Two families of blue tits enjoyed the water

I COULD never have believed I could have so much fun with a frying pan. Placed a few yards from the kitchen window the visitors have been endless.

Last week two families of blue tits found the swimming pool. It took me back to my own boyhood and the trips to the dips. What fun to splash and shower your friends. What relief from the sun and the wilting heat.

How nice to plunge in with a plop and make such a splash. Though we never used to drink it as well.

I have run off countless pictures on to the tiny memory card, like somebody collecting stamps. And I don't have to print but a few. I can just flip back on the button and view all these birds as I drink my tea in the garden.

Ah. . . there are the crossbills in all their unlikely and fanciful red costume. And there the bullfinch like John Bull in the tub, splashing his wife as she hovers on the edge.

There is the blackcap warbler a little bit frightened of his wife (with her brown cap) who always wants to bathe first and who keeps him waiting on the edge.

The siskins brought their children down to bathe and drink throughout May and June but have now disappeared into the pine forests somewhere in the Sussex weald.

I even had a close-up of a brambling early in the spring, looking so much like his close cousin the chaffinch but giving his identity away with that big white rump.

Blackbirds, song thrushes, robins have bathed continually requiring the frying pan to be refilled three times a day. The pheasants are a nuisance, walking on the water and strutting about and even the cock displaying to the hens quite unaware that he was ruining the bath for all the others.

The smallest bird is the chiffchaff, identified from a willow warbler by his black legs, the willow warbler having flesh-coloured legs. Both of these leaf warblers nest in my overgrown garden, as do all the other birds mentioned except the brambling.

Another daily, or even hourly, visitor, is the hornet. These lovely big wasps are gold and orange, and pretty well harmless to humans, nest in my roof space.

They drink a lot of water, and take water up to the nest for the young as well. Wood pigeons carry water to their young.

If the crows were allowed down here to drink I am sure they too would be carrying water to their young ones as well. I have seen the blackbird carrying water to her young in the recent hot weather, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that many other birds do this as well.