During the 1st and 2nd, avian visitors to the garden included: Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Dunnock, Wren and Starling.
With only a few Dianthuses and a small Heather in flower, there is no sign of any bees as yet, but Ken Saul has had his first Buff-tailed Bumblebee in his Filby garden.
A Hedgehog was seen at the start of the month (2nd) with appearances at 22.07 and 22.22 on both occasions entering the box after feeding.
Blackbirds continue to feast on the Pears and Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Starling, Dunnock, House Sparrow and a ‘rare’ sight in the garden of a Blue Tit feeding on peanuts, then fat balls were all seen.
As stated before, the Blue Tits did nest successfully in 2018 in a nestbox erected on the shed wall, but excursions into the garden for supplied food supplements are scarce. Although they were finding both insect and Spider prey for the young last year, which would be fairly common place at that time, in the Winter, I would suggest that the lack of habitat in the immediate area, utilised for looking for natural prey and cover may well be the reason why so little Titmice activity is seen. Instead, utilising man-made nesting sites, in the absence of natural ones and an abundance of natural prey, supplemented by food put out for the birds in the Spring and Summer.
Hedgehog sightings were 00.25 and 18.00 (7th).
An Ichneumon (the inspiration for the Alien films!) was found outside the back door; but it’s not an easy genus to identify and after some research a conclusion species-wise was not determined. However, a sign of ‘Spring’ as predators require prey!
Hedgehog sightings continued: 20.15 (5th) and 18.00 and 19.30 (6th).
Hedgehogs & the importance of 'gardens' but official bad news for insects globally!
Hedgehog sightings continued with individual sightings: 18.50 (8th), 03.08 (9th) and 22.43 (11th).
The news coming in from the scientific community (11th), that insect populations globally are undergoing a 40% decline, with bees, ants and beetles disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds and reptiles may not come as a ‘total’ surprise to those of us who study insects, even just on an observational basis. Ironically it is those species of insects such as House Flies and Cockroaches, which live in our own sanitised environments, which scientists are suggesting will boom! Not surprisingly, the causes put forward for these declines are intensive agriculture, pesticides and climate change; all of which are down to the masterful and all powerful but unable to grasp that they are destroying their own ability to live Homo sapiens!
Whilst this stupidity may have been forgivable at one time, it certainly isn’t now!
Our gardens, our own little (may be big!) nature reserves are so important, more than they ever have been and in light of this, like many of you I have been trying to improve my own plot by purchasing seed and sometimes plants, which will further enhance and provide a food source for the insects that visit the garden and to attract others that as yet have not been recorded.
However, I was not very pleased a few days ago when the post lady delivered a box to me. Yes it contained the 25 Snake’s head Fritillary I had sent for, but the rest of the contents were totally counterproductive; a plastic sealed bag and a cardboard box (at least 10 times the mass of the bulbs) filled with pieces of polystyrene! Why did these unrecyclable and un-compostable materials need to be included? IR Garden Supplies-stay away from ordering from them and if you receive packages of these kind of ‘clogging the environment’ materials complain. I did!!
Some of us knew already, but more official science-based Armogeddon!
More science-based news today (12th) (via BBC text) includes the statement from the IPPR think-tank, which suggest (although I would say this is a statement of fact), that human impacts have reached a critical stage with politicians and policy-makers failing to ‘grasp the gravity of the environmental crisis. Furthermore, suggesting that this course of action (or lack of action!) now threaten to destabilise society and the global economy, due to a deadly combination of factors including: Climate change, mass loss of species, topsoil, forest-felling and acidifying oceans.
Then we come to the ‘pet world’! In this instance Dogs, which are a major threat to wildlife, which scientists are saying have contributed to the extinction of one dozen wild bird and animal species and have become the third worst human-introduced predator after cats and rats. Further suggesting, that studies have shown that dogs threaten nearly 200 species world-wide, some of which, are critically endangered!
On a more pleasing note, a Hedgehog is presently (20.20) in the garden feeding on ‘hedgehog-offerings’ put out for these splendid animals. Ironically and to somewhat underline the previous information, it has just retreated into the hedgehog box (20.26) due to the sound of a dog barking!
The first Honey Bee was seen in the garden today (13th), but with his collection of Heathers, at least 8 were in my neighbour David’s garden.
A nice selection of birds were in the garden, with Blackbird (females holding dominance over the Pears), Starling, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Collared Dove, Jackdaw and a Blue Tit, searching for insects in the dead vegetation (another reason to not ‘tidy up’ to soon). A Herring Gull was calling from the roof and a Pied Wagtail hunted for food along the paths, just outside the garden.
A Buddleia (B. globosa) (round orange flowers) was planted, which had been raised from a cutting and the Snakes-head Fritillary corms were planted too, along with Lesser Celandine.
Part of the ‘workforce’ in the garden is two Rabbits: Brambles and Lucy, presently staying with me as they do periodically. They provide a good source of compost as well as consuming Buddleia and Rose trimmings and the occasional centre from toilet rolls! This is all part of the composting regime, which will save an awful lot on purchasing bags of compost for planting or as a soil improver.
A Blackbird heard singing outside in the late afternoon/evening was a cause to suggest that ‘spring’ was on its way!
‘The’ Hedgehog was seen at 22.46, when after feeding returned to the hedgehog box.
Hedgehog sightings were at 02.50 and 20.05 (14th), 00.57 and 23.10 (15th), 12.55 (16th), 21.52 (18th) and 21.45 (20th).
A Hedgehog appeared in the garden at 01.08 (24th) and a cock Pheasant landed on the grass at the rear of the garden later in the morning, the first sighting of this species here, albeit from the garden.
The Hedgehog put in appearances in the garden at 02.24 and 5.45 (25th) (under the bird table), on both occasions returning to the hedgehog box.
The first Buff-tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris of the spring appeared briefly in the garden and the Mallard, which appear to be the same ducks as in previous visits (yes they have names!), as usual came into the garden for food; a special duck and swan mix on this occasion.
A Hedgehog visit occurred at 05.25 (26th). There were also visits from Buff-tailed Bumblebees and the Mallard.
The Bunny 'workforce': Brambles & Lucy