Monday, 17 July 2017

Second Flying Ant Day

Following a flying ant day on 7th July, mainly the nest on our rockery, we have just had another flying ant day this evening. This is the nuptial flight, the larger queens leave the best pursued soon after by the smaller males - survival of the fittest.
This time the main focus was nest sites in our front garden and under the paving slabs of the path outside our house. The above, mainly smaller males, on our front path.
Not a surprise as the last 4 years I have been taking part in the Flying Ant Day survey the 'Royal Society of Biologists' - plotting flying ant days across the country.
A couple of queen ants.

As part of the public involvement they encouraged unusual pictures and managed a close up of a queen sighting on the end of my finger and I try to  better it each year.
Sadly not so good this year. However it does help trying to photograph a queen in flight.

The field ants nest appears to have moved from our garden this year as they came up out of the pavement outside our house.
Please to see they have not gone far.

As always, many of the ants don't make it very far and those that do run the gauntlet of the gulls, swifts and other birds.

Frog in our living room

Got up this morning to find this common frog in our living room.
We have been leaving the conservatory doors open until quite late so it must have hopped in when no one was looking.

Not sure why it was attracted to the bag - maybe it thought that the colours where flowers and would be a good place to hide.
I carefully picked up the frog (with damp hands) and placed it back in the pond area.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Herring gull mobbing buzzard

The herring gull chicks have taken to wandering around on the roof tops and some have even taken to the air. The adults are much less tolerant of potential intruders including the occasional buzzard that glides over our garden.

Several gulls wheel around with raucous cries while one herring gull repeatedly mobs the buzzard until it has been chased out of range.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Goldfinches take a bath

A noise family of stunning goldfinches visited our bird bath for a drink and a good splash on a sunny and hot afternoon.

 The goldfinches took it in turns to bathe
I saw at least 3 juveniles (bird to the right above) but it was difficult to count the entire family as they flew in and out of the buddleia bush.

Afterwards the goldfinches retired to the branches for a preen

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Herring gull chicks test flight

All around my home there is the sound of demanding herring gull chicks as their are several nests nearby. I also keep a close on the nest, on the roof tops behind our bungalow, between the stacks of the chimney.
They have reared three chicks, perfectly camouflaged on the roof tops.
Today they have started to practice flight in earnest, leaping from the ridge of the roof and landing further down the tiles, before marching back up to the top and having another go.

As soon as one of the chicks start to exercise its wings, the parents go into defence mode, shouting at anyone or anything that come close.
Or dives on any potential intruder

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Herring gulls nesting update

Herring gulls chicks are now on the move. There are several nests on the roof tops along our road and the chicks are beginning to wander along the roof tops which cause the adults to be very protective.

This one decided to dive bomb me - excreting in my direction but missed by a long distance.
The herring gull chicks have perfect camouflage for rook tops.
They are either sleeping, demanding food from their parents, or exploring pecking at things that might be food.
There is also a nest on the chimney of a house behind ours, which I watch every year. One of the chicks is already trying out its wings in preparation pre-flights.

Herring gulls are fascinating to watch, getting a glimpse at courtship nest building, territorial behaviours, postures and calls.

You might be forgiven to think we are over run with herring gulls, but they are not doing so well in their natural environment earning them Red Status for conservation.

While I occasionally find my self being dived on by herring gulls, I am a great fan

Friday, 2 June 2017

Slow-worms enjoying the sun

The slow-worms in my garden have been enjoying the recent spell of hot weather. These beautiful legless lizards are delightful and of course completely harmless. They do in fact help the garden as they will eat small slugs and other garden pests.
They have been basking in different locations in our garden and I think there are at least 5 individuals as they differ in size, colour and whether their tail is still intact.

I rescued this little chap (or chap-ess) as it was about to slither into a bag of garden green waste while I was gardening destined for the green bin.
(I always tie them once I have finished to prevent frogs or other animals climbing inside)

This poor slow-worm was next to our green house on a very rainy day.
I thought it was dead at first, but it was alive but very cold. I brought it inside and warmed it with my hands.
Once it recovered I released it back in the garden in a safe dry spot.