Thursday 31 December 2009

Goodbye to 2009

Cup Lichen - Cladonia spThe snow has finally disappeared, but the weather remains cold and miserable. During one of the sunny interludes this week, I had a good look around the garden and noticed that the tree that came down a few weeks ago is covered in lots of mosses and lichens. I don't know much about either, so perhaps one of my tasks for 2010 is to find out more!

This cup lichen nestling among the frosty moss is probably Cladonia sp. I won't hazard as guess as to exactly which one. Lichens are amazing organisms which come in all shapes and sizes and which are very easy to overlook. These cups are tiny, just a few millimetres across.

Also, this week I spotted a new baby muntjac. It was alone without its mother, but I suspect she was somewhere close by. Muntjacs breed all year round and have a gestation period of 7 months. The females usually become pregnant again very quickly after giving birth, so it is possible that this is a sibling of the fawn I mentioned back in May. Sadly, there was no possibility of a photo of it this week. The weather was too dull and overcast.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2010 and hoping for lots of interesting flora and fauna in the new decade!

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Winter Wonderland

Winter WonderlandWhat a difficult couple of days. More snow started to fall yesterday afternoon and about 6 inches (15 cms) fell in a few hours.

The UK can't seem to handle snow for some unknown reason. Every seemingly minor snowfall causes complete chaos on the roads and yesterday was no exception. I spent three and a half hours picking up my son from work - 6 miles away! The roads were competely gridlocked.

Just before bedtime last night the electricity went off. It was a very cold night so we lit the wood-burning stove in an effort to keep the house warm.

The electricity was still off this morning. Frustratingly, we found that for most of the village the power had come back on within a few hours. There were just a few of us without.

We don't realise how much we rely on electricity until we find ourselves without it. It was a big relief when it came back on at 4.00pm.

We had such a bad experience after the hurricane of 1987 when we had no power for 7 days, that I always fear the worst when the power goes off!

On the plus side - I managed to get out for a short time with my camera. The trees look very pretty with their white winter coats against a beautiful blue sky.

Sunday 20 December 2009

Winter with a Vengeance

Cold winter sceneWinter arrived with a vengeance on Thursday night. The temperature fell to -8 degrees C (17 in fahrenheit) according to the thermometer attached to our kitchen window. It does not often get as cold as this.

The snow came from the east and most of it dropped on the east side of England. By the time it reached us, it left only a couple of inches (5 cms).

I did not manage to get out in the early morning to take photographs and by the time I took this photo the sun was going down and much of the snow had disappeared.

There was another half inch (1 cm) last night, but because the temperature is not rising above freezing during the day, the snow is not disappearing quickly.

The birds are in a frenzy on the feeders and I noticed a couple of new robins encroaching on the territory of the usual one and causing a bit of a stir. So, I went out and sprinkled some food in another part of the garden to try to keep them apart. Robins are very territorial and the only time we see more than one together is during the mating season.

It would be nice if the snow lasted until Christmas. I don't remember the last time we had snow on the ground at Christmas.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

First Snow of the Winter

Green Woodpecker in the snowThe first snow of the winter fell today. There was not much of it and it did not stay around long, but this male green woodpecker (Picus viridus) did not look too comfortable.

There has been a lot of wildlife around recently. After seeing no deer for several weeks, a herd passed through a few days ago. Firstly, the roe doe with her adolescent fawn (male, I think) crossed the lawn in one direction.

Half an hour later about five or six roe deer came racing through. It was misty so I was unable to count them exactly.

The muntjacs have also been around - the buck on several occasions, but there were two of them on the lawn yesterday.

My neighbour told me that while we were away, there was a big fight between two buzzards on our back lawn. When he went to investigate, they were fighting over a hare. I was really annoyed to miss this spectacle, but rather sad at the demise of the hare. That's nature, I suppose.

Sunday 6 December 2009

Sunshine, Wind and Rain

Fallen treeIt has been a week of sunshine, heavy rain and winds.

An inspection of the garden today found the pond level two or three inches above the overflow pipe. It must have rained very heavily during the night. I hope the level falls to normal soon otherwise the bog plants in the shallow end may suffer.

A huge tree has recently fallen in the corner of the garden furthest from the house. Luckily it did no damage. It is not actually our tree but has fallen over into our garden from the woodland next door, just missing demolishing the fence!

I think it is an alder (although difficult to tell when there are no leaves). I have read that alder wood does not give out much heat when burnt in a stove, so I hope I am wrong about the type.

