The author - Mike Bickerton
With most leaves now off the trees, our garden birds are becoming more visible. Blackbirds especially are busy scoffing berries, ably assisted by redwings which are winter visitors from the north. It is well worth feeding birds in the winter because they do a great job controlling pests in the garden, and are cheaper and more effective than using poisonous chemicals. Do make sure that your bird feeders are kept clean as it is said that many small birds are killed each year by eating mouldy food. Finches are especially vunerable and it has led to almost total collapse of greenfinch numbers.

I have spent hours trying to reclaim the garden from this year's exceptional growth, cutting back trees, hedges, plants and weeds. This includes ivy which can be a real pain if it gets out of hand. However, many environmentalists say that ivy is the best of all plants to benefit wildlife. It flowers in Oct-Nov giving lots of pollen and nectar. Its mass of flowers has attracted swarms of insects including red admiral and comma butterflies. If you have the space to let ivy grow up and old tree or wall, do not cut it down but stand back and enjoy a late autumn show.

Mike Bickerton, November2017.