The garden of delights.

Standing in my garden, camera in hand, I become aware of the diversity in just a few square yards. Leaving the plants to one side, as they remain a mystery to me, I feel relieved that my small patch is home to so many creatures.

After the hazels were coppiced and the branches chipped from the over-tall poplar we topped off we allowed the chippings to pile up or just cover the ground. The leaves from the red oak add to the carpet. Each step is a scrunch. I would never make a tracker. I become aware of the flies in all their varieties. I am looking for hoverflies and one cooperates. The others flee my lens. The breeze makes every shot tricky. Rarely a lull. Hence my position. Static. Alert. Hopeful. Frustrated. Then a surge of adrenaline. A damselfly. Red! Not what I normally see here. This is Large Red Damselfly, Pyrrhosoma nymphula. I become acutely aware of my shadow. I must let it sit and bask. Shade will cause it to move. Two or three times it shifts. I take a couple of distant record shots. I kneel. The under-carpet scrunches. I hold my breath. I raise my camera. I quietly press the shutter. I pivot as silently as I can. I edge closer. I press again. Gone.

Pyrrhosoma nymphula2Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Bees are everywhere. Never pausing. Nose in, body wriggle, reverse out. Next please. Large queens and tiny early bees. And nomad bees too. The ones I thought were small wasps. Oh no. Cleptoparasites. But today not one will let me take a single frame. They quarter the leaf litter and rotting wood like miniature harriers. They drop out of sight, emerge and dive under the foliage. Constantly moving. Gone.

From my position I can hear birds all around me. The blackcaps, the chiffchaffs, the rattle of a mistle thrush and if I walk a few paces to my left, the incessant demands of the nuthatch chicks. I watched the parents a day or so ago. They are returning to the nest every minute or so. Land, pause, in, feed, peek out. Clear. Away. Repeat.

The strong breezes have stopped the moths in their tracks. Nothing wants to fly in such conditions. The temperatures have risen but the moths need a calmer night to kick off the summer season. Will tonight be the night? Standing here I don’t really care. I am surrounded by bluebells and the garden is alive. Pyrrhosoma nymphula has made my day.

 

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14 thoughts on “The garden of delights.

  1. The breeze is dropping so you can live in hope. My morning was spent astride the mower but was able to sit next to the pond in the afternoon to read the paper.

  2. I’m sorry only the damsel fly would play, but she is worth it and its great to hear of all the activity. Our rhododendrons, rosemary and the snowball tree are buzzing continuously.

  3. Welcome back, Andrew. Great red damsel-fly with spring bursting out at every step. Insects must be mating like mad all over Britain. At least something is happening.
    Here in autumnal Australia we have a huge bright red flowering salvia bush growing opposite us. There are hundreds of bees feasting on the nectar. It’s party time for them.

  4. We knew your garden is filled with wonder, but your prose has given it wings, Andrew. We haven’t quite seen the return of as many of our yard creatures but how nice to see that lovely large red damselfly.

    This is the first time I am seeing ads at the end of your post.

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