No sign on the baby goldfinch out in the open yet but the parents have been on the feeders this morning so hopefully it won't be long before it ventures out to join them. I did get a glimpse of it yesterday afternoon in the beech hedge and it is very sweet. It has a duller plumage than the adults and a short stubby tail.
I spent an enjoyable ten minutes yesterday as the light was starting to fade watching my mice playing in the garden. They make me smile and even M had to concede that there was something endearing about the two of them scampering about jumping over one another, hiding under flowers and nibbling at seeds. It was a very small concession though because he is still muttering about infestations and mice traps.
We're now getting a fairly regular supply of damselflies around the pond. Mostly common blue's, although I think we have a female as well as a male one which is good news. I'm not fantastic at IDs for them yet so forgive me if I get them wrong! The female common blue is duller than her husband, so I'm hoping this is her. Shy Songbird will doubtless know so I'll wait for Jan's thoughts on that one.
I found a Cinnabar Moth on the lawn yesterday which the dogs luckily had not seen (otherwise I fear we would have had the rather hasty formation of a new club called the "Moth Eaters" to go with the Pigeon Watchers). They breed on ragwort and the vineyard behind the house is full of it. Unsightly for us and the seeds are annoying because they get everywhere, but great for the moths.
I find I am developing a burgeoning interest in moths and am thinking about getting a moth box to put out at night and see what we have in the morning (thanks Ragged Robin for increasing my interest in this with those super photos on your post yesterday). Here's a pic of the Cinnabar, a common day-flying moth found throughout Great Britain. I'll try and pop up to the vineyard later and see if I can find any of their caterpillars to photograph. They are yellow and black stripey people whose very vibrant colours are a warning to predators to stay away. Apologies for the slightly blurry nature of this photo, I had to take it quickly before Ted and Dougal realised what I was doing.
Out on a bike ride over the weekend I spotted some interesting creatures that I thought were worthy of a mention here. First is this gorgeous Beautiful Demoiselle. I could look at them all day. When the kids were little we used to call them blue dancing fairies. This is a male. Splendid chap isn't he?
A movement caught my eye and I didn't realise until enlarging the photo later that it was actually two pond skaters mating. Slight invasion of privacy but I don't suppose they'll mind too much.
Whilst we were having a picnic on Sunday this Rather Interesting Beetle landed on my leg. I've looked through my books but can't find an ID for him, so if anyone knows who he is please could you let me know? The nearest I can get is that he might be some sort of Cardinal beetle.
We also saw an unusual Hover-Fly with a very long proboscis. I didn't get a photo because he moved too quickly, but having checked in the book I think he was a Rhingia campestris. He looked a bit like a bald bee and apparently they lay their eggs in cow dung, which is nice.
Everything in the garden is doing well. The greenhouse is bursting, all my cottage garden seeds have come up, the veggies in both veg patches are fantastic this year and we have started to eat some of them, and the lupins are in flower. It's also Rose Time and my Rhapsody In Blue rose is doing better than ever this year. It smells heavenly and is up by the pond so sitting on the bench there is doubly nice. I'm hoping to get to Mottisfont (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont/) to see the Rose Garden sometime in the next couple of weeks. It is always a press but the ancient stone-walled garden bursts with roses and flowers (and people) and it really is quite something to see, let alone smell.
To finish with, here are some pics of my homemade coconut halves filled with fat, dried mealworms, shrimps and seeds. Yum! The blue tits, nuthatches and woodpeckers are enjoying them (after initial misgivings), and my mice seem pleased with the bits that drop to the ground.
Off hunting butterflies tomorrow (with camera that is), although quite how successful we'll be with the wet forecast I don't know. More on that later....