Another month and the garden cycle presses on, with plants continuing to grow and in turn attracting all manner of animals.
In fact, our gardens are the new ‘Woodland edge’ and are therefore very important for many species, as the ‘progress’ of man does not seem to abate. I was asked the other day via my Twitter account if Muntjac ate woodland edge plants? Although my reply was well mannered, I did point out in a minimum of words that man has more bearing on woodland edge than any number of Muntjac. The basic fact is there is bugger all woodland edge because man has cut the vast majority of woodland down that once covered this country, literally coast to coast!
A Hedgehog began April (1st) with a feeding visit to the garden at 00.31, leaving a few ‘deposits’ behind! A ‘small white’ butterfly species flew past, the first definite Bombus pratorum Early Bumblebee was in the garden on Flowering Currant flowers and a Goldfinch flew into the garden to drink at the small dish placed in a log, right outside the kitchen window.
A good deal of avian activity happened around 14.00 (2nd), with male and female Pied Wagtails, Blackbird, Starling, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, House Sparrow and Goldfinch all visiting the garden.
With Brambles and Lucy (Rabbits) on a visit with me, whilst in heavy moult a spot of activity was warranted with the Hoover! However, good things followed this housework.
After cleaning up the Hoover outside and putting most of the contents in the compost bin, I also left some fur on the ground. This was rewarded a few minutes later when a Blue Tit came down and collected the rabbit fur for the finishing touches to its nest; unfortunately not taking it in one of my garden nestboxes! I quickly went outside put some more fur down, opened the kitchen window and got the camera, managing to get one image of the Blue Tit collecting nest material; again the garden and its inhabitants benefitting from the bunnies: Brambles and Lucy!
Bunnies & Blue Tits Beneficial?! Collared Dove Starlings cleaning up the fallen food
A Hedgehog visited the garden at 22.00 (3rd).
A Red Kite flew leisurely southwards (5th) and a Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk were in the sky above Martham. A male Greenfinch was in song-flight and Linnets and Goldfinches were also overhead.
A female Greenfinch was collecting nest material (dead grass) on the area of grass, at the back of the garden and a Song Thrush was seen briefly there too; not a common sight here, or anywhere for that matter!
A good number of birds visited the garden: Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, male and female Pied Wagtails, House Sparrow and a Blue tit was breaking off thin dead branches off the Fuchsia. Unlike the Blue Tit collecting rabbit fur a few days ago indicating nest nearing completion, this collection of nest material suggested a beginning of a build.
A Peacock was in the garden briefly and Dark-edged Bee-flies (2 on Grape Hyacinth and Aubrietia) and Carder Bumblebees (2) were feeding on the Flowering Currant. Both male and female Buffish Mining Bee was also in the garden, a female visiting Three-cornered Leek and a Hedgehog paid a visit for food at 23.40.
A Starling was collecting dried plant matter in the garden on a rather overcast and cold day (6th). 2 Blue Tits came to the bird table to feed and a Robin and Blackbird were also of note. The Pied Wagtails also continue to visit the garden for pieces of fat balls, scattered by the Starlings.
First Red Mason Bee......
The first Osmia bicornis Red Mason Bee of the year was in the garden (8th) and once again the Three-cornered Leek flowers were the flower of choice. Apart of adding a splash of colour to the garden, they are a great early food source for a number of insects.
Two female Hairy-footed Flower Bees visited the flowers of a Variegated Nettle and Flowering Currant and both male and female Buffish Mining Bees were present as was a Carder Bumblebee.
Dark-edged Bee-flies were visiting Aubrietia flowers and also Forget-me-not flowers. Although this species is a parasitoid of some species of Andrena (Mining Bees) it is very much a fascinating insect in its own right and I never tire of watching them visiting flowers in the spring. After all if you have a problem with the ‘parasitoid’ part of its ecology, then by implication (at least), you have a problem with Cuckoos!
Red Mason Bee Hairy-footed Flower Bee Buffish Mining Bee Dark-edged Bee-fly 7-spot Ladybirds
The Hedgehog appeared in the garden at 20.58 (10th).
The first Bombus hortorum Garden Bumblebee was on the Flowering Currant bushes (12th).
The cold easterly winds persist, but 3 Dunnocks appeared in the garden together (13th), one with a white feather in its bill, whilst the other two were on the garden fence, with the female conducting her fluttering courtship ritual.
3 Collared Doves were also in the garden together, along with frequent visits from a Robin and both male and female Pied Wagtails. A male Marsh Harrier overhead high in the sky was the first record of this species from the garden.
Carder Bumblebee and Buffish Mining Bees were in the garden along with Dark-edged Bee-flies and the Hedgehog appeared to feed at 22.45, before returning to the hedgehog box under the Fuchsia.