Philofaxy All Stars Guest Post: The Wonders in Your Back Garden

Today, I have the honor of hosting a guest post from the lovely Helen Fennell. Helen and "The Delightful Mr. F" have an incredibly cool wildlife camera outside in their garden - some of the shots they have captured are amazing!

A big thank you to J for giving me a slot to talk about the wonders which lurk outside your back door.

Last Christmas I bought the Delightful Mr F a wildlife camera to put in the garden. Mr F is a keen gardener, growing all our own veg, and we try as much as possible to create a garden which is wildlife friendly. If nothing else it attracts the insects and that helps pollination.

Making your garden a sanctuary for wildlife is really quite easy, and much less work than a perfectly manicured patch. Firstly, sow flowers. Lots and lots of different types. Some with bright flowers, some with beautiful scents. If you pop down to your local garden centre, you will see packets of seeds which attract bees, butterflies and other insects. Another easy and very beautiful addition to a garden is a meadow.

You don’t need acres of grounds to do this, a really small patch will do. In the past we have had one which was only a couple of square metres in size. If you make your garden attractive to wildlife, the wildlife will come. It might take a few weeks, but once they know it is safe and has food, they will be there! We don’t live in the country, but in a typical suburban street, with a typical sized garden, and yet it is teeming with birds and insects and it is all down to the way Mr F has allowed the garden to develop.

To attract birds a safe place for them to perch is helpful, small birds such as blue tits, sparrows and robins like hedging. If you really want to encourage our avian friends, then a bird feeder is a must. We have a ground feeder for larger birds such as crows and blackbirds, and then hanging feeders for the smaller birds. Try out different seed mixes, as you will find different species like different things. They nearly all like a fruity fat slab though!

For a long time we thought we had lots of different visitors to the garden, but it wasn’t until we set up the camera we realised how many we had. We have at least 14 different types of birds, some squirrels and a family of foxes. Setting up a camera is really easy. There are lots out there on the market, some with wireless functionality, others more simple. You can spend a great deal of money on setting all this up, but I decided to start with a basic camera to see how we go on. The camera we have is from the RSPB and cost £99.99.

The camera can take both still photographs as well as movies, and can also take photos at night. It runs off of batteries which last about 3-4 months, and is weather proof. Below are some of the photos we have captured over the last 8 months or so. 

Beware though, this gets quite addictive! Most Sunday mornings, post breakfast, you will find the Delightful Mr F and I scouring the internet trying to identify the birds we have caught on camera. The RSPB Bird Identifier is extremely useful for those tricky is it a sparrow or not moments!

Nature is fantastic to watch and great for your general wellbeing, and I think you will be surprised at what lurks a few feet from your home, even where it might be thought there is little opportunity for mother nature to cast her beautiful spell.

Thank you, Helen, for the lovely look into your wildlife-filled garden!

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