Spring into action

A lot has been happening in the garden over the past few days.

Comma Butterfly

Comma Butterfly

Drinking a cup of tea in the garden this afternoon I noticed this comma butterfly sunning herself. She had obviously over-wintered somewhere close-by as you can see she is rather battered and bashed. I’m especially pleased to see her as one of their main food plants is the nettle. I kept an area of nettle in the garden last year (instead of pulling it all up and depositing it in the compost bin), maybe my green-gardening has paid off for once.

Next is an insect that I usually run a mile from but yesterday she was particularly docile. This queen common wasp will be looking for a new nest site soon. Let’s hope she doesn’t choose my loft (again) otherwise I may have to get the “wasp man” to take her and her mates away.

Queen Common Wasp

Queen Common Wasp

This bumble was sitting on the back step yesterday morning. Looking very bedraggled, I woman-handled her onto a nearby shrub to let her dry out. She’s a queen buff-tailed bumblebee. Hopefully she WILL make her nest nearby, and her workers will fill the garden with their dozy buzz on hot summer days.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee

A few other things have been happening in the garden… mainly at night. The foxes are everywhere. There are now at least four visiting the garden and showing up on the live webcam in the evenings (much to all the watchers delight). A couple of them have unfortunately been limping very badly. I’m hoping their injuries are just minor, and that they will be back to full health soon. They have also dug out another two holes under the shed. Messy buggers!

Fox in the garden

The badger (Apple) is still coming regularly, although not every night. She came early on Wednesday morning (2/4/08) and stayed from 3.23 to 3.28am. Just a short visit but maybe the foxes had eaten all the sultanas!

Badger in the garden

We also saw a hedgehog on the live webcam on Monday night (31/3/08) at about 11pm. Hopefully it will be back for some grub and we will see it again. It had better steer clear of the foxes and badgers though, last year one was eaten on the front lawn. Only it’s head and spines remained in the morning. So don’t say you haven’t been warned little hog-pig and watch your back!

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13 thoughts on “Spring into action

  1. Lovely shots Jane. Good of the visitors to keep still long enough to be photographed.
    Sounds to me as if your shed is in danger of sinking!

    Just watched that crow video – had to watch it twice, as I thought I was mistaken in what I saw the first time. And some people try to say that only primates use tools!

    Thanks for your comment on mine – ah, we’ll never argue, so you’re safe!

  2. Hi FC. Thanks. They aren’t brilliant (as the camera isn’t up to much) but they are reasonable record shots, and remind me what was in the garden at certain times of the year. Great that you could pop by. Jane

  3. Hi Dragonstar. My visitors were all very dopey and easy to photograph (just waking up I think, and sunning themselves). I hope the shed doesn’t sink… but you never know! That crow video is brilliant… I couldn’t believe it the first time I watched it. Had to watch it over and over. They are very clever birds, much under-rated. Hope you don’t get the knives out! scary! Jane x

  4. Well its about time we got into spring eh?
    Nice bugs Jane!
    I’m enjoying the butterflies, bees, moths etc… but am feeling very low regarding Blue Tits.
    EVERYWHERE I look I see Tits building nests – two at work for example!
    But not at home…
    Feeling very “poor me”…! 😉

  5. Hi Doug. I know the photo’s aren’t up to your standard… but they aren’t bad for my little camera. Like you I’m loving spring this year. I seem to be seeing everything with new “nature watching” eyes. I’m so sorry about your blue tits… I haven’t given up on them yet! There’s always the second brood! Jane

  6. They are EXCELLENT photo’s! (especially the comma and wasp I think)!
    Talking of Commas, I always think they look a bit battered with their “ragged” wings!

    ps – Blue Tits. two broods? Not usually…. (I wish!)

    18c this weekend!
    HERE COMES SUMMER!

  7. I love comma butterflies – it’s their wing shape. It’s good beginning to see more interesting life out and about. Hoping to see an orange tip over the weekend. Do you get them in your neck of the woods?

    Hey, what do you think about all the wordpress updating – got a total shock when I couldn’t find my image library, didn’t know how to update or publish edits…getting there now.

    You’re also very welcome to come and stalk our ponds whenever…

  8. First time I’ve seen a Comma. I agree the wing shape was the thing that attracted my attention. I’ve never seen an orange tip… will have to look out for them (not sure if we get them… will have to check).

    The wordpress update completed flummoxed me. I thought I’d done something wrong. OK now though (I think)

    I’d love to come and stalk your ponds with my camera. You might regret you said that! Jane

  9. I am most interested in you “Queen buff-tailed bumblebee”. I would pretty confident that this is a male (antennae are remarkably long and thin for a queen), The tail colour is wrong too. However, male bumbles aren’t supposed to be about at this time of year. I can offer a tentative suggestion and that is that this specimen may have come from a mature nest that has been active over the entire winter (did you see bumbles in Jan and Feb?) and is now producing a new generation of sexuals. I have found the odd male bumble in April before, and also a crop of fresh queens in late May (last year).

  10. Stuart. Thank you for your comment about the bumblebee. It was found in quite strange circumstances. When we left the house early in the morning we came across it on the back step, soaking wet and not moving much. However, it was “large” enough to be a queen, as I would presume the males are somewhat smaller? but as you say, there are some discrepancies with the identification (antennae, colour). There could be a mature nest nearby, and there certainly seem to be a lot of buff-tailed’s in the garden (they can’t all be queens surely!) so they could be workers. Thanks so much for the information.

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