Monday, 25 April 2011

Damselflies, slowworm and peacock butterflies.

Yesterday I noticed the first damselfly had emerged from our pond. I rescued a slowworm, different to the previous slowworm, from our cat. I also noticed the first peacock butterfly in our garden.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Bee rescue

We have a great problem of insects coming into our conservatory in the summer, which if not removed they turn up dead behind a curtain. These insects include bees, butterflies, hoverflies and damselflies (latter from our pond).

We have tried all sorts of things to stop them, including a curtain made of strips of material side by side to make a curtain. Some still manged to get in. So it generally relies on us noticing and then catching them and letting them go in the garden.
Here is a queen red tailed bee.

Today I found a red mason bee lying on the carpet. At first I thought it was dead. I touched it with the hairs of a paint brush.
This rolled the bee over and it slowly rolled back. It was a very hot day.

So I got a plate and some cotton wool. I soaked the Cotton wool in a mixture of water and honey.
I carefully picked up the bee on the end of the paint brush and placed it carefully on the cotton wool.

After a minute or two the bee started to move a bit and appeared to be drinking the moisture from the cotton wool.
A few minutes later the bee moved across the plate and flew to the nearest flowers, a couple of feet away.

The bee then flew from one flower to another and eventually flew away.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Red mason bees mating.

We have a yellow front wall to our house which attracts bees at the end of the day attacted by the colour and the warmth of this west facing wall.
There a few small solitary bees buzzing around and occasionally settling on the wall. They appear to be red mason bees.

I noticed that occasionally one of the resting bees would be dive bombed by another, chasing the first bee away. This happened on a few occasions.

Later I noticed a couple of pairs mating on the wall.
Due to the brightness of the reflected sunlight, the bees are difficult to distinguish.

I also witnessed one of the pairs being dive bombed by another bee, possibly a male trying to dislodge the male from the mating pair. It did not have any affect.
This was fascinating to observe.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Bats and slowworm

I have been keeping an eye on the track that runs past our house for signs of bats and today I saw my first one on the 21st and another today. As with last year, the bat(s) forage for about 30 minutes, flying up and down the track and then move onto another location. The bats appear to be pipistrelle.

I also spotted a large slowworm on our front lawn this morning

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Bees on the Beach

This continues a pilot project I was working on last year to monitor bees on the vegetated shingle on the Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve. The aim was to find out what bees were present and what plant species they pollinated.

This time of the year very few plants are flowering on the beach so I did not expect to find any (last year the pilot project started in May).

I managed to photograph these three. The first is a type of cuckoo bee of the species Nomada, possibly Nomada goodeniana because of the orangy coloured legs and antennae
 The yellow spots the the bee below suggests its a male.

I also saw a few of this bee, possibly Andrena Bicolor

The identity of the last one I am, not sure of. Its a very small bee (and a distance photograph) so not enough detail to be sure

The conditions were not ideal for bee watching especially photographing. It was quite blowy and the sun meant it was easy to cast a shadow and frighten the bee off while trying to get into a good position to photograph them. Because there are not many flowers on the beach yet, they did not stay in one place for long.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Speckled Wood

The small white butterflies visiting our garden have been joined by a few speckled wood butterflies.

This one settled on the side of our shed.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Garden Foxes

My mother in laws garden is visited by two beautiful foxes, a vixen and a dog fox. She puts out food each evening and one of the fox comes by on its evening rounds.
At this time of the year the vixen is probably in its den with cubs, which normally first appear above ground in May.

If no food is left out it will rattle the plate until someone comes out and puts food in it.
The fox took some food away in its mouth and buried it.

Peanuts are also put out for the squirrels, which the fox also chomped its way throught.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Queen red tailed bumble bee

I noticed a queen red tailed bumble feeding on the Grape Hyacinth