A Nature Study

Looking for Nature in our garden is not quite as difficult as looking for a needle in a haystack.  Mainly because our garden is a little threadbare except for quite a substantial old hedgerow (sounds better than it looks).

We have had lots of bouts of wind (gales, tail-end of hurricanes, no less) rain in many forms from fine drizzle to stair-rods at angles sharp enough to pierce you if you ventured outside. Most recently we have had days, weeks of clouds in all their sumptuous forms.  If you like turgid grey then the rainy weeks were for you. Since then we have the billowing, high-rising clouds that would graze across the sky with their edges drifting out and dissolving into the blue sky.  The sun became quite chipper as the clouds were moved and thinned and turned into visible animals separating from the herd, even like mushrooms with crooked chimneys (!) or just giant white tumbleweed flickering across the sun.

Which brings me down to earth, well daises and clover surrounding clumps of grass we call lawn. Which is most of the garden except for two big shady trees, a hazel and birch.  Or is it a willow or maybe a poplar?  The tree-surgeon  visiting to remove an unpredictable branch reckoned it was a hybrid of one or two of either of the three.  So I suppose that’s  Nature in the Raw for you.    That led me to list the visitors to the garden, here in (now) sunny East Anglia.  Dont worry, it is not endless but maybe the start of a new un-interesting blog:

Nature as I see it:

We always see sparrows so I wont keep mentioning them, unless they disappear as all the hedges around us seem to be cut down and front gardens rough or otherwise replaced with block-paving.

So what are the rarities?  Almost everything  in any quantity except pigeons.  We have two resident two pairs of blackbirds that keep having young but they dont nest in our garden. They choose the ivy and bushes in next door’s garden OR THE ONE ACROSS THE ROAD!  We really must get our habitats sorted out.

We have a wren, possibly two (next door’s). A Robin, possibly two (next door’s). Three visiting Goldfinches, ditto four starlings. (Do you see the way this is going?) I think five pigeons and two ring-necked doves.  One Song Thrush has been visiting this week and has given us some really wonderful songs. This is my highlight of the summer.

Bored yet?  Havent seen any squirrels recently, grey or black so I cant mention them.

I have seen one toad crawl its way under the raised flagstone supporting a waterbutt.  The highlight of this list is that I have seen two frogs, seemingly living under a different frog sitwaterbutt to the toad.  One of them I see almost every time I go to water the flower and fruit bush pots and the now collapsing raspberry canes.  In the second photo you can see he/she is very relaxed about meeting me.  We have nothing like a pond, or marsh or running water  in our or any garden round us so they must have arrived purely for the benefit of our leaking waterbutts.   So I cant even replace those!

I do have a line of now old silver birch logs to help the insects and two compost bins that are favoured by teeming slugs of all sizes and a now growing number of small, spiral coloured snails.   These no doubt attracted the thrush, frogs and toad.

Across the lawn, under the pots and even in the dog’s hair are the countless ants, flying or wingless, fighting or aimless, Yesterday I saw a Red Admiral.  Sadly I feel I have to frog lounge 2ignore the ‘cabbage’ white butterfly that seem to flutter endlessly across the garden. The one item of nature we seem to have in plenty, though not so many at present, are bees, solitary bumble bees (at least, not honey bees).  Few around the baskets and rasperries at present but earlier in the spring I estimated 50 were zooming through the flowers of the raspeberry canes, all at the same time.   I know some live in the low cracks in the mortar on the sunny side of the house, but that many!  Not that I am complaining.  Though the dog might if ones she plays with when found get angry.

I really hope the green woodpecker that visited a few years ago for the ant-fest comes soon.