It feels good to be able to start this blog post on a cheery note - this has been a somewhat remarkable week in the garden from an avian perspective, as will be revealed below.
Monday, 15th June
I started the day by photographing a female Bullfinch from my study window. I find myself amused by the raptor-like approach in the first image.
|Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (female) - garden on 15/06/2020|
The day then got very exciting with the arrival of a Jay. Whilst not a rare bird, it's a rare visitor to our garden and this was the first since July, 2018!
|Jay (Garrulus glandarius) - garden on 15/06/2020|
The excitement continued shortly afterwards with the arrival of two Nuthatch. I believe that this is the first time that we've ever had two in the garden. Here's one of them.
|Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) - garden on 15/06/2020|
I did spend a little time in the garden that day, photographing insects.
|hoverfly (Scaeva pyrastri) - garden on 15/06/2020|
Here's a bee that I have not identified - note to self:- bee fieldguide is next book on wanted list.
|bee sp. - garden on 15/06/2020|
As I wandered round the garden with my camera, I was struck by the sight of the centre of a poppy flower!
|Poppy flower - garden on 15/06/2020|
There had been no sign of Hedgehog or Fox on the cameras from that night.
In the afternoon I decided, prompted by a message from a friend, to go on a short orchid hunt at a local site - more on that in my next blog post.
Tuesday, 16th June
The Jay was with us again this day, but this turned out to be the last time we would see it in the week.
|Jay (Garrulus glandarius) - garden on 16/06/2020|
The Nuthatches were also back, but I just missed getting a shot of the two together.
|Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) - garden on 16/06/2020|
I'd noticed that the House Sparrows had taken to stripping the bark off one of the branches that I have stuck in the ground to aid the birds in their approach to the feeders. I suspect that it's for late nest-building or refubishment.
|House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) (male) - garden on 16/06/2020|
We don't see many Long-tailed Tits at this time of year, so it was heartening to have one in the garden this day, although no photos were obtained.
We recorded Hedgehog and Red Fox visiting that night. Grey Squirrel is with us most days, and we rather like them - they do have a certain 'cute' factor, although not so much as Red Squirrels do!
|Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) - garden on 16/06/2020|
Wednesday, 17th June
Minor excitement was caused by a Carrion Crow alighting in the garden. We frequently see them on neighbouring roofs, but they rarely visit. The only bird I photographed that day, however, was a Goldfinch, from my study window.
|Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) - garden on 17/06/2020|
That afternoon, I went out on another brief orchid hunt before the rain set in.
Thursday, 18th June
We saw both Fox and Hedgehog on the cameras from that night. As the Fox was in daylight (just!) I'll post some video of it. It still looks painfully thin and is eating the spilt sunflower hearts. I'd put some food out for it if I didn't think that the four or five cats that regularly visit our garden wouldn't be encouraged to visit more frequently and snaffle it first!
That day we had another unusual visitor to our garden, although again not a rare bird in itself, in the form of a Jackdaw. I didn't manage a photo as it was only briefly in the top of our Rowan. I was probably more pleased by the sighting of a Coal Tit. This was once a relatively common species in the garden, but has become worryingly infrequent in the last couple of years. Please forgive me, therefore, if I post a somewhat dire record shot.
|Coal Tit (Periparus ater) - garden on 18/06/2020|
Friday, 19th June
Robin had, disappointingly, been absent from the garden for far too long, and so we were delighted when a juvenile visited this day.
From my study window, I had taken some photos of a Collared Dove, one of which is shown below.
|Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) - garden on 19/06/2020|
As soon as this Collared Dove departed, it was replaced by a male Bullfinch on the feeder, and I was just enjoying the fact that, unusually, we had two male and one female Bullfinch present at the same time, when the Bullfinch outside my window flew and hit the window with a loud thump. Stunned, it dropped into the Cotoneaster outside my window, and I noticed the cause of the disturbance - a male Sparrowhawk was on one of the upturned garden chairs just a few metres away. It looked as if it was just about to dive into the Cotoneaster and take the Bullfinch, but I managed to thump on the window, waving an arm, and frighten it off. I quickly went out to check on the Bullfinch and it was conscious and sitting on a branch and squeeking, probably in fright. I backed off, but stayed there at a distance in case the Sparrowhawk came back to investigate. Eventually, the Bullfinch departed, but I knew I'd done the right thing as far as the Bullfinch was concerned when the Sparrowhawk returned to the same place later and started peering into the Cotoneaster. This time I took some photos - a pity that it was perched on something as un-photogenic as an upturned garden chair!
|Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) (male) - garden on 19/06/2020|
That night, the moth trap went out. It resulted in 41 moths of 20 species, but it was a visually relatively uninteresting and difficult to identify collection. I'll just leave you with one image of a species that has featured on this blog already on more than one occasion recently.
|Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) - from garden on 219/06/2020|
Saturday, 20th June
We'd had two Nuthatch all week until this day, when we were down to sighting just one. The Sparrowhawk was back too, which might be why the number of birds visiting was down. We have found, in the past, that when a Sparrowhawk starts visiting regularly the other birds, sensibly, tend to stay away. This, however, has no visible impact on the insects! We had Small Tortoiseshell and Small White butterflies this day (butterflies had been 'a bit thin on the ground' lately, probably due to inclement weather). Here's a photo of a hoverfly from that day.
|hoverfly (Eupeodes luniger) - garden on 20/06/2020|
Sunday 21st June
This day was Fathers' Day, and Lindsay had kindly bought me the Ball and Morris field guide to Bratain's Hoverflies, published by Princeton Press. Hopefully, from now on, my ID skills on this taxa will improve.
Much of the morning was taken up with a visit to our daughter, with a conversation while sitting socially distant in chairs on her drive. On the way back, I stopped briefly at a location to look for dragons and damsels - but more on that in my next post.
Being largely preoccupied with othe matters, little was noted that day. Nuthatch was not seen, however.
In summary (weekly maxima in brackets):-
We observed 3 species of mammal visit : Hedgehog (1) ; Red Fox (1) ; Grey Squirrel (1)
We observed 2 species of butterfly visit : Small Tortoiseshell (2) ; Small White (1)
Exceptionally good for our garden at this time of year, we observed 22 species of bird visit : Blackbird (3) ; Bullfinch
(3) ; Chaffinch (4) ; Crow, Carrion (1) ; Dove, Collared (7) ; Dunnock
(3) ; Goldfinch (10) ; Greenfinch (2) ; Jackdaw (1) ; Jay (1) ; Magpie (2) ; Nuthatch (2) ;
Robin (1) ; Sparrow, House (8) ; Sparrowhawk (1) Starling (16) ; Tit, Blue (5) ; Tit, Coal (1) ; Tit, Great (2) ;
Tit, Long-tailed (1) ; Woodpigeon (3) ; Wren (1).
My next blog post will probably be on Thursday and feature the two excursions for orchids and a brief look for dragons and damsels. Until then, take care and stay safe.