Birdsong in the garden
all these are mp3 files
During the second half of every February when the weather is mild, we now get an eruption of frenetic mating activity in our ponds.
And here you can see the results of their labours!
A little while later, and if you keep your eyes open, you can find nests everywhere and particularly near the house and the polytunnels where people keep the predators at bay. This Malus Golden Hornet has a goldfinch nest perched on the branch and conveniently near the kitchen window. Can you see the parent and the dense blob of the nest immediately below? All the young fledged successfully.
Nest boxes provide a safe home for blue and great tits - taken May 21st.
. . . and they love to eat the young caterpillars of the mullein moth - though these few survived to pupate - taken 17 June.
Our Alder Buckthorn are a vital host to the larvae of the Brimstone butterfly -taken 9 July.
Spotted flycatchers have had an excellent few years. This brood was photographed in late July on the north side of the large Oak in the car park yet almost no-one spotted them.
And these are the youngsters.
This brood of 3 flycatchers in early July was the first time we had them nest inside a polytunnel.
And this audacious brood built their nest just 10 days after I hung up the garlic to dry on the S wall, under the eaves of the straw bale building. Photo 30 July.
And this family was right by our house back door. Photo early July.
Here is some proof of the value of mature grassland. Finches get valuable feed from the dock seeds in this patch of meadow while we wait for the fritillaries to shed their seed. Male bullfinch on 26 June.
But the prize for audacity must go to this family of wrens. They have, 2 years in a row, successfully reared a brood from this nest squeezed up next to the motor in the concrete mixer which we use for mixing compost. The machine is started up at least twice a day and the contents tipped out - we didn't even realise they were there for some time. They have also raised broods from under an upturned pot on the potting bench . . . such cheek certainly pays off!
Every year we get grass snakes nesting in our compost heaps. We never empty the heaps until November to make sure they have time to hatch. We have had four separate clusters in one heap which, I assume, is from 4 separate females. It's a priveledge to have them.
Some years ago we found this huge grass snake skin which had been shed in late June.
And while not quite so long, this bonnie snake was in superb condition. He/she was basking on the mypex sheet which we use to exclude light from the veg patch - photo June 9
This chap was curled up fast asleep (during winter) in a trailer-load of shredded green waste. Our dormice are seldom seen but one chap did get stuck in a jar in our larder - he was safely released!
We cut back most herbaceous plants at the end of winter and this is why. November 22 and a blue tit finds meal on the seeds of Monarda Prairienacht.
Great spotted woodpecker on peanuts in February. This is the male - you can just make out the red spot on the back of his head.
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