Saturday, 31 March 2012

First slowworm of the year

While gardening, I noticed a slow-worm in the overgrown border. It was not moving and I was not sure if it was alive at first, as I had been causing quite a bit of disturbance.

I carefully stroked the slow-worm and it moved its head slightly.

After a while it glided slowly in the opposite direction. this charming leg-less lizard is a beneficial garden inhabitant feeding on small slugs and other invertebrates

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Flowering currant

The flowering currant has continued to grow since last year and the flowers are just beginning to open.
At least 3 buff-tailed queen bumble bees on the flowers at the same time.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Hairy footed bees.

First visit from hairy footed bee Anthophora Plumipes female this year. I noticed a male visiting flowers up the track. The males are brown and the female is black. Check last Mays entries for a picture of the male.
They are are particularly attracted to the pulmonaria plants in our garden each year.

They resemble tiny humming birds when they are nectaring, hovering with their long tongue.

 (Pictures taken through our conservatory window)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Early butterflies

With the sunny weather of the last week there has been a lot of bee activity in the garden. in particularly the early bee visiting the pulmonaria and numerous honey bees visiting the grape hyacinth

I have now seen my first tortoiseshell butterfly of the year, several spotted wood butterflies and a large yellow butterfly that did not settle so no id possible. Speckled wood butterflies are unusual in that it can over winter as a larvae or a pupae.

Usually on the wing from April, this unseasonal sunny spell has probably caused earlier emergence of adults. This one is sunning itself on the wall of our house.

I also observed the first peacock butterfly fluttering around in my greenhouse, probably flew in the open door. I managed to get it to settle on my hand so I could release it through the skylight.
Both peacock and tortoiseshell butterflies hibernate as adults.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

bees and buzzards

Buff-tailed queen bee still visiting the pulmonaria flowers, possibly three (at least two).

Several honey bee workers were visiting the grape hyacinths in the front garden all day.

After hearing a loud commotion from the Herring gulls I noticed the two buzzards, they fly over from time to time, lazily circling on the thermals.

I noticed them three time during the day, they slowly circle from the north and just south of our garden they turn back and head north again.

The last occasion the buzzard (identifiable by the missing tail feathers), circled relatively low over our garden giving a splendid view.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

More bees

Sunny day and the first early bee Bombus pratorum sunning itself on the old door of the shed. judging by its relative size, this is a small bumble bee species, this was probably a queen.

This bee has a red abdomen but unlike the red-tailed bee this bee has two yellow bands.

A queen buff tailed bumble bee was again visiting the pulmonaria by the pond.

I watched a buff-tailed queen bee searching for a nest site.
It investigated the gaps between the bricks in the low wall. It then proceeded to investigate around the pond and even the whole in the watering can (laying on its side) before flying off.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Blue tit looking for nest site

Due to illness I have not had time to put the next box up this year. The nest box is on the ground near the green house and I noticed a blue tit investigating the box, looking in through the hole, to check it out.

So I quickly attached the nest box up in its usual position, hopefully we will be lucky this year. Several local trees have been cut down in nearby gardens and this may affect available nest sites.