Monday, 6 April 2015

Butterflies Are Back!

Today feels like the First Real Day Of Spring to me. The sun has shone. The sky has been blue all day and the temperature soared up to 21 degrees. Jeans and long-sleeved tops have been abandoned in favour of skirts, tees and flip flops, and even L has been spotted voluntary out in the garden :o)

I am back to Butterfly Surveying. The season begins on the 1st April and runs through till October. The weather has been very poor so there's been little point in surveying until today. We saw Brimstones, a Comma, Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells, some nectaring on Sallow, underlining the value of Goat Willow as a food plant.

Small Tort

Peacock

Peacock
I've also been keeping my eyes peeled for one of my all-time favourite insects: the Bee Fly. This little hoverfly is a bee mimic with a long pointed proboscis. They are entirely without sting and I just love them. None have appeared at home yet, but I saw two while out on two different transects today, so it can only be a matter of time...


The deer herd at college were on their usual inquisitive form...



M and I had some Garden Centre Indulgence this afternoon and came home with packets of seeds, some new plants and a bargain basement David Austin Orange Rose, which I had been searching for all of last summer to no avail, so I was thrilled to pick it up for £6 :o)




I chose seeds for the wildlife and came back with a good selection, including a number of wildflower mixes which we tried last year and which worked beautifully.

I was also unable to resist this amazing Tiger Eyes Viola (and it smells gorgeous too)...


And of course I can't come home from a garden centre without something white for the moths. We have friends who run a local garden centre and their prices are very good. That is where the white violas came from - 80p each.


M shot off to see his Pa in hospital after we got back. It's a slow recovery and he's not used to being sedentary so is finding it a struggle. I hadn't appreciated that they stop your heart and lungs for the duration of the op. It's no wonder his body is taking time to come back on line properly.

While he was out, the dogs and I perambulated around the garden exploring all the blooms that have come out recently....

Camelia and Friend

Quince blossom

Ribes

Violas
The pond has come through the winter well and is full of life.


It is a wildlife pond so is supposed to look overgrown and wild :o) It'll be two this May.
We have a tree trunk next to it which Pop and I like to share sitting on, although this time she sat on my lap and stared into the water instead. Her attention was particularly held by the pond skaters who kept shooting across the surface of the water making her jump :o)


A Poppy Eye View of the world....



Meanwhile, Ted was busy sunbathing on the step by the wellies, which is his Customary Place in Summer Time.... 
 

He did come up to the pond, but only made it as far as the apple tree before plonking down on the grass... 



M has been busy constructing a new compost heap and we've now transferred the food waste compost bin which used to stand beside the house up next to the compost area, so the whole thing looks and feels much tidier. There's also a pile of sticks up there which I leave for the snakes. We have a good population of grass snakes who use the garden and the compost heaps, which are next to the pond, are their favoured place for egg laying. The pile of sticks beside the compost and the refugia next to it all provide important cover for the babies after they've hatched. Poppy is aware of this and never misses a trick to sniff out potential Things To Play With. Luckily, no snake sightings today...
 

I'll leave you with a Selfie Pop and I took while up by the pond. L says technically it isn't a selfie because a) I took it with a proper camera not a phone and b) there are two of us in it, so it should more properly be called a groupie. That meant something different in my day, but as he's the expert on all things teenage I will happily bow to his Greater Knowledge in this area :o)

Anyway, I rather like it.


Hope you're all having a great Easter Weekend,

CT :o) 

39 comments:

  1. A lovely look at you garden and wildlife CT. Great weather here in Devon too and like many people I've been busy gardening and weeding.

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    1. It's not been bad for an Easter Bank Hol weekend, has it?

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  2. ooooooh!! absolutely gorgeous butterflies!!

    glad you're finally feeling the warmth of spring -- i'm cautiously optimistic for us, as this week's forecast looks promising. *fingers crossed*

    funny, more and more it seems my garden interests are leaning less toward growing heaps of veg and more toward wildlife habitats and 'dual purpose' plantings...edible hedges and whatnot. i find that infinitely more satisfying...:)

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    1. I'm the same re gardening. We've been slowly turning ours over to wildlife over the past three years and it's made a huge difference.

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  3. Have just ordered the book you recommended, look forward to getting it. thanks so much.
    Briony
    x

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    1. You'll love it, I'm sure. The whole thing is a delight x

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  4. We have also seen the first butterflies this weekend! That is a real bargain for a David Austin rose especially one you have been searching for. Teddy looks so smart! Sarah x

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. Looking forward the rose blooming x

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  5. I feel dreadful that I somehow missed something happening with your Dad, I do hope that he makes a good and swift recovery from his surgery. I saw what I think was a Brimstone butterfly going past today and it made me thing of you! Get me naming things! I do hope that all will be well. Hugs. xx

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    1. Please don't worry- you can't read everything all the time, or at least, I know I can't! He's getting better now and has been allowed home so we're all relieved.
      I'm very pleased you saw a flutter, it should be the first of many if the weather holds. If it was yellow or very pale lemony green it will have been a Brimstone. There are lots of them about right now. I'll post more with maybe a small ID quiz later in the year... :o) xx

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  6. Beautiful butterflies! You do the most interesting wildlife surveys.