I also found lots of holes dug in the flower beds next to the house with lots of tracks leading to them. I guess it must be rabbits causing the damage. I think it is unlikely that badgers would dig there. Whatever it is, it is causing a lot of damage. I must put out my stealthcam to see if I can get a photo of the culprits and try to find a way to dissuade them.

Thursday 3 December 2009

The Quintessential Toadstool

Fly Agaric - Amanita MuscariaI found this toadstool in the garden - Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscaria). They are not uncommon and we regularly find them in the garden during autumn and winter.

The reason I am posting a photo is because I don't often find such a good specimen. They are usually nibbled and damaged and I could not resist a photo of this one. They are so pretty.

I think of Fly Agaric as the quintessential toadstool - those that appear in kiddies' story books and the type that most people conjour in their minds when you mention the word toadstool.

They are usually found around birch trees and, of course, they are poisonous so best not to touch.

Thursday 26 November 2009

After the Storms

Mahonia x charityI have been away for the last few weeks and therefore unable to post.

Today was the first occasion to look around the garden to see what has been happening while I was away.

Apparently it has been quite stormy - high winds and heavy rain. Most of the leaves have gone from the trees, which is rather a godsend. As you can imagine, with so many trees in the garden, leaf clearing is a huge job which usually lasts from September to December. The ash leaves are usually the first to fall and the oak the last. This year, maybe we can get them cleared by early December.

There is not much flowering at this time of year, just some Winter-flowering Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) and Mahonia (Mahonia x charity), but they add a little bit of colour.

There are still lots of fungi. The lawns are peppered with what look like tiny Waxcaps (Hygrocybe), white and yellow, but I have not been able to identify them exactly yet. There are also Blackening Waxcaps (Hygrocybe nigrescens), Shaggy Parasols (Macrolepiota rhacodes), Deceivers and some Cup fungi which I am not sure about.

While I have been away, the birds emptied the feeders and then disappeared. They turned up again very quickly when I replenished, including 2 very greedy crows and the athletic magpies which manage to hang onto the feeders like the little birds. There were also a couple of mistle thrushes around the house today.

Luckily we don't seem to have had any storm damage and let's hope we are in for a calmer winter.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Finally a Hare Photo

European Hare - Lepus europaeusThere have been hares (Lepus europaeus) in the garden for some time, but they have proved very elusive and, until today, I have been unable to get a photo.

Just before it got dark this evening I saw this little chap (chapess?) nibbling away on the lawn. I managed to sneak up on it and take this photo, although I did not really get close enough.

What a magnificent creature. It is larger and lighter coloured than a rabbit with quite distinct long ears.

I hope it will make itself at home so that I can get a better chance of a photo.

Sunday 1 November 2009

Autumn Colours

Autumn ColoursThey promised heavy rain and stormy winds this weekend, so I thought I should take some photos of the autumn colours in the garden while the leaves are still there!

It has been a very pretty autumn and there are a surprising number of leaves still on the trees even though it is the first of November today. The tree in the foreground is a beech and its leaves are still remarkably green.

The high winds and rain did materialise and our driveway is now ankle deep with leaves.

Sunday 25 October 2009

An Explosion of Fungi

Shaggy Inkcap - Coprinus comatusThe rain yesterday morning has brought out a huge array of fungi - lots of differents kinds of Inkcaps (Coprinus), Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa) and Lepiota of some kind, probably Freckled Dapperling (Lepiota aspera), among others. The first photo is a Shaggy Inkcap which is apparently edible when young.

Hen of the Woods - Grifola frondosaThe second photo shows Hen of the Woods which is also apparently edible. However, my fungus identification skills are not good enough to risk eating any of these!

Saturday 24 October 2009

Hazel Catkins in October?

Hazel catkins - Corylus avellanaI found these Hazel Catkins (Corylus avellana) in the garden today. Most surprising to see them in October. Although they had not fully opened, I would not normally expect to see them until January or February. Strange things are happening with the seasons.

It was a busy day for wildlife today. There have been a least a dozen pheasants around and when I went to have a look at the pond I disturbed a heron and two mallard ducks.

Friday 23 October 2009

Silk Button and Common Spangle Galls

Silk Button Spangle Gall - Neuroterus numismalisLife in the garden takes many shapes and sizes but one of the strangest is galls. Galls are abnormal growths on a plant caused by a parasite.

