits in and out of the bushes near the front, even though they’re not exactly “mine”, as they appear to find other places to feed and nest in other than my own patch. Or of anything else that turns up to liven up the greenery – and yes, that includes some of other people’s bugbears like magpies, wood pigeons or black-backed gulls.

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