Monday, 27 June 2016

#30DaysWild Day 27 – Tadpole update

No back legs are visible on the frog tadpoles tonight. This was an optimistic check-in as they are changing their swimming behaviour. They are now seen very close to the bottom, stationary a lot of the time but when they move it is fast, almost like they are running along.

The pond water is currently clear enough for the tadpoles to be seen but there's enough cover with plants and large pebbles to keep them safe too. The pebbles are working very well by our observations.

By my estimations the 10 week point, when the back legs are due to appear, will be on Saturday. We will be checking them daily from now on. They have certainly got the whole family gardenwatching :-)

At night especially, the tadpoles are seen congregating in groups.

Tadpoles resting on top of the pebbles make them easier to photograph.
Great to see the spaces between pebbles used for resting/hiding too.

A number of damselfly nymphs were seen tonight, a beetle is seen hiding too.

Pond skaters are seen more clearly when they rest on plant leaves.

Following these tadpoles has been such fun, seeing so many damselfly nymphs tonight was great too. They were also seen in groups and once again, resting on pebbles allowed an attempt at a photo. They are absolutely tiny, the photo above was cropped.

It would be just brilliant to take images from below the water. I’d love to do that. It would be fascinating to see all the wildlife that is living in the pond and from the viewpoint they see too. I’d love to share that here. For now, I’ll do my best with my zoom lens from above :-)

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in June 2016.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

#30DaysWild Day 26 – Insects love water

National Insect Week took me out to the garden with a camera last night. Someone crept up on me and the focus shifted :-) It was a non-gardening practical job that took me outdoors this morning, nothing whatsoever to do with nature or insects.

Noisy garden visitors were heard the minute I opened my back door and my focus quickly shifted to taking photos. It’s fair to say, this happens a lot! Sound familiar?

Young fledgling Blue tits were seen begging parents for food,
using the feeder loop perch the parent didn’t need to fly very far.

Last night, moths were a no show on the cotoneaster blossom, this morning
it was quite literally a buzz with many bees feeding.

Last night I focused on watching white flowers for insects, this morning
a hoverfly was feeding on a new wild flower arrival for 2016 - Oxeye daisy

I’m loving the increasing planting of Astrantia and so are the insects.
Delicate bobbing movement of these flowers add so much to the garden too :-)

A long shot of the border shows a plethora of foliage and ground cover for
newly emerged froglets, many more flowers will open for insects too :-)

Pond side was the destination for my practical job this morning, it also shows
the power of editing & cropping photos. The rectangle reflection on the right is a towel hanging. A base pole for a rotary clothes line is discretely in the grass :-)

Practical job completed, insects caught my eye moving over the water.
Uploading photos revealed three backswimmers as well as the hoverfly.
It is often said that water is like a magnet to insects - it definitely is!

Water Lily 'Marliacea Chromatella', picked for it’s beautiful marbled leaves
and its medium size, hoverflies and other insects are attracted to it too.

The next practical job was breakfast. Where better a place to have it
than sitting on the Arbour behind the pond? Ignoring the hanging washing,
my focus went to the beauty of a simple flower reflecting in water.

The final, garden related, practical job planned for the day is building a new garden bench. It’s been painted to match the arbour and is ready and waiting to be assembled. It’s to be raining later in the afternoon so sounds like a good time to do it. I'll enjoy using this bench to watch insects and birds in another part of the garden. I've something else in mind for it too ;-)

If you’ve had garden plans for the weekend, I hope you’ve had the weather and time to get them done. Today’s the last day of the National Insect Week for 2016, if you've been taking part with any events, I hope you’ve had fun :-)

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in June 2016.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

#30DaysWild Day 25 - "It's behind you!”

Pantomime location: gravel path beside wildlife pond, Day 25. The main character (garden blogger) is standing below a flowering wisteria watching for moths and other insects to photograph. She patiently waits but alas no insect activity is seen.

The star character (hedgehog) returns to the location previously spotted earlier in the evening. It is enticed back by a handful mix of dried mealworms, sultanas, sunflower hearts and crushed unsalted peanuts put out on the path and grass edge of the pond.

The main character is completely oblivious to the star character’s presence for a second time. The pantomime audience shouts: "It's behind you!”

A munching noise alerts the main character to turn round. Standing on a gravel path she cannot move her feet as the noise will scare the star character away. She stands very still.

It’s a special moment for the main character, standing so close to this endangered species. Watching the star character for real is so much better than live on the feeding station IR camera, indoors at the PC. The main character is transfixed.

A quiet move of the tripod allows the main character to take a handful of photos. Using a zoom lens the flash doesn’t bother the star character who carries on feeding. The main character takes her hands away from the camera and just enjoys the moment.

The voice of a background character (daughter indoors) is heard calling for the main character via a house window. “There’s a hedgehog on the path!” she quietly exclaims. The main character walks on the gravel path to meet the background character… the star character goes back out into the night… the end.

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in June 2016.