I found these galls on a fallen oak leaf today. The doughnut shaped ones are Silk Button Galls (Neuroterus numismalis) and the green-coloured ones are Common Spangle Galls (Neuroterus quercusbaccarum). They are tiny. The diameter of the Silk Button is about 3 mm.

They are created when the tiny Cynipid wasp lays eggs on the oak leaf. The grub matures inside the gall.

Silk Button Spangle Gall - Neuroterus numismalisThe Common Spangle Galls are formed in a similar way but they are flatter and rather bristly.

The second photo shows a close-up of these amazing growths.

Thursday 22 October 2009

Roe Deer Buck

Roe deer buck - Capreolus capreolusThis chap was hanging around our garden all day today. I watched him eating our shrubs as I opened the curtains when I got up this morning (no camera handy).

I got my camera out when he was eating the windfall apples this evening, but it was almost dark, so the photograph is not too good.

You can see the remnants of his ginger summer coat amongst his darker winter coat.

He is also a relatively young male since his antlers are quite small. Roe deer shed their antlers each winter and regrow them.

Sunday 18 October 2009

Deer, Squirrels and Pheasants

Roe deer - Capreolus capreolusUntil this week we have not seen any deer in or around the garden for ages. I guess they are visiting at night rather than during the day. However, in the last couple of days I have spotted a couple in the field out front. I think these are the mother and the young male born this year. They are both wearing their darker winter coats.

The squirrels are hyperactive at the moment. Every time I look out of the window, I see one running across the lawn, probably with acorns to stash away.

I think there must be people locally who breed pheasants. I suspect that they have just released this year's brood, possibly because the pheasant shooting season in England started on 1st October. In the last two weeks, there have been at least a dozen pheasants in the garden - mostly males. We often hear shooting in the woods, so I hope the pheasants realise they are safe in our garden!

Saturday 17 October 2009

Feathered Thorn Moth

Feathered Thorn Moth - Colotois pennariaThis Feathered Thorn Moth has been on my window for several days. It looks just like a dried leaf sticking to the window, until you look closer.

This one is a male with its long, feathery antenna. They are quite amazing when you see them close up. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Monday 12 October 2009

Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker - Picus viridusThis female green woodpecker (Picus viridus) was hopping around the lawn for most of the day today, eating ants.

They are very shy and don't often come close enough to the house to get a decent photo through the window.

The beak is very long and it hammers it into the earth to find ants, usually ending up quite muddy in the process.

Unlike other kinds of woodpecker, green woodpeckers spend a lot of time on the ground rather than in trees. Their green plumage merges into the background, but the red head means it can be spotted quite easily.

At the weekend there were dozens of ladybirds flying around. I would guess that they are trying to find a warm and cosy place to hibernate. Last winter, lots of them ended up in the frame of our sliding patio doors.

Friday 9 October 2009

Badger and Hare

Badger - Meles melesI found a dead badger (meles meles) in the garden today - not the one in the photograph. It must have been dead for a while because the scavengers had been at it and there was only fur and a few bones left. I would be interested to know what killed it.

Badgers have few predators in this country and it is badger cubs that are most at risk from predators. Adult badgers can fight back fairly aggressively if attacked and they have a nasty bite. They also use their black and white striped face to warn off attackers.

Badgers are getting a fairly bad press at the moment in the UK, accused of spreading Bovine TB. I hope that no local farmers are taking it into their own hands and poisoning them. They are such beautiful creatures.

I also surprised a brown hare (Lepus capensis). It was just a few metres away so I got a good look at it before it ran off. I have seen hares in the garden before but only from a distance. I was surprised by its light colouring and, of course, it had the black tips on its ears. I wish I could get a photo.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Gardener's Enemy

Honey Fungus - Armillaria melleaIt only took a sprinkle of rain and up popped clumps of Honey Fungus (Armillaria mellea) all over the garden.

In woodland, this fungus serves the very useful purpose of breaking down the wood of dead trees and making space for new trees to take their place. However, in gardens, the fungus can spread to healthy trees and shrubs and kill them.

We get Honey Fungus in the garden most years but have not as yet had it spreading to healthy trees. I am not really sure what, if anything we should do about it. There is no easy way of getting rid of it.

Saturday 26 September 2009

Glorious Autumn Weather

Golden SunriseI don't want to speak too soon, but after a mixed summer this autumn has started beautifully - bright blue skies with a few fluffy clouds and glorious golden sunrises.

