Woodside is surrounded by trees and farmland in a lovely rural area, so the walled garden is visited by an impressive number of wild birds, which can be observed at close quarters at the window feeders of the tearoom. We see blue tits, great tits, coal tits, chaffinch, sparrows, dunnocks, siskins, blackbirds, wrens, nuthatch and greater spotted woodpeckers feeding close to the window. Other less frequent garden visitors are goldfinches, waxwings and even hawfinches. We also have nesting swallows and collared doves and have buzzards and sparrowhawks overhead.
A lovely place to observe the wildlife at Woodside is in the Woodside Garden for Wildlife and Wellbeing, a dedicated area for wildlife within the walled garden. The pond there is home to pond skaters, great diving beetles, water boatmen, pond snails and a thriving breeding population of newts. Our shoal of goldfish add to the relaxing environment. We also have hedgehogs and lots of moths and butterflies – please tell us what you see so we can add it to our list.
In winter weather all birds need to eat around 40% of their body weight every day. They need as many calories as possible, so feed with the highest calorie foods possible. The best food is sunflower seeds, either as hearts or as seed with the husks. They are quickly digested and converted into energy. Suet pellets, suet blocks and fat balls are also of the highest fat content. Peanuts are also good, but are not as efficient at converting into energy as the other choices. Peanuts can go “off” quickly when outside, so only put out a weeks supply at a time. Seed can be given all year round. [...]