Monday, 15 June 2015

Macro moths

Barrie has got some extension tubes for his camera so he can take macro shots of our garden wildlife. We put the moth trap out Friday night and were really pleased to get some Elephant Hawkmoths, among many other moths.

Elephant Hawkmoth

Buff Ermine

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Ebb and Flo


Our guests are soon going to be leaving us. In two weeks the change has been amazing we literally wake up to different ducks every day. They have got very bossy- they ran out of food in the pen (they eat a lot!) and they made sure we heard about it. They love coming on the allotment when we are digging to find worms but go and sit in their carrier when they want to go back to the pond. We can see them watching the other birds flying over, their own flight feathers are just coming through. We think we were very lucky with the names, Ebb has blue showing more on his head than Flo so we think he's male and Flo properly quacks, although I've never really noticed if its true that only females quack - I never thought I'd need to know.

A serene Flo



Bioblittz in the garden

Sort of bio blitzed our garden today ie walked around with a camera and photographed as many insects as I could. Not got round to identifying them all yet but amazed by the variety and how beautiful even the tiniest little fly can be. A patch of nettles was fascinating, spiders, ladybirds and various flies were hunting