The leaves started changing colour in August, but very few have fallen. If we don't get any high winds, I think this will be a very colourful autumn.

Golden Sunrise
Today was sunny and warm and the creatures in the garden were making the most of it. Two buzzards were soaring over the house and butterflies (Comma and Speckled Wood) and dragonflies were enjoying the sunshine.

Friday 25 September 2009

More New Moths

The Herald MothMoths tend to be rather intimidating to some people. They flutter around the windows and light bulbs at night trying to get in the house. They are mostly associated with darkness even though there are many day-flying moths. They were never one of my favourite creatures.

However, since I have started to look at them more closely I have realised they can be very beautiful. I am also amazed by their diversity.

This Herald Moth (Scoliopteryx libatrix) was on the glass door tonight. At a glance it looked like any other dark coloured moth. It wasn't until I took a photo that I realised how striking it was, with its jagged wings and bright orange/red markings.

There was another new one on the kitchen window which I think is The Gothic (Naenia typica), but I am not completely sure.

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Shaggy Parasols

Shaggy Parasol - Macrolepiota rhacodesToday, I found two huge patches of Shaggy Parasol Mushrooms (Macrolepiota rhacodes) near the compost heap. The photo shows one of them. There must have been about a dozen of them, all about this size - more than 4 inches (10 cms) diameter.

These mushrooms have brown scales on the cap and a bulbous base to the stem.

They are apparently edible, but can cause stomach upsets in some people. I should stress that you should never eat any fungus unless you are certain it is safe to eat.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Daytime Bat

No photo unfortunately, but several times this week we have seen a bat flying around the house in the middle of the day. It was fairly light in colour and probably a Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) registering about 45KHz on the bat detector.

I just wonder what is bringing it out so early in the day?

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Face Off

Cock PheasantsThese two cock pheasants were having a bit of an argument today. There was no female around, so I am not sure what the disagreement was about. They usually live happily together in the garden until the mating season comes around.

Sunday 6 September 2009

Very Unwelcome Resident

American Signal CrayfishAlthough I knew there were American Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) in our pond, we don't often see them. It was a case of out of sight - out of mind, until I found this one, today, in the stream that feeds our pond.

These crayfish are a non-native species and their release into the wild in Britain is a disaster for our native wildlife. They are voracious predators which have almost wiped out our native crayfish. They eat fish, plants and invertebrates and cause erosion problems along riverbanks.

This one was about 6 inches (15 cms) long.

I am not really sure what we should do about them. Should I start trapping them?

Saturday 5 September 2009

Crickets and Dragonflies

Speckled Bush CricketThis Speckled Bush Cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima) was on the window today.

Not much else around except a couple of dragonflies - probably Southern Hawkers (Aeshna cyanea).

Southern Hawker - Aeshna cyanea
I find dragonflies almost impossible to photograph because they never seem to land. Southern Hawkers are fairly distinctive with their bright blue/green colouring.

Friday 4 September 2009

Determined Badgers

Wasp Nest dug out by BadgerI went back to have another look at the wasp nest mentioned last week. The badgers have been at it again and the hole is now much bigger.

I suspect the wasps have been fighting back but the nest is now much more exposed.

Because badgers have such thick fur they have a lot of protection against wasps stings. I would guess only their noses are susceptible. It will be interesting to see who wins this battle.

Monday 31 August 2009

Raided Wasp Nest

There is not much happening in the garden at the moment and not really any colour. We cannot plant any of the usual pretty flowers in an English Country Garden because most things we plant are eaten by the deer. Although there is a riot of colour in the spring, by late summer very little is flowering and the garden is mostly shades of green.

If anyone has any suggestions about late-flowering plants that are not eaten by deer, I would be very interested to hear about them.

I had a walk around the garden today and there are still plenty of butterflies - mostly whites and speckled woods. However, the most interesting find today was the wasp nest which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. When I first found it, it was a small hole about 3 cms diameter. This weekend I found that it has been raided. Quite a big hole has been dug in an effort to reach the nest, but I don't think the marauder was successful because of the tree roots in the way. If you click on this image to enlarge it you will see that there are still plenty of wasps making their way in and out.

Wasp Nest dug out by Badger I would guess that the culprit is a badger. I believe that badgers eat wasp larvae and sometimes wasps, too. This wasp nest is right next to the badger latrine, which was probably not a very sensible place to build the nest!