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  7. Hey CT,
    So nice to see you. I have had butterflies in the garden this morning. I was desperately excited about it all. Olly noticed the first one, while I was weeding and he correctly identified it too!! I was so chuffed.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Yay for Olly! It is lovely once they start fluttering around again. I have missed them xx

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  8. The first sightings of the season are always so exciting!
    Rather jealous that you have flowers at this time of year.
    Jane x

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    1. Getting there... a drop of rain and more sun and they'll be well on their way x

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  9. Love the quince blossom, it's absolutely gorgeous. The white violas are really pretty too, I didn't know that white flowers are good for moths. I saw loads of brimstones today (we were in Wiltshire - none here in S Glos), and peacocks, a small tortoiseshell and lots of honeybees on a flowering cherry. A fantastic warm day wasn't it. CJ xx

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    1. I love the quince too, such a lovely colour. White flowers are good for moths because they can see them in the dark more easily. Amazed there aren't any Brimmies with you in Glos- they seem to be everywhere here now. xx

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  10. Lovely to see the Butterflies.I have seenafew however they were travelling a the rate of knots!!! Love you dogs adn the 'groupie' shot. Also love you Pansies.

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  11. The small torts were enjoying forget-me-not here yesterday. Off looking for more in a bit

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  12. I've had butterflies here too,some were too quick in their fluttering and I didn't see who they were, but did have definitely Small Tortoiseshell, generally buzzing with insects and birds - love the selfie of you both smiling

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    1. I'm looking forward to seeing my first Blue of the year and the Orange Tips who should be out any moment :o)

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  13. I spotted some butterflies on our walk in the woods, I wasn't quick enough to see what they were but it was lovely to see the flashes of colour.

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    1. It sounds like they are out all across the country now, which is great :o)

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  14. Looks like a lovely day, have spotted so many Peacock's over the last few days, had a look for some white plants at Homebase, nothing much, will go up to garden centre and have a look. We have had the Bats out flying tonight which was nice to see...Old man has loved sunbathing on the lawn , now he is glad he had his hair cut...
    Amanda xx

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    1. I think the Peacocks have got through the winter well- have seen lots here too, but only a few small torts. Thanks for the nudge re bats- I'll go out with the detector tonight as we have a bachelor roost in our roof and I expect they're up and doing now too.

      T and P also grateful for shorter coats now! xx

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  15. Just remembered have you found any Toothwort flower next to your Hazel trees you have visited in the past, they are a funny flower...
    See here http://cabinetofcuriosities-greenfingers.blogspot.co.uk/
    Amanda xx

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    1. I remember these from last year- did you do a post on looking for them? I've seen them in the woods before, weird looking things, half plant half fungus in appearance. xx

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    2. No but I did have a header post called the "toothless Stella man " about coming across a man drinking Stella one Sunday morning... he had no teeth !!!
      joking aside, I have never seen this plant, of to the Old Hazel wood in Yorkshire on Saturday... Do you know if the trees have to be a certain age, there are some youngish trees at the park..10yrs..
      Amanda xx

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    3. I'd have thought ten years was old enough but don't know for certain. Good luck! x

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  16. Lots of lovely things all of which I love in this post. :-) And I saw my first bee fly yesterday! I could have sent you some mixed flower seeds which I have saved from my Pollinator Mix patch which get resown again and again. Although they probably don't need sowing really, as I see some recognisable things popping up already (though most will be in the wrong place in the veg patch). Your wildlife pond looks nicely established. I would love a little pond so I could really study the life in it and have some pond plants, but I shouldn't complain! ;-) xx

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    1. Have just re sown some new wildlife seeds today in various places- it all worked beautifully last year so finger's crossed! Our pond isn't big but it's amazing the life it supports. A project for your OH this summer....? xx

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    2. God no, he'd probably strangle me just for suggesting it! That's for our next house when we downsize (pondwise, haha) one day. :-)

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  17. Lovely to see the butterflies re-appearing. Lots of Brimstones and Peacocks round here since Monday. Love the violas - so pretty and delicate. I do hope your father-in-law feels better soon.

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    1. Its looking like the Peacocks came through the winter especially well :o) My pa in law now back home and walking round his garden keeping an eye on his plants- we're all hugely relieved :o)

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  18. Lovely photos as always. I'm dreadfully behind, a lazy week with no inclination to open the laptop. You can't beat a good garden centre bargain mine was in B& Q of all places! Love your rose bargain, lucky you mine will be at full price I fear & three of them at that! I saw a peacock (butterfly) yesterday &am on a desperate search for an orange tip for the Springwatch survey. Happy belated birthday, super shorts & PJ bottoms & it's great news that your father in law is on the mend. I think I've caught up. x

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    1. I haven't seen any Orange Tips or Holly Blues yet either. It sounds like you've had a lovely week- am just off to catch up on your news xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x