Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Pond and garden news

The good news today is that the pond is looking much clearer, maybe the rain has helped. I can see much more wildlife in there now. The picture below shows one of the newts, not very clear but recognisable. If you click on the picture it will enlarge. Also at last there are some tadpoles with back legs and one was actually starting to look quite frog-like and no longer round. Spotted a few very small snails grazing around the edges of the pond liner so the snails I introduced have also been productive. The newest things I have spotted though are several small newt tadpoles. They look like tiny fish with feathery protrusions on their heads. Still have damsel flies around and there was a dead one floating on the pond and being eaten by several pond skaters.


Still seeing many young blue tits and great tits and saw a spotted woodpecker in the tree near the bird feeder but it didn't come down to feed.

Flowers now in bloom include Astilbe



and Freesia

Whilst searching under rocks for sheltering amphibians I disturbed a rather large ant's nest. So many eggs and they all scurried around trying to move them all.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Wetlands Walk

Went walking at Newport Wetlands today. Very windy and cloudy as you can see from the pictures, but the rain kept off.

Had trouble taking photos because of the wind.

This is a small tortoiseshell butterfly on bramble.

A cinnabar moth is something I have not seen there before.

Lots of Burnet moths fluttering about. This group were feeding on thistles. So many thistles, you can smell their scent whilst walking round. Great food for the insects and later the birds just love feeding on the seed heads.

The pretty flower of the everlasting pea which is very abundant there.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The lions of Longleat

Had a day out yesterday with my son and his family. We visited Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire.
We saw lots of animals including the famous lions

and tigers (my favourite)

The young fallow deer came right up to the cars looking for food.

Just the right time of year for visiting if you like flowers. The rose gardens are beautiful and full of the amazing scent of the flowers.

This is the 50 year old silver back gorilla who lives on the island in the lake. He is alone now since his partner died about 5 years ago. He has his own little house on the island with a television and his favourite programme is Spongebob Squarepants. Not a very clear picture taken from the boat. He is very grey because of his age, a bit like me!

I just had to hold this lovely big spider

but Zachariah preferred the snake (which I would not touch!)

"I will lead you through the maze"

But maybe we needed someone taller. We didn't make it to the centre and I became rather claustrophobic and decided we should find our way out, or stay all night.

Not sure Zachariah liked Postman Pat

No definitely not!

The Giraffe sculpture is rather nice though.

"Look at me, I'm Spider man"

It was a lovely day and though rain threatened it didn't actually come.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Lost bird

Forgot to mention this unusual visitor to the garden last week. We are not very far from the sea but it is the first time I have seen a seagull in the garden. This one wandered down the drive one wet day. I think he must have been lost.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Back in the garden

Looks like summer has arrived in the garden. The first picture here is of Stuart's potatoes. They are growing so fast. Can't wait for them to be ready to eat.

The bees are very busy still lots of sweet white flowers around for them

Time for the roses now.

I have found a second strange spider on the purple clematis. This one is a Cucumber green spider.

The blue tits and great tits have now fledged and these are two young great tits fending for themselves on the patio. Saw a pair of bullfinches 3 times this week but didn't have the camera handy at the time. Also had a visit to the feeder by a nuthatch.

Still lots of activity in the pond, even though the water still looks a bit green. Newts are very elusive but if you stand for a while they do pop up to the surface now and again. Still lots of legless tadpoles around ( I mean literally, they have not had too much to drink). Can't understand why they are so slow developing. Still find occasional dead ones floating around and some very small live ones.

The picture below shows a pair of damselflies mating. You can also see a tadpole and a few other little pond creatures that managed to get in the picture too.

This is a little 14 spot ladybird I found on Stuart's potatoes. It only measures 4 mm. and was difficult to photograph. I think I got it ok though