Thursday, 25 April 2013


A robin has been colleting food for its young from our garden for about a couple of weeks.
It forages for food in the soil beneath the lavender bush and other shrubs. As it leaves the garedn to fly up teh twitten, it often flies up onto the bird feeder first. I snapped this shot through the window - no food visible in the beak this time.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Brown Carder Bees and Hairy Footed Flower Bees

There seems to be an increase in the number of brown carder bees this year. There have been many sightings in the twitten near our house.

Brown carder bees are also regular visitors to our garden, in particular visiting the pulmonaria and the flowering currant.

Once much more wide spread but this species is still relatively common in the south of England.

The main threat to this species is thought to be the loss of the flower-rich grassland and the intensity of modern farming methods.

The hairy footed bees (Anthophora plumipes), a solitary bee species, are still visiting the garden.
The female is black and has been most numerous the last few weeks

However, there now appear to be an equal number of males which are distinctively different being a ginger/brown colour. In our garden, this species is also vising the pulmonaria and the flowering currant - flowers that require a long tongue to reach.

This species nests in old walls or similar habitats and occasionally underground.
Both male and female hairy footed bees are also visiting the comfrey in the twitten.

Also in the twitten, I observed a comma butterfly feeding from a dandelion

This species can be identified by the ragged edges to the wings and the tiny white comma mark on the underwing.

Despite the pond being frozen many times and coveerd in snow twice, the tadpoles seem to have coped quite well.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Black redstart and great tit

The black redstart is still visiting the garden.

Many birds are starting to nest and set up territories. Great tit call is very dominant at the moment. This one was calling in the cherry tree that over hangs the twitten.
It has a distinctive "see-saw see saw" call

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

nesting gulls and crows

Herring gulls that are nesting nearby are collecting nesting materials from the track that runs past our house. 
There are at least two, possibly three different gulls that fly off in different directions with their nesting materials.

Some collect the twigs and similar debris, while one in particular has been actually pulling up grass and moss. The key seems to be to collect as much as they can.

There is the inevitable squabble with a pair of crows who are also collecting nesting materials.
However, unlike the herring gulls, they seem to be a lot more choosy with the materials they gather. possibly because a crows nest is a more substantial affair - the seagulls is just a pile of debris to cushion the eggs and stop them rolling away.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Black Redstart

While I was working at the computer I noticed a bird out the window. It was on the gate post. I snapped a picture.
Then I returned back to the computer.

I noticed a bird at the feeder, which turned out to be a gold finch

Later in the day, while in  the garden I saw the original bird again. First it was doing a lot of head bobbing on the wall and then flew down into the road where I got a better look at it.
I think it is a female black redstart, (rather than a redstart) the first I had seen in Portslade and the first in the Twitten and our garden. I did not get clear views of the entire bird and the pictures also show the same kind of profile.
It is an attractive bird about the size of a robin.

I saw the blackredstart again a bit later in our neighbours tree.
I will keep an eye out to see if it stays around.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Honey bees, Fox and Goldfinch

I was out doing some gardening and noticed this honey bee visiting the dandelions. I try to dissuade dandelions but once the are there and flowering.

I wait until the flower turns to seed and remove it. After it has flowered completely I dig it up. Dandelions can be a very useful nectar source in spring (and often see goldfinches feeding on the seeds in autumn).

Infact I attracted by the calling of a goldfinch on a tree across the garden in the twitten. Portslade seems to be quite a good place for goldfinches and are seen most days.

As I looked up the twitten a fox suddenly appeared from a garden on the left and trotted up the twitten.

It heard me (probably my camera) and stopped and turned around

Then a dog appeared from a near garden on the left. The fox noticed the dog and froze. The dog did not notice the fox, it seemed more interested in what I was doing.

Then the fox carried on up the track and disappeared into a garden to the right.
The fox was a beauty