Last month I wrote a post about the blog The Tree Year, which encourages people across the world to blog about a tree that is important to them. I chose to write about my crab apple tree. When I blogged in October about my tree the weather was beautiful and we were basking in an Indian summer. Today is completely different. It really feels like winter is only round the corner. The change in weather means our tree is now a home for bird feeders. We have one feeder filled with a sunflower seed mix and another filled with Nyjer seeds which are particularly tasty to goldfinches.
I love the tree at this time of year. It becomes this great meeting point for so many birds. Starlings, sparrows, blue tits and great tits, chaffinches and robins. I spotted the first goldfinches of the year yesterday. Occasionally I will catch a glimpse of a wren flitting through the branches. Blackbirds love the tree, mainly because of the crab apples, they don’t seem bothered by the apples’ tartness. The harsh winters of the the last 3 years have meant I have been treated to some unusual visitors to the tree. Bramblings, fieldfares, redstarts, blackcaps and long-tailed tits have all kept me interested whilst I stare out over a snow-covered garden from my seat in the kitchen, clutching my warm cup of tea. I’ll venture outside in the hope I can get close enough to take some good photos but invariably the birds are spooked and fly off. Sometimes I’ll hole up in the shed doorway hoping the birds won’t notice me and will come to the feeders. Sometimes they do but generally I get cold and so I return indoors to watch them through the binoculars. I haven’t got the patience to be a wildlife photographer.
The leaves are now starting to change colour and some are starting to fall from the tree but the apples, glowing red, will remain on the tree well into January.
We had to have a birch tree removed from our garden last year and 2 trees in neighbours’ gardens have been removed this year, so I really appreciate my crab apple, the height and shape it creates, the perch and feeding point for a myriad of birds and the interest it provides in my garden throughout the seasons.