Bookish And All Of A Flutter – Part 2: The Birds And The Bees

Well it’s been a while since my last blog! Although I’ve been doing the best I can, my CFS doesn’t seem to want to ease, meaning my book is still very much ish rather than complete. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish it this week if I continue to do the work in short spurts. I haven’t been anywhere near a screen for quite some time.

Speckled Wood Butterfly
Speckled Wood Butterfly

I’m not in a flutter about it – again I’m in a flutter about butterflies. I’ve been taking part in The Big Butterfly Count – meditative, restorative and most importantly, useful! butterflies are great and sensitive indicators of environmental and climate change. I was lucky enough to see multiple lepidoptera species in my garden- even some that look set to become extinct in the UK by 2050 if drought conditions increase. Ringlet, speckled wood, large and small whites are all regular visitors. Needless to say that the red admiral was resting on me again. I could even see her two vastly reduced front legs which aren’t used to stand on like the four larger legs. Instead these limbs are used to smell and taste with and give the Nymphalidae family the common name of brush-footed butterflies.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Butterflies aren’t the only insect life forms that I’ve been enjoying, the dragonflies and bees have also proved fascinating. I discovered what I think are Red-Tailed Bumblebees mating. Apart from minding the stinger, mating can be dangerous for bumblebees!

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Flying ant day was a little less enjoyable – don’t get me wrong, the colonies and behaviour are just as interesting, however there is something about the sight of a flying ant that makes me itch! We have several species in our garden which I have resolved to identify. I looked out of the window the other day to discover a juvenile green woodpecker feasting on them – such a beautiful creature. I looked up to see a greater spotted woodpecker looking for food in the elder – he quickly hopped onto the tall foxglove*, and started pecking vigorously. The garden spider ended up with a disappointing web full of of tiny seeds, the flowers being long spent, I’m not sure what the bird got!

Created with Nokia Smart Cam - Hole In Foxglove By Woodpecker
Created with Nokia Smart Cam – Hole In Foxglove By Woodpecker

As well as the young green woodpecker cackling to himself, a young buzzard can be heard in the locality throughout the day. I was lucky enough to see him the this morning as I opened the curtains – the plumage appeared much darker than the average adult to my bleary eyes. Even the amorous wood pigeon cocks his head to listen to him – and probably work out an escape route!

I’ve spared you a picture of the hedgehog droppings I found, I just wish I had better camera equipment so I could capture the bats – I would probably need better reactions too! We have pipistrelles whizzing around the garden but I’ve also seen a larger species. I don’t know how to begin to identify them as they are off in a flash!

*Picture on Twitter – 22 June 2015

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