Saturday, 2 September 2023

Garden trail cam - Badger and Fox

A wet night and I did not expect to see much on the trail cam in my garden as inclement weather tends to wet or steam the lens. The images are screen grabs from video clips.

So I was really pleased and surprised to capture this badger on the garden path. The rain probably brought some nice tasty worms to the surface. 

Not the first time I have seen badger in our garden, but its a rare visitor

Fox are regular visitors, this looks like one of this years juveniles.

Friday, 28 July 2023

Old Brickfield Bug Hunt

Not my garden this time, but still urban, a small field near Seaford. This is the Old Brickfield Great to be back at the Friends of Old Brickfield annual event as Steve the bug man near Seaford.

I'm in the white and green tent.

I brought my usual set up of a laptop and microscope cam to display the live bugs collected by the children on a TV screen.

The children were given pots and nets to collect an invertebrate to bring back to the microscope.

Many fascinating invertebrates collected and displayed and added to the annual list.

My personal favourites include burnet moth caterpillar,

cinnabar moth caterpillar,

candy-stripe spider,

ground beetle larva

and dock bug.

Fascinating wildlife and many questions from children and adults.

Saturday, 22 July 2023

Garden herring gull rescue

It was just getting dark and there was a commotion outside in the garden. The herring gull family on the house roof behind us found their way into our garden. We think it was because the larger chick had just fledged and the other chicks tried to follow, but unable to actually fly - but having the benefit of height, the gulls managed to make it to our garden. One, that could fly was on our neighbours roof the two smaller ones on the ground peeping and adults nearby agitated.

We knew we could not leave them because foxes visit our garden each night and they would easily take the chicks. Sharon and I both have experience in handling birds, so we decided to catch them (we did contact the local gull and bird rescue but no one was available until the following morning). Luckily the gulls had moved into the passageway down the side of our bungalow and so with one of us each end and Sharon was able to catch them using a towel to wrap their wings close to their body, one at a time. We managed to get them into a cardboard box and the cat carrier. 

At that moment the adults took flight calling and dived bombed a fox heading towards our garden and successfully chased it away. Interestingly, at no time did the gulls try to attack us. We do put out a big bowl of water on our garden wall during hot sunny weather so the adults have got used to us being close.

We then transferred them into a larger box and put them in the green house over night.

Following morning we decided that as the parents were still around we would try putting them up onto our roof through the skylight. 

Once on the roof they were joined by their older sibling.

That was Thursday 20th

The Chicks are now on our flat roof and being visited and fed by the adults. We have put a container of water on the roof which they are using. 

Friday, 7 July 2023

Hedgehog on camera trap

Always pleased to catch a hedgehog on camera trap in our garden. Sometimes catch a glimpse as one moves through the grass. This one just came strolling down our front path. 

Sunday, 2 July 2023

More pollinators in my window boxes.

The window boxes are still filled with colour as the flowers come and go, plants that are now third generation seeds harvested and planted each year.

As hoped, they have provided food for many pollinators, solitary bees and hoverflies. It all started with one pack of seeds and now 9 window boxes full of life, plus a few round in the back garden.

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Slowworm Mating

Slowworm courtship in our garden today, observed the male grab the females head in his jaws as part of courtship.

The male can be a silvery grey as in the one I saw today. We see very young and juvenile slowworms in our garden as well as adults and have assumed mating took place in our garden, but the first time I have caught them in the act.

Thursday, 8 June 2023

Red mason bees, cuckoo wasps and parasitic flies

Red mason solitary bees are busy visiting the bee hotel in our garden. The female is creating cells in which she will deposit an egg, provision with pollen supplies and the seal up the cells which will provide next years generation.

However, beware of the parasitoid wasps and flies hoping to take advantage. While the female is away from the nest cell, they will sneak in and lay their own eggs.

The Cacoxenus fly will lay several eggs in the cell who's larvae will consume the store intended for the mason bee larva.

The five-spot club antennae wasp also invades red mason bee nests.

A couple of wasps were lurking around near the bee hotel by the bay window

There appear to be more in my garden this year. Bee hotels are great but large ones can attract a large proportion of your local solitary bee population in one place and if there are parasitic wasps and flies around this can be a big problem as this can increase the number of broods that get affected. In recent years I have changed to using only small bee hotels and placed them far apart in my garden, front and back, to reduce this problem