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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


14/02/2021 - Making Sure Birds Have Food-Comes Before Fishing

Fat ball feeder

Friday12 Feb the weather was even worse than any experience this past week, with lots of ice forming in the quiet bays, water temperature was 34 degrees F, the ground was rock hard, birds would certainly be suffering from a lack of food especially the wrens and long tailed tits that rely so much on tiny spiders etc such as beetles, bugs and various caterpillars. I’d been told they eat mealworms so I haven buying both live ones and dried samples, the later I soak overnight before scattering them around area where they are often seen. I have also crushed a lot of sunflower hearts with a rolling pin. I have also been hanging chunks of fat from the butcher in the bushes. I would ask all of you to visit the countryside close to home and leave some food, I also purchased two pints of gentles which most birds like. There has been a dipper around all this week, along with a pair of oyster catchers. To help the small birds find some shelter I have put up three nesting boxes. In total I have twelve fat ball holders, along with eighteen seed bird feeders, I also scatter lots of seed under the hedge rows and willow bushes. After walking the 2 mile long fishery I head off for a fresh brew, I then spent an hour with the litter bag until around 1400 hrs I headed off home.

Saturday 13th Feb was a repeat of the previous day, topping up bird feeders, scattering lots of loose seeds, today there were lots of ice flows, with lots more sheets of ice anchored along the margins, even though there was some flow. I also spent some time trimming back some branches of two swims where I often spend time trotting, when there is a good flow on the water it pushes into the bank where these branches are submerged in the water extending some two feet out from the bank, causing problems when retrieving the tackle as it often gets caught up, that problem has now been solved. The water temperature today was 30-31 degrees F. No wander there are ice flows on the river, around 1300 hrs I chose to escape the icy cold river bank for my study, at least the birds have a wide choice of food.

Sunday 14th Feb in was on the river bank around 0800 hrs this morning, with a bag of seeds and fat balls, I walked the beat putting fat balls into feeders, which only need an extra 2 or 3 fat balls, but the bird seed feeders needed a big top up. I then checked the water temperature which was now 35-36 degrees, I then spent around an hour giving the gate posts etc another coat of preservative. Then it was off to Whalley corn mills for more fat balls and sunflower hearts, then it off home, tomorrow the temps are on the rise temperature around 11 degrees C, with night time temps of 5 degrees C with wind from a SW direction, all week the temps are very good with some rain which will be most welcome as the river is very low and gin clear, hopefully I can catch a fish or two during the week.


Bird seed feeder

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Martin James Fishing
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