I was happy to get this shot of 'Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) on next-door’s roof, as usually I only see them in flight, either soaring high over the garden, or bombing through on the hunt. This female is the first I’ve seen around the garden for several weeks, since a mail that hung around for a while back in November.. There were a few other new bird arrivals yesterday, such as a trio of Lesser Redpolls (a bit scarce this winter), a cock pheasant (a regular visitor most winters, but not this year),.a new female Blackcap, a small party of Redwings (the first for a few weeks) and group of Blackbirds present in the morning. Perhaps this is a sign of the season, and some migration going on.
More or less on the 2 month mark, I added a handful of species to achieve a total of 300 species in the microEden backyard. The fennel seems to be the most attractive pollen source for flies, hoverflies and wasps, The population of wasps is really taking off right now, with them all around us as soon as we sit outside for a meal.
The new species in the last couple of days include #297 common orange legionnaire fly, #298 pied hoverfly and #300 a solitary bee Ectemnius continuus. The solitary bee is a predator, digging a nest hole in wood and taking flies, etc back for its larvae - it has strong looking legs, perhaps for all that digging. On the fennel though it was more interested in the flowers than any of its fellow insects.
It's been a good year for poppies in the garden. Some years there's none, this year lots of yellow Welsh Poppies materialized in May and now we have rather beautiful Opium Poppies (#175) popping up all over the place. No idea where the seeds have come from; but they can lay dormant for several years in the soil waiting for the right conditions to germinate. The current hot spell is obviously such a time. It's also been great for butterflies, which is good news.
Spent some time, between World Cup matches, with my youngest son checking for bugs around the garden, and in the process adding several species to the list and learning about some garden inhabitants I'd previously overlooked. Checking the brown wheelie bin for garden waste always yields something after I've been doing some pruning - in this case #154 an oak bush cricket nymph. Bashing some bushes & trees and catching the falling bugs on a white sheet was fun and also got some results.
I was wondering when I was going to find my first garden dragonfly or damselfly. Where here he (I think) is; a Blue-tailed Damselfly resting up in my tomato plants.
Had a good few days adding some new species including my first pipistrelle bats of the year, a passing speckled wood butterfly (no photos sadly) and even a couple of trees I hadn't noticed before (very small ash and beech saplings). Small fauna included a smooth glass snail, pollen beetles (which really seem to like yellow Hypericum flowers) and a Capsus ater capsid beetle which flew in through the window, but should normally be sucking the sap out of grass stems in a nearby meadow.
A couple of Scarlet Tiger moths (#81) around the garden this morning enabling me to get decent photos, and my first ladybird, #124 a Harlequin Ladybird. These ladybirds are non-native ones from Asia that have been accidentally introduced and are increasing fast in population - I hope that they can co-exist ok alongside the native ladybird species.