Sunday, 31 May 2009

May round-up

One of 4 young Magpies fledged from a tall spruce in the garden

Its been a good long spring for wildlife around in and around our garden in Shadoxhurst. Whilst our local Cuckoos and Nightingales are still in full call and song, it won't be long before June brings a summer silence to the garden. Surprisingly, Great spotted woodpeckers can still be heard ocassionally drumming. That's a lot of head -banging, as I remember that the first bird heard drumming was boxing day 08. I know of at least 2 pairs with young birds ready to fledge the nest.

As far as I can see Spring has been a breeding success for our garden birds. Magpies, Blue Tits, Blackbirds, Long tailed tits all have young visiting the garden. Song Thrush young are sadly conspicuous by their absence and their arch enemy the Magpie, has three young birds being feed the garden. Starlings have done well with a large flock feeding in the paddock behind the garden.

Our Blue tits left the box with family in tow about a week ago now. So for this year their seems to be a traditional synchronicity between the green tortex Moth caterpillar peak numbers and the hatching and feeding of the young Blue tits.

My neighbours House Martins started to nest build and repair for just one day and then came to a stop. I'm convinced they will try again in June as there are at 12 feeding over Shadoxhurst field daily. No summer migrant seems to be able to breed later than House Martins.

Our 2 garden camps have shown us just how rich and intense our spring dawn chorus can be. Cuckoo's in particular have been very vocal, although one note of caution is that I have yet to hear a female cuckoo with it's characteristic and loud 'water draining out of the sink call!'

Dragonflies also seem to be having a good year. The first Broad-bodied chaser left the pond mid-month and there are many Azure Damsel flies and Large Red Damselfys breeding to. At night there are many Southern Hawkers nymphs prospecting for reed stalks to depart the water from in the coming weeks. Moths have been low in number on the few occasions we have tried the light trap out.

Good news for Butterflies is that we have had 2 small Tortoiseshells, (thats 2 more than last year) in the garden back in March, and and the wave of Painted Ladies has become a national talking point, such is the enormnity of the migration involved this year. Moths below are Marbled White spot and Elepant Hawk, both present in the garden last week.

Elephant Hawk moth

Marbled White spot

Mammal wise, foxes are visible in the evening trotting across the paddock and Pipistrelle Bats are present in twos and threes hunting up and down the garden lawn. I haven't seen any Hedgehogs yet and that is something I need to check out as nationally, their numbers have dropped disturbingly low.

Overall, its be a fine month with plenty of good weather - the highlight over all will be the day we saw our first garden Red Kite fly over. Here's looking forward to an equally exciting summer happy with the knowledge that spring despite our global warming worries seemed quite normal this year!

Back garden at 7.30 tonight

Meadow Buttercups in the Paddock behind the garden

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