Regular visitors to Countryside Tales (thank you) will know I am primarily a Wildlife Girl at heart and 2014 held some truly precious wildlife moments for me. You may remember the visit from her Majesty, the Purple Emperor early in the summer that caused quiet hysteria here, as well as another rarity- the Clifdon Nonpareil who turned up towards the end of the year, encouraged across the sea by clement weather conditions, as was another visitor to these shores I had never seen before: the Vestal. Then there was the Hummingbird Hawkmoth who may have come all the way from Africa and turned up late in the day despite my having just about given up hope of seeing one this year, not to mention two adult grass snakes and one baby whom we called Nate, newts moving into the pond, a Broad Bodied Chaser dragonfly e-closing (hatching) on my finger, sightings of two White Admirals, a Painted Lady, my first ever Green Hairstreak, Adonis Blue and Brown Hairstreak butterflies, the first hedgehog we've seen in our garden in eight years, and, of course, 411 species of wonderful, beautiful, brilliant, fantastic, special moths.
There are far too many photos to put in one post, so I'm splitting them over several. Hopefully these will take us up to the New Year and provide a Clean Sheet to start 2015 with :o)
Romsey saw the worst floods for decades in Feb 2014. The waters drew visitors from far and wide and Countryside Tales got a photo published in Forecourt Trader magazine, which made everyone here smile.......
Ater the floods came the flowers. Here's Teddy enjoying himself among the bluebells in Great Copse, Mottisfont in April/ May....
Spring 2014 also saw several Bee Rescues, including one half-drowned in the pond. Despite using and promoting their honey, Waitrose decline sponsorship :o)
Spring saw the emergence of the first of my beloved Butterflies in the form of overwintering Red Admirals and Tortoiseshells, as well as newly emerged Holly Blues and Orange Tips. The latter led me on a Merry Dance photography-wise for several days, before playing ball in spectacular form by perching male and female together in one place long enough for the shot I wanted.......
|Orange Tip male|
The garden did well this year. We made lots of changes, mainly around planting for wildlife, and the results were amazing: we are now home to several field vole families (who enjoy M's vegetables), mice, shrews, bats, grass snakes, newts, frogs, toads, lots of birds, bees, moths and flutters, masses of inverts and some lovely plants. Important species recorded in the garden this year included several I hadn't seen before: a rare Longhorn Beetle, a Tree Damsel Bug and lacewing larvae for starters.
|Shield Bug eggs and babies hatching|
|Fat-Legged Beetle (or swollen-thighed)|
|Female flower beetles|
|Tree Damsel Bug|
|Volucella Inanis hoverfly|
|caterpillar- look closely!|
Tomorrow I will post the rest of the Flutter and Moths who came to see us and who I saw out and about this year, and after that various assembled creatures, rounding off with the Naughty Puppies (who have had a wonderful Christmas and are well on their way to destroying their new toys already).
Thanks for reading - you are, each and every one of you, very much appreciated. It means a lot to me to be able to share all these wonderful creatures and experiences with you all, and if some of you who didn't have it before develope an interest in and a love for the wild things that are all around us, and are moved to help look after them then I will smile about it to the end of my days :o)