Monday 24 August 2009

Sparrowhawk with a Sore Head

Sparrowhawk - Accipiter nicusI was sitting in my office today when there was an enormous bang on the window. I rushed outside to find this Sparrowhawk stunned on the patio. I really didn't think it would survive. I don't know how it did not break its neck. But, luckily, after a few minutes it managed to get up and fly away.

This is probably a juvenile and possibly a female.

What a magnificent creature! However, the reason it was here was to catch one of the small birds which feed on my bird feeders. At least I have the satisfaction of knowing that one of the little birds survived today at the expense of the Sparrowhawk.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Enormous Moth

Poplar hawk-moth - Laothoe populiThis evening we saw a huge moth on the window. It is probably the biggest moth that I have ever seen in the UK with a wingspan of almost 3 inches (>7cms).

It was a Poplar Hawk-moth. It is easily identified because its hind-wings are held forward of the forewings, which can be seen in this photo. Also just visible is the red patch on its hindwing, which is usually hidden.

Saturday 22 August 2009

Another New Wildflower

Sowbread - Cyclamen hederifoliumAnother first from the garden today - a cyclamen which goes by the rather unflattering name of sowbread (from the time that they used to feed the corms to pigs).

This pretty little flower was growing alone on top of a long straight stem. The leaves apparently appear after the flower.

Friday 21 August 2009

Nighttime Visitor

Common ToadWe don't often see toads here, probably because they are noctural. I am sure that there are plenty of them around. I found this one tonight on the driveway, quite a long way from the pond. I hope it can find it's way back.

Thursday 20 August 2009

Just a Big Kid

Roe Deer KidSince one of the roe deer died in the garden a couple of weeks ago, the others seem to have been visiting less frequently, or perhaps only at night. Maybe they sense danger here?

However, the fallen apples are proving too much of a temptation and mother and kid were back again today. I have only just found out that a young roe deer is called a "kid". I thought they were fawns.

The kid is big now - almost as big as its mother. But, it's spots are still showing faintly. This kid is about 3 months old now. It was born in May.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Cutting the Hay

Red KiteThis week the farmer next door has been working very hard to cut the hay in the field in front of our house before the promised rain. This means rich picking for the birds!

The buzzards and red kites have been swooping down behind the tractor for an easy meal. There have also been dozens (possibly hundreds?) of swallows circling around and skimming low over the field in search of the insects who have lost their home.

It is great to watch. However, I am not good at photographing birds in flight. This photo of a red kite is the best I could manage.

Sunday 16 August 2009

German Wasp Nest

German Wasps - vespula germanicaI found a nest of German Wasps (vespula germanica) in a hole in the ground under one of the trees in the garden.

They are very busy, in and out all day. German Wasps are very similar to Common Wasps, but they can be identified by a triangle of three small black spots on their face - if you can get close enough to see them! Common Wasps have a black anchor shape on their face.

Jay featherI also found this very pretty little feather. It is tiny - only about 2 inches (5 cms) long. It comes from a Jay and is responsible for that blue flash that is usually all you see when a Jay flies by!

Saturday 15 August 2009

More New Moths

Sallow Kitten MothMore new moths this week. Fairly common ones, but I have either not noticed them before or have not been able to identify them - straw dot moth, sallow kitten moth and brimstone moth. The moth to the left is the Sallow Kitten which is often found near goat willow trees.

I mentioned previously that this is a good year for butterflies, but the same seems to be true for moths.

I also managed a rather nice photo of a black arches moth.

Black Arches Moth

Sunday 9 August 2009

Autumn arriving already?

There are already signs that autumn is approaching - so early in the first week of August. The leaves are starting to change colour on some of the trees, especially cherry and chestnut.


The blackberries are ripening and the apple trees are heavy with fruit.

However, the butterflies are still very active. Lots of whites and common blues around today.

Friday 7 August 2009

Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods, Laetiporus sulphureusI found another fungus new to the garden today - Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) or sometimes called Sulphur Polypore. It is edible and apparently has the texture of chicken - hence the name. Not something I would like to try.

Lots of other fungi around - today I found 3 types of bolete, Brown Birch Bolete - Leccinum scabrum, and two others which I am not sure about.

I should also stress that it is not advisable to eat any fungus unless it has been identified as edible by an expert.

This week has also been a good week for birds. It was very quiet at the feeders for the last couple of months. They all seemed to be very busy nesting. However, all the little ones have returned and been hyperactive all week.

