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.


Sunshine after the rain

It was chilly in the breeze last night and rain was forecast. Heavy rain. Never one to be discouraged (?) I decided to put the moth trap in the man-cave (shed) and leave the door open. A passing moth might take refuge.

The forecast was right and so was I. A quintet of moths took advantage of the Lodge Hotel overnight accommodation, three species new for my garden list. The most attractive was this one. Can you guess what the vernacular name is?Maiden's Blush

This is Maiden’s Blush, Cyclophora punctaria. Just like it says on the tin, it blushes on its forewings.

By 8am the showers had trickled away to bother someone else and we were left with crystal clear light that bathed the garden with the sun peeking through.untitled-12Tough to see as they are quite distant but the Bluebells still look wonderful. All sorts of plants are popping up and I shall have to play photographic whack-a-mole to keep up with them. And of course Woody is still hard at it. Mrs. Woody was there yesterday but he still seems to be putting the finishing touches, perhaps to an en-suite. Again he stayed frozen for ten minutes bar the odd head movement, constantly reassuring himself the coast was clear. I photographed him from the bedroom window.Green WoodpeckerAnd so another day of building work looms. Thank heavens for Maiden’s Blush.