Wildlife galore

22 April 2013

Saturday was a gorgeous day here – lots of sunshine. That, predictably, brought out the wildlife.

Two Small Tortoiseshells and a large beetle

Two Small Tortoiseshells and a large beetle

I was lucky to catch the two Small Tortoiseshells – I’d come back from the far end of the garden to get something, got delayed, and these two flew in and settled on the bare earth of the being-replanted herb bed long enough for me to take the photo, then flew off again. The beetle is one I see increasingly in the garden, though I’m not sure of its exact identification – I guess its a ground beetle; the body is about an inch long (2cm +) and the antennae are like dark blue beads strung on wire. Do tell me if you know what it is.

Blackbird bathing

Blackbird bathing

We are now pretty sure that we have a pair of blackbirds nesting in our juniper bush/tree – it’s about 15′ (3m) high. The male is very friendly: whenever we are gardening near the house we find him watching us to see if we’re going to do something useful, like dig up some worms, so he can take them back to the nest. Interestingly, he doesn’t follow us to the other end of the garden when we are working on the vegetable beds, possibly because there are one or two other pairs regularly seen up there, so that is their territory. We have now seen both him and his “wife” using the pond to bathe: we had a pebble ramp put in one end when it was built, and the loose pebbles have been a total pain, we’ve taken most of them out now, but a few big ones were cemented to the liner, so they give a good point where a bird can get just deep enough to have a bath (apologies for the poor photos – I was using a zoom lens so I didn’t disturb him, and I think this is camera shake).

The pond is now thirteen years old, and this is the first time I’ve actually seen a bird bathe in it – only goes to show, you just need to keep watching….


2 Comments to “Wildlife galore”

  1. The beetle sounds like a Violet Oil Beetle from the description, I saw my first one this year a couple of days ago 🙂

    • Thanks, David. Thanks to your info, I’ve found that Buglife are running an oil beetle survey for the third year this year, so I’ll send in my sighting. There’s a good leaflet on oil beetle identification on their website, but I have to say the subleties of telling a violet oil beetle from a black oil beetle are a little beyond me!

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