There have also been two juvenile green woodpeckers picking ants out of the lawn, three Jays which is unusual because they are usually fairly solitary. They have been very active in the apples trees and on the lawn. The grey wagtail that usually lives by the pond also made an appearance outside the house.

Thursday 6 August 2009

His Lucky Day?

Roe DeerHe thinks it may be his lucky day?

Wednesday 5 August 2009

Roe Deer Mating Season

It's that time of year again - the roe deer buck has turned up and is staying very close to the doe. It is quite amusing to watch. He stays about 20-30 metres away from her. If she sits down, so does he.

Hopefully there will be some new little ones next May.

Sunday 2 August 2009

Peacocks on Buddleia

Peacock butterfly
Busy day for peacock butterflies. They could not resist the buddleia flowers.
Peacock butterfly

Saturday 1 August 2009

Lucky Escape!

A stock dove came down our chimney today. Luckily the fireguard kept it in the fireplace so we were easily able to catch it and take it outside. We released it and it seemed unhurt.

Horrible day today considering it is supposed to be the middle of summer. Rain on and off all day and not much chance of photographs.

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Sad Update :(

I mentioned in my post last weekend that I thought there may be something wrong with the roe deer that did not run away. Sadly, I found it dead in the garden this evening. Twice this week I found it sitting or lying in the garden and managed to get quite close to it before it noticed me. I thought this was most unusual.

I am now wondering what happened. I hope it was not poisoned.

Very sad.

Monday 27 July 2009

After the Rain

The weather has been awful for the last couple of weeks - heavy showers and very blustery. However, the rain has greened up the lawn which had become very brown after a particularly dry May and June. The rain has also brought out the fungi which is popping up all over the place. There are a couple of rings of Fairy Ring Champignons (Marasmius Oreades), Yellow Stainer (Agaricus xanthodermus), lots of boletes (not sure which), Common Earthballs (Scleroderma citrinum), Collared Earthstars (Geastrum triplex), 3 different kinds of Russula (purple, red and yellow) and various other LBJs which I won't even try to identify.

In between the showers the butterflies come out in their hundreds - lots of whites, peacocks, painted ladies, fritillaries, brimstone, meadow brown, commas, gatekeepers, speckled wood...

The Jays have also made an appearance. Normally very shy, we usually see them at this time of year collecting acorns.

Saturday 25 July 2009

Deer Surprise!

I had a nice surprise today. I was out in the garden photographing butterflies and I looked over the fence into the field next door. There, sat very quietly, was a roe deer who looked at me with interest but did not run away.They are normally very nervous creatures so it was lovely to get so close without scaring it. I rushed indoors to get my other camera and she was still there when I got back.

Roe Deer in the grass She sat quietly while I took some photos, but the problem was the long grass in which she was hiding. I am wondering why she did not run away? Maybe she was a youngster or perhaps she had a problem of some kind. She was not one of the regular roe deer that frequent the garden. I am getting the recognise them now!

Sunday 12 July 2009

Hundreds of Butterflies

Green-veined white butterflies
After the rain yesterday, the butterflies have emerged to make the most of the sunshine. There are hundreds of them - gatekeepers, ringlets, green-veined whites, commas and small heaths (I think). Today is fairly windy so they are keeping to the sheltered spots, where I also spotted a banded demoiselle and a large red damselfly.

This photo shows a male (one black spot) and female (two black spots) green-veined white.

Friday 10 July 2009

Mother and Junior

Although I have seen them several times, the roe deer and her fawn have been avoiding the camera. However, the windfall apples have started to fall from the tree and they are proving to be too much temptation. Still not a very good shot, but they are easily spooked.

Junior still has his/her spots.

Roe deer doe and fawn

Thursday 9 July 2009

Trouble with Magpies

A family of magpies (at least 5 of them) are causing real trouble at the bird feeder. They have taken to hanging on the feeder and are particularly partial to fat balls. They are not a bird that I like and they are chasing all the little birds away. I will stop putting out fat balls for a while to see if they will go and feed somewhere else.

Sunday 5 July 2009

Great year for butterflies

Gatekeeper Butterfly What a great year this has been for butterflies. Today was warm and sunny and the bramble bushes along the garden fence were alive with butterflies - dozens of them, mostly Gatekeepers (sometimes called Hedge Brown) and Ringlets.

This is the first time I have seen Ringlets in the garden, but I find them very difficult to identify without getting a photo. That is difficult in itself because they don't keep still for long.

Ringlet Butterfly