April 3rd – This morning in the garden there were two robins, long-tailed tits and the starlings were clicking up on the roof.
April 10th – some late afternoon sun brought out the bees and a 7-spot ladybird. Unfortunately I didn’t get very clear photos of the bees so not sure which ones they were! I still find them confusing.
April 11th – This evening I got a chance to take a short walk around the field. The male fallow deer were located out in the centre of the field, I think they are starting to get used to me as they don’t react too much now. I was hoping I would start to find some flowers in the field but its either too early or too many herbicides have been sprayed so they haven’t had a chance to develop yet. I did find a lone lesser celandine. In the garden there is a male goat willow tree, in the field down near next doors garden, is what I believe to be a female goat willow.
The birds that nest around the house have been much more visible around their nest sites, the jackdaws are in the chimneys and the starlings are taking nesting material into the roof 🙂
There was a bee checking out holes in the garden wall this evening, it has taken me a while to figure out, but I have finally narrowed it down to being a hairy-footed flower bee. The first one I have ever seen 🙂
April 15th – this morning I found my first brimstone moth, just sat on the wall outside the front door!
April 18th – Whilst tidying the raised bed I noticed all the small creatures starting to appear in the vegetation. The first one I spotted was apion frumentarium, next up was a tiny dark bush-cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera) and then a clover mite. My last discovery of the day was a phalangium opilio spider. I had never seen any of them before so this evening I had to do some research into what they all were!
Now I seem to have missed the nesting season this year! I don’t know how; has all just happened earlier this year? or have I just been occupied with growing plants and missed it? today I saw a starling take food into his nest! Tomorrow I aim to pay a little more attention and train my camera on the nest hole to see exactly what is going on.
April 19th – The starlings are 100% feeding in the nests at the back of the house, I watched both parents visit one after the other. They both had at least two items of food in their beaks.
There were more 7-spot ladybirds in the garden this afternoon and an orange-tip butterfly landed on the garlic mustard 🙂
April 20th – today I was concentrating on concreting the patio, however I couldn’t miss the common frog that hopped out of a hole underneath the raised bed and off across the patio. He had been disturb as I had put sand over the top of him as I was filling in a hole and I hadn’t seen him! I moved him up next to the small pond so he could hide under the plants.
April 21st – there was a moth on the window, a Lunar marbled brown (Drymonia ruficornis). I got out in the field for a walk this morning. I heard my first cuckoo of the year – it is so nice to know he has returned safely. I didn’t notice a lot of other birds, I don’t know if it was because I seemed to be noticing the insects or they just didn’t seem to be about. I did have a companion with me who does make more noise than me when walking so it could have been a factor! I did hear a woodpecker drumming.
Since I have been following #Wildflowerhour on Twitter my botanical skills have improved greatly. It is nice to be able to identify my finds without now having to spend hours trying to figure out what they are! I want to take note this year of what is growing in the field so that next year I might be able to add to the population by growing them from seed and planting them out. Today I identified, ground-ivy, red dead-nettle, cuckooflower and garlic mustard in the copse. I was pleased to see the amount of garlic mustard there was as I know in the copse it won’t be cut down when the crop is harvested, hopefully it also explains the orange-tips who were darting around close by. I need to go for a wander amongst it to see what else is growing in there!
The time I save not having to look up flowers is definitely spent on the insects and arachnids! After a lot of work identifying (I hope correctly) I found; Helophilus pendulus, Cucumber spider, Corizus hyoscyami, nomada sp. unknown, Nursery Web Spider, notostira elongata, Eupeodes sp. unknown, Pied Shieldbug (Tritomegas bicolor) on host plant white dead-nettle, Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria), Flesh Fly (Sarcophaga carnaria), what I think is a pterostichus cupreus eating a harpalus affinis, Peacock butterfly and my first Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major) of the year!
When walking back up past the copse the fallow deer appeared in front of us. They decided that is was safe enough to run out of the copse and into the field stopping a safe distance away. I like these types of encounters 🙂
April 24th – I’m sure I saw a swallow this evening; I don’t think I was imagining it but it was only a fleeting glimpse. I happened to take a photo of the garlic mustard and only noticed afterwards that there is a orange-tip egg on it 🙂 I hope we have some more. It is nice to know that all I am trying to do with the garden is helping some of the garden visitors.
April 25th – The starling chicks at the front of the house have started calling – across the garden and the neighbouring house I think there are now three starling nests with calling chicks.
April 29th – The field was being sprayed when I got there this evening; I assume with pesticides. The male fallow deer who were resting in the middle of the field didn’t move until the machinery was two runs away from them. They ran off but then stopped short of the copse, they eventually disappeared. The starlings are still calling and I heard the cuckoo again this evening 🙂