Monday, 27 April 2015
A few photos of the garden pond and rockery. Azaleas are starting to come into flower.
Hundreds of frog tadpoles are swimming around and Common Newt numbers are building up.
Wood Anemones still flowering.
I put the moth trap out last night - cold and clear with a minimum temperature of 0.5 but there were two moths this morning. Yet another Hebrew Character and this Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) - another new species for the year.
Sorry record shot only - the light was low and I don't like using flash with moths as it alters the colours too much!
A good year for garden Orange Tips and Holly Blues and Speckled Wood put in its first appearance last week.
Orange Tip have been nectaring on the Honesty flowers scattered around the garden and I think a female may have been laying eggs on this one. Must check properly tomorrow.
Monday, 20 April 2015
Saturday night's moth trapping session only produced 3 moths of 3 species. Min temperature was only 2.9 degrees centigrade so I suppose its not surprising. The moths included yet another Hebrew Character and Clouded Drab and a nice surprise in the shape of Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa) - another new species for the year. A very unusual looking moth and I only trap a few each year despite the fact that they are relatively common.
B was planting some seeds this afternoon when an exhausted racing pigeon landed at his feet. He put out some food and water for the bird which eventually fluttered onto the roof of next door's extension.
Later if flew off more strongly onto the roof of our other neighbour so hopefully once its rested it will continue its journey and arrive home safely. Last time we had a Racing Pigeon in the garden it never left and seemed to pair up with one of the local Feral Pigeons!
Saturday, 18 April 2015
I put the moth trap out last night even though it was cold overnight (Min Temp 2.5 degrees centigrade was recorded) and there were just 3 moths in the trap this morning.
I was pleased though to see this Twin-spotted Quaker (Anorthoa munda) as I rarely trap this species and its a good "tick" for the year.
Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria) was also snuggled up in one of the egg-boxes - I know a posted a photo the other day but at least this one isn't still in a pot!! Common Quaker completed the trio.
Early Grey (Xylocampa areola) together with another Brindled Beauty (sorry Stewart if you read this post!)trapped on Tuesday night.
Tuesday night also produced 2 of the dreaded pugs - I have huge problems identifying pugs down to species level. As you can see from this photo they never keep still and its very difficult to get even a picture. If anyone has any ideas which species it is would love to hear from you! The other pug flew off before I could get a photo as is usually the case!!
Two garden butterfly "firsts" for 2015 today - Orange Tip (Anthocaris cardamines) and Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
I spotted the male Orange Tip when I was watering some pots sadly it didn't linger so this is a photo of one I took last year. The Holly Blue was seen on ivy but it was flying over the garden fence before I could get the camera.
Two new species for the 2015 garden bird list last week too - a female Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) bathing in the garden pond and a Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto). Collared Doves used to be daily visitors but in recent years we only see a couple a year. Probably coincidence but the decrease in doves seems to correspond with an increase in Wood and Feral Pigeon sightings.
Wednesday, 15 April 2015
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
A few Spring flower photos taken in the garden over Easter weekend. The first half dozen or so species are particularly good at attracting insects.
Mahonia (finally starting to flower!)
Lungwort - this one has been flowering for some weeks and now the
other variety in the herbaceous border is starting to flower too.
Primroses have been flowering for months - they just go on and on :)
Camelias - White and
Red is now flowering too.
Wood Anemones just had buds when I took this photo but now they are flowering well (will try and get more photos this week)
There are tiny clumps of violets all over the garden.
Blackthorn which flowers before the leaves appear.
Hawthorn leaves are unfurling (leaves open before the flowers)
Finally, nettles are starting to emerge
There were fun and games in the garden this morning when a local pair of Carrion Crows decided to steal a few twigs from the Magpie nest! The Magpies were not amused!.
Not sure what is happening with the Blue Tits - they have returned to the nest box in the Whitebeam and a few wisps of moss were taken in today. Do hope they do nest this year otherwise it will be the first year the nestbox with a camera hasn't been used since we first put it up.
Saturday, 11 April 2015
A lovely surprise in the garden early this morning - a Grey Heron perched in the Silver Birch just behind the pond.
A record shot taken with the Canon bridge camera - through a very dirty kitchen window and the rain and gloom!!
The pond does attract herons once or twice a year but they are usually very wary and fly away as soon as you spot them. This one actually stayed around long enough for my son to fetch the camera and get a quick picture.
First Comma of the year in the garden last Thursday but by the time I had fetched the camera it had gone!
Wednesday, 8 April 2015
Several times over the years I've bought Snakeshead Fritillary (Fritillaria meleognis) plants and they've disappeared without trace. Last year I thought i'd discovered the reason why when this Lily Beetle (Lilioceris lilii) appeared along with several other beetles on yet another Fritillary I'd bought.
I didn't think the plant would survive so left it in its pot. I was thrilled today to see that it has re-appeared and has several flowers and buds.
Even better an Early Bumble Bee worker (Bombus pratorum) was taking nectar from one of the flowers.
Earlier in the day I'd also seen an Early Bumble Bee on Lungwort.
Now I know its survived I'll be planting the Fritillary in either the Rockery or Wildflower "meadow" hoping the lily beetles don't return!
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
A Spring Posy for the Easter Sunday lunch table - flowers picked from the garden.
Blue Tits still haven't started building a nest. Initially, I thought the Magpie's nest
might be deterring them but today they were prospecting a nest box in a silver birch almost directly below the Magpie nest! A wren is building a nest in a disused hanging basket on the patio. The male bird builds several nests and then the female picks one to use and finish off. I really do hope she doesn't choose this particularly one as they've nested in hanging baskets before and the young were constantly falling out and those that survived had to be pushed back into the nest. There's a wall on each side of the patio covered in ivy and I do wish the nest had been built there instead.
First garden butterfly of the year yesterday - a Peacock and today Common Newts have started to re-appear in the pond.
Friday, 3 April 2015
I saw my first Tree Bumble Bee Queen of the year yesterday. No chance of a photo as it was whizzing at great speed round the patio either looking for nectar or a nesting site so this is a photo I took a few years ago.
Last year this species nested in our roof (much to our neighbour's horror - I had to go to great lengths to explain that the bees aren't aggressive and would only be around for a few months.)
Blue Tits are still investigating the nest box in the Whitebeam although no sign of any nesting material being taken in yet. This particular nestbox has a camera.
Robins are nesting in a holly bush and, less welcome, Magpies have decided to build a nest in one of the Silver Birches in the wooded area at the top of the garden. I appreciate research has shown that there is no evidence that Magpies are to blame for declines in song bird populations but I have to admit I find it very distressing when I see them raiding garden nests and carrying off young birds.