How are we all today? Here, it is gloomy, overcast and spitting. I have walked the dogs, finished all the outstanding college assignments, polished a talk I'm giving the first years at college on butterflies (have managed to sneak in some moths!), washed sheets and towels, cleaned the kitchen, done a small muck out of L's room, caught up with other general household stuff and nattered to ma on the phone about General Sewing Matters. I am not feeling smug however because I've been stuck indoors since ten and now I have cabin fever and am longing to go for a run around outside. The food shop is due so I can't :o(
Instead, I'm giving you the promised Moth Post from last night's trap. It isn't hugely inspiring, but there were two new species in there: a Common Quaker and the very pretty Oak Beauty, whose arrival I have been anticipating for the last couple of weeks. My Oak Beauty is a boy, because Mrs Oak Beauties are another species of female moth that don't have wings. The boy OBs are perfectly adapted to hide against Oak Trees which is where the girl OBs tend to hang out. Note his rather splendid feathery antennae too :o)
In light of the rather Poor Showing from the moths, I'm adding in some photos taken on Saturday when the weather was glorious. Unfortunately, I had to spend several hours locked in a darkened room with lots of naturalists talking about slugs (among other things), staring at the sun outside and feeling rather grumpy and resentful. Never mind, the bees were still out when I got home and a run soon drove the stale sensation away (and a gin put paid to the grumps :o))
We've had an influx of Tree Bees here over the weekend- I counted three on Sat. One was not well and I don't know whether she survived or not, but the other two were in fine fettle....
The orange fluff is diagnostic. Tree bees are a success story. They are recent colonists to the UK and in only a few years have successfully spread across the country. They don't appear to upset the native bees and instead exploit empty niches, which is all Good News at a time when so many bees are in trouble.
Bumbles are incredibly gentle creatures and will go to great lengths NOT to sting you. They have several warning signs they employ to persuade you that they are really fierce and Mean Business. First they raise a foreleg at you, then they turn onto their backs, and finally they show you their bottoms. After that? Well, to be honest not much happens. By that point they've pretty much exhausted all their warnings and as they really don't want to sting you, as long as you're careful and gentle you can pick them up- assuming they're in need of help like the one in the pics above. This usually means they've run out of energy and need some sugar water or nectar.
This is bringing back memories of last Spring (do you remember?) and various Bee Rescues that went on :o)
As well as Tree Bees, we've also had Early Bumbles and Buff-Tailed making a bee-line (sorry) for the Daphne. Great Stuff.
This 7 Spot Ladybird was also in evidence and sat patiently while I faffed about with the camera...
The Vole Proofing of the Broad Beans has done its job I'd say :o)
Bulbs are shooting up...
Drone flies were out (so-called because they sound like honeybees buzzing)
As were one of my favourite Hoverflies- the Marmalade :o)
We've clumps of pretty and cheerful primroses everywhere at the moment....
And I suspect the birds will be nesting before long, if they aren't already. We're off to get some more nest boxes to put up round the garden at the weekend and have also been planning the new wildflower area, which is exciting :o)
Our best sighting earlier last week was a pair of Hawfinches. I've never seen them before and my two are the first record for the estate in six years of searching so that has gone done very well indeed :o) Hawfinches are notoriously secretive birds so I did well to get close enough to watch them, especially given the zooming about proximity of Small Girl and Ted.
We found this lovely lichen deep in the woods near where a whole bunch of new trees have been planted...
And then, on the way home, were treated to this still-as-anything female kestrel whose entire attention was focused on some small prey she'd spied on the ground. Aren't they lovely birds? She is one of a pair who nest on the estate and I've been watching them play and listening to them since January.
I'll leave you with some pics of the Hounds, who tell me they feel they've been somewhat under-represented on the blog in recent days and unless I do something to redress the balance sharpish they will invoke their union....
Happy Dog Days :o)
Hope all are well? Wishing you all a pleasant and peaceful evening. I've made the Toad signs and will be out with the torch again once it gets proper dark.