Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Of Bees, Mice & Woodpeckers










So, an eventful few days here. Yesterday, I was working at the computer (sending vital funds to middle son who is about to embark on his first house rent in London. Yikes) when a REALLY LOUD buzzing that could only be one thing came roaring towards me.

You may remember last year, and the year before that, that the bees like to move into our chimney pot at about this time of year. The first year they did it next door's workmen ran screaming for cover, leaving me grinning out in the open as the bees passed harmlessly overhead. Bees are at their most peaceful during and immediately after swarming because they feed up before leaving their old home and with their tummies full they don't feel like being aggressive.

This time, a dilemma. On the one hand, here I am half-way through internet banking at the crucial we will phone you with your one-time pass code to confirm your instructions stage, and I've already been here a while losing my sense of humour at how long the process takes, on the other, several hundred bees looking for a new home are baring down on the house and all the windows are open.

Extracting several hundred bees from the bathroom/ bedroom would have been annoying, on the other hand, spending any more time than absolutely necessary on internet banking sends me into a bad tempered spin for the rest of the day. I held my nerve, answered the phone for the code, inputted the code in the screen and calmly finished the payment. Then Poppy and I went outside into a storm of bees.

I was right- they eschewed the open windows and went instead for their favourite chimney pot. Clearly, the Queen had already made herself at home inside because the swarm was abating, settling into and onto the chimney brickwork which, for half an hour, became a moving, rippling, buzzing sea of golden brown bees.

We enjoyed the sight and sound for a while longer before going back in to text M who came back with Cool! We are an unusual family, I sometimes think. Let's just hope they don't find their way down the chimney again and out into our neighbour's kitchen, as happened last year. We had something similar with nesting Jackdaws and it can be a little unsettling :o)

The baby blue tits have hatched in two of the boxes. Supper was disturbed a couple of nights back by the most fearful hammering/ splintering noise. I thought, neighbours doing DIY, but when I went to explore I found a woodpecker attacking the nest box hole. Yikes! I know they can do this but have never experienced it here before. I shooed her away and listened for the small peeps of babies still inside. Mummy BT came back looking worried but when she went in I heard them, so all was OK.

I was woken at 6am the next morning with the same sound! Double yikes! I chased the woody off again and so far she hasn't returned. Plus we are now armed with metal plates for the holes.

The next drama was a beautiful metallic green Rose Chafer beetle attempting to fly in to the house yesterday afternoon, coming in dangerously close and noisy to Poppy's head. I NO'd! to Pop, who was poised, mid-leap ready to snap, she agreed, albeit crossly, and I shooshed the beetle back outside. Phew.

On a final nature-note, a couple of nights back I was in the kitchen when movement caught my eye on the path: a little woodmouse, helping to tidy up seeds dropped by the birds. She was there for ages.

It's all go here.

CT.

31 comments:

  1. And anyone would think it was nice and peaceful in the countryside! X

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  2. I love watching wood mice under the bird feeders, once I have managed to chase our cats away.

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    1. There's something very endearing about them.

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  3. Good job you weren't on holiday. x

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    1. It would have been awful to come back and find the nest raided.

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  4. I love bees but not sure i’d Want them in the chimney pot. Love the little mouse photo’s.

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    1. They leave once summer's done. We don't trouble one another.

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  5. I lost a nest box of blue tit chicks to a mad woodpecker. It came back repeatedly and destroyed the box. I've never put a nest box out since.
    Woodpeckers have chicks to feed too. Nature is red in tooth and claw.

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  6. I’m remembering those days of endless money transfers to my sons. At least it used to just be a nice phone call to a person in the Isle of Man for some reason. No internet banking for me at that time.
    I’ve glad to hear I’ve nothing to fear during a bee swarm. I learn something new every day! Hope mr woodpecker behaves himself. B x

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    1. The woodpeckers have been back in the garden but thankfully only feeding on the feeders x

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  7. Jings, it's Wildlife Central at your place!

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    1. Feels like it! Wasp beetle back the other day too, love 'em.

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  8. Oh the bees are wonderful, it must have been an amazing sight/sound. The blue tit photograph is fantastic, such a cutie. Glad the woodpecker hasn't got in there. I was up looking out of the skylight this evening with the middle boy watching the swifts flying over and into their nests on the house opposite. Perfection. CJ xx

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    1. I do love seeing the swarm. I was lucky enough to see a waggle dance last summer (on the wall of the house!), so I had warning they were coming. Envying you your close contact with swifts. Marvellous xx

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  9. Love the bees and the woodmouse photos. Having bees in the chimney is definitely cool! xx

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  10. My husband used to keep bees at our last house. We once had a swarm in the chimney who came down and got through our open plan sitting room into the conservatory. We tried to get as many out as possible but there were inevitable casualties. After that he blocked up the chimney around the flue for the woodstove.

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    1. Hopefully our neighbours have now done the same!

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  11. Loved reading this post and hearing about the antic in the countryside. not sure whether I wouldlike that many bees so close to me!

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    1. They're very gentle really, and not at all interested in me!

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  12. What beautiful photos. So nice to see so much active wildlife in and around your home.
    Cheers to you CT.
    xx

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  13. I didn't know woodpeckers would do that. I've seen some birds do it as a sort of show off thing I think.
    The fox cubs are back in our garden now- I love this time of year for all the wildlife.

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    1. Crows, magpies, jays, woodpeckers and even starlings will take the young of other birds. Fab about your fox cubs. Any pics for your blog?

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  14. Such a charming and delightful post.
    I love bees...it is wonderful to read that you let them stay.
    The woodpecker will take the young if given the chance.
    I lost a brood a few years back to a woody.
    Most of our nest boxes have evidence of them trying to get in. I no longer put boxes up.
    We have plenty of old trees around here and I have one pair in the old water pump:)

    I love wood mice, they always look so sweet.

    Lovely images.

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    1. I love knowing the bees are nearby. Feel honoured that they've chosen us!

      So far, the woody has stayed away and the babies will be fledged in another week or so so I am hoping. I see you can now get predator-proof boxes which are deeper and reinforced.
      Love the inventiveness of birds when it comes to nesting. We usually get a dunnock in a plant pot most years:o)

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  15. How cool is that, your very own bee hive. Not one for harvesting honey but it will be interesting to observe the bees coming and going. I didn't know woodpeckers are predatory, learning something new every day. The little woodmouse looks exactly like the mouse int the Gruffalo book!

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    1. He does look like the gruffalo mouse! I hadn't noticed till you said :o)

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  16. How wonderful! Love that little mouse. I am very glad though the bees are in your chimney and not in mine! I don't think I would bee so calm. 😉 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