Thursday, 6 June 2013

Promising start to June

With the recent sunny spells which everyone has been hoping for, I took advantage of the rays and Mum's range of garden flowers to practice some up close and personal photos! I'm very lucky to firstly have a lovely nature friendly garden and secondly that my mum is a great gardener!! She has made sure we have a variety of plants which bees, hoverflies and other bugs love!! The set of photos on this post were taken over the last couple of days.

4th June


Beautiful colours of the fresh allium


Volucella bombylans - a fairly large hoverfly that is a bumble bee mimic

Strawberry plant flower
I have followed a similar theme in my last few posts, that we should appreciate the wonderful areas that surround us and that many of us are lucky to live in the countryside where birds, insects and other creatures are plentiful.

This is reiterated to me every time I go for a walk with the dog. Whitethroats on telephone wires, foxes skulking in the orchards, great spotted woodpeckers raising their chicks, calling to tem constantly. This GSW nest is the second we know of, the other is down in the woodland area in the other direction from my house (features later on in this post..). All of this a 10 minute walk from my house. How lucky am I :) Sometimes it is nice to just take in all these incredible moments without taking photos. But some events are just too good that I want a digital image as well as a picture in my head, because one day my memory may not be as clear as it is currently!

Hawthorn blossom

Parent woodpecker by the nest hole

Chick popping its head out!

How happy does he look :)

Floating head!!

5th June

More sun meant more photo opportunities, because flowers just look so much more colourful and vibrant when they are highlighted by sunshine! The allium's flowers are gradually opening and the various insects are using the leaves as sun beds. The housemartins are keeping me entertained as they swoop over my head and talk to each other in their bubbly tones. I just LOVE watching them and it fills me with happiness when I hear the swifts screaming as they dart after each other. It is these things which I can't imagine summer without. 

I have also been keeping a close eye on the nest box which the blue tits have been using and on Tuesday I predicted that the chicks would fledge soon. They proved me right and around lunch time I noticed a small fluffy grumpy looking blue tit chick perched on the flowering bush near the nest box. It was making lots of noise, obviously hungry and calling to mum or dad. The parent tried many different positions feeding it's bubba!!

Alium - the individual flower heads (florets?) had started opening

Playing with log and toy at the same time - multitasking pup!

Helophilus pendulus

Housemartin pair adding to their nest. Why they don't use the box we put up I don't know!!

Blue tit fledgling

Parent and baby blue tits

How many different angles can this parent be in to feed its chick?!

Fluffed up, this chick looks bigger than its parent!

Grumpy chick!

6th June

The allium is a member of the onion family and is actually latin for garlic. The whole plant is a complex cluster of flowers which I think can be referred to as an inflorescence. The common point at the centre gives rise to a number of pedicels (the stalks of each floret) and the stem which supports the whole inflorescence is termed peduncle. I have never been very good at botany so if I have got any terms wrong I do apologise!

The last couple of walks down at the strawberry fields 5 minutes from my house, I have been surrounded by housemartins who go there to pick up muds to build or patch up their nests. They literally come within a couple of metres from me which is magical!! 5, 6, 7 of them all landed in the nearly dried up muddy puddle, but only for a brief moment. The wind made them flutter around and showed how spectacularly they utilise each of their feathers in order to fly in the direction they wanted to. A lone swallow passed through also.

Fly-by swallow


Correction: Large white (Thank you Marianne!)
 I walked along down by the reed filled ditch and listened as at least 4 pairs of reed warblers chattered away in harmony with the numerous marsh frogs. There were a good number of freshly emerged damselflies and I saw quite a few butterflies around.  

Colourful meadow area

Happy Bracken amongst the buttercups

Correction: Azure damselfly (Thanks again to Marianne!)

Azure damselfly

I didn't think this walk could get much better, only to walk past the wooded area and hear the great spotted woodpecker chicks calling loudly. They had fledged!! Through the leafy trees I spotted one which after a few minutes was joined by a parent. I stayed to watch and get a couple of photos then headed off so I didn't scare either parent away. Whilst I watched them, I also heard chiff chaffs, a cuckoo, the many reed warblers and when I glanced across the meadow shown above, I was please to see a wonderful marsh harrier.

Parent and fledgling great spotted woodpeckers

 I was greeted by more housemartins when I reached the puddles on the way home and managed a couple more pleasing photos.

Housemartin off to add to its fantastic nest!

 The last few days have really enforced how in awe of nature and birds I am. I love the area I live in!

Sorry for such a long post! Please do look back soon if I haven't bored you too much with my ramblings! :)


  1. Lovely post :) isn't this a great time of year? The white butterfly looks more like Large White to me, in Small White the black doesn't come down so far down the forewing edge. The damselflies are both Azure - this helps show the difference between Common Blue and Azure:

    1. Thank you so much for correcting me! I spent a bit of time trying to identify them, but I am pretty useless it seems! That comparison photo from the link is great so thank you, I shall change the captions now! :)

  2. It looks like you have some fantastic spots the enjoy nature right on your doorstep Lou, I had to chuckle at the "floating" head dog image I hope he was reunited with the rest of his body.
    It's odd about the Housemartin and your nestbox, a freind had a similar thing with his HM's yet the Swallows were only to keen to use the "nest-cup" items he brought, we reckon (no proof) that the mud they use to build their nest with helps in the incubating of the eggs and also helps to regulate the temperature better then wood, we also put forward the idea that within the mud will be insect lavae/ants etc ready for when the young proof just a theory.

    1. Indeed there are a variety of different habitats where I live. We thought it might be an insulation issue also. A new pair have already made a good start to a brand new nest. There are more pairs than usual this year which is reassuring!

  3. The wildlife in your area seems incredible! Very lucky indeed... Those GSW chicks are amazing! The Blue tit chick is adorable as well - enjoyed reading about the allium inflorescence. I am rubbish with my plants as well, although eager to learn when I have team! Keep up the good bloggery :)


    1. Thanks Tom :) Yeah plants have never been my strong point, but my Mum is trying to teach me. I'm looking forward to the housemartin chicks! Might attempt some filming of them when they arrive!