Since I have put the hub up, I have been trying to create areas for photography. I wanted to create an area that birds would come to, to drink and bathe and that would offer me good views and angles to photograph from the hide-style windows in the hub. I did have a slightly raised area with a large terracotta dish. This has always been popular, so I decided to try to enlarge this.
I wanted to raise the area so I could see the birds more clearly. I decided to use two old tyres from my local tyre shop…. free and a great way to recycle! Originally, I had decided to use a baking tray in the top to create the pool, but after a week, I found it was too shallow and emptied too quickly, so I change plan and used a scrap of pond liner.
First, I cleared the area. It is already on a raised bed, so I decided to use two tyres. I levelled them and then filled them with soil dug up from the end of my garden! I lay some felt inside and then the pond liner on top. I was able to push the soil down to create the shape I wanted… some areas shallow.. some a little deeper. When I was happy with the shape, I filled it up with water to stretch the liner down and so I could check it was level. I then tucked all the liner edges in around the sides.
I collected a load of rocks from around the garden and found a huge mossy one up by my shed, which I heaved down and placed in the front. Using extra soil, I created a gradual slope up around the pool so that the hedgehogs could get up to drink. I then searched for some old logs, pieces of nice wood and moved some ferns, hostas and ivy to soften the edges. I sunk a couple of stones into the pool to create areas for drinking and shallower areas for bathing.
I was really pleased with the effect… just one thing missing… a camera! I used a high res nest box camera and positioned it low and close to the pool… it gave a rather Amazonian effect! I mounted the camera in a piece of guttering to protect it and covered it in moss to hide it a little. All I needed was some birds now.
Working a lot in the garden over the weekend, not many birds visited, but my cat did! Today, I was working at the PC with the live stream on. I saw a female blackbird approach… and straight away she went in and had a very energetic bath, splashing the water all over the place… including all over the camera that I had mounted a little too close! It got soaked and then steamed up! It took all day for the condensation to clear. I have moved it away a little but rather like the close up view. I may find a little piece of glass I could place as a ‘buffer’ between cam and exuberant bathing.. it’s all about experimenting.
Why don’t you nip down to your local tyre garage and grab yourself a tyre and make your own waterhole for your garden creatures… it can look great and form an important part of your wildlife garden! Take a look at the live stream on my website… I am pretty sure this is going to be a popular spot!