31 May 2020

Cucumber spider & tawny mining bees

With the lock down now in its 11th week and with the weather generally being good I've spent a lot of time outside in the garden and walking the lanes locally. I've always had a local patch - even when I was living at home with my parents in Suffolk. I used to write a wildlife diary everyday without fail and still have some of them going back to 1976. With the advent of new technology I'm sad to say my diaries have made way for a recording App on my phone!

We've lived in this house for 3 years and my local patch consists of improved pasture, a few ponds and a railway embankment. I'm used to walking it 2-3 times a week as I'm generally busy with other things. One of the advantages of a lockdown is that I've been walking it everyday and have picked up species that I've either never seen here before or are generally rare. I've found my 1st patch Grasshopper Warbler singing for only a day in a bramble filled corner of a cow field and seen at least three Yellow Wagtails - one of which is even on the garden list as it flew over calling! This last species I've only ever seen once or twice in the autumn.

I've been lucky enough to have Tawny Mining Bees in the garden for the 2nd year running and the warm weather meant a profusion of Butterflies with several Brimstones being recorded. This female was found sunning herself on the shed.

Tawny Mining Bee nest chamber in lawn below:

One of highlights of the lockdown so far for me was finding a tiny bright green spider on the garage wall. A bit of research revealed it goes by the name of Cucumber Green Spider (Araniella cucurbitinna). There are two common Araniella species, A. cucurbitina and A. opisthographa  and they're difficult to tell apart but I'm sure this is cucurbitina and probably a male given its small size.

Its amazing the wealth of wildlife around in gardens when you really have the time to look!

23 May 2020

Mistle & Song Thrush

We are lucky to have both breeding Mistle And Song Thrush nearby and they are both garden visitors. Song Thrushes generally disappear from the garden on the winter and the first we know they've returned is the welcome sound of them singing. I estimate we've got around 9-10 pairs around the village and possibly 3 pairs of Mistle Thrushes.

Song Thrushes are seen in the garden during the breeding season on a daily basis but tend to show early morning or evenings when its quieter. Mistle Thrushes are rarer and to have two adult birds looking for worms to feed nearby fledged young was a pleasure for a few days.

2 May 2020

Night action in the garden

Using a borrowed camera trap I've managed to successfully capture a number of mammals using our garden at night. We knew we had a fox visiting as we've heard it at night, seen its scat and even managed to photograph it through the bedroom window at dusk one night.

The camera trap has picked up both the fox and a hedgehog. Its great to see the hedgehog is still thriving in our area as numbers have dropped dramatically over the country in recent years and most people only see a dead one on the road.