Preparing to depart for a wildlife trip to the wetlands of Brazil, the Pantanal, at the end of the week, I thought I would do a photoblog entry about the wildlife in my own garden since the beginning of the year. Except that it turns out that it is going to have to be three days’ worth of entries. It also turns out that I only got down to a serious photographic record in August, before then being very haphazard.
My bird seed disappears very rapidly in the winter, the most numerous commensals being chaffinches, goldfinches and above all starlings.
Starlings congregating in the hornbeam in January
They roost at night with millions of others, after spectacular murmurations if the conditions are right, in the reedbeds of the Somerset Levels – and at dawn scatter to the gardens and fields surrounding for miles around. There can be as many as 30 or 40 in this tree and on the ground at one time. In summer though, I can go for weeks without seeing a single one.
Robins – not necessarily the same ones, since they also migrate to a certain extent – are here year round.
Enjoying the February sun
In the same month, the frogs start getting amorous. Here are a couple in amplexus in my pond, and the results of their amours.
You can just see the female
The next six pictures were taken in March.
Tadpoles stay close together immediately after hatching, eating the remains of their glassy first homes
Small tortoiseshell butterfly on Lesser celandine
(Common?) wasp on Euphorbia characias
Until I saw this I did not realise that backswimmers (a.k.a., but not, water boatmen) could exist outside water. But I now know they can also fly.
April sees the arrival of many bees. Here is a solitary (that is, not living in a community) bee.
I always feel guilty that the nail-holes in this summerhouse will not provide the sort of nests that they want, and that the bees waste their time trying. I really will buy or make a bee house for them soon.
When I stand under my crab-apple tree in blossom-time, the humming of, mainly, honeybees is almost deafening. Butterflies also enjoy the nectar.
Here is a damselfly (wings closed behind it and much smaller than dragonfly) on a field maple.
Just one of many clumps of primroses
Signs of bluebells
Holly blue butterfly on, I think, pear blossom
Craneflies are just one of the many kinds of insects which love the long grass, (pretentiously called my meadow)
Lady’s smock, a.k.a. cuckoo flower, which arrived spontaneously when I started letting the meadow grow. (It had not been very cared for before.)
Crabapple tree in full glory, thought to be part of an ancient hedge, like the hornbeam
We’re into May now. Just one picture. I don’t know what this insect is, but it’s rather handsome in my view.
I do know that this is definitely an adult male blackbird
Badgers use my garden most of the year, and I have seen, and been able to stand among – badgers’ sight is notoriously poor – as many as eight of them, including young, foraging for insects in, or rather within, the turf. They emerge from their setts as it is getting, or it has become, thoroughly dark. However in the long days of June they are forced to come out while there is still a little daylight, and I was thrilled to get this picture from my kitchen window around 9 pm one evening.
Last year I saw – and have seen elsewhere this year – Jersey tiger moths. In June I was delighted to see in my own garden Scarlet tiger moths, so-called for obvious reasons.
Small white butterfly on Verbena bonariensis
Great spotted woodpeckers are not unusual in my garden, but I’d never seen a green woodpecker here before. This juvenile by loud screeching was determined to let me know it was there, and I was able to take this photo just by swinging round at my desk. Sadly I was not able to get a picture of the never-before-seen Treecreeper the following day.
Bumblebee on lavender
Only the buddleia in this picture is in my garden. These sparrows wait in a neighbour’s garden taking their turn to raid my feeders. There are more than 30 of them in this picture.
Once the borage is out, honeybees have a clear preference for its flowers, while the bumblebees stay with the lavender.
I love it when long-tailed tits flit through the garden.
We’ve arrived at August. More pictures from that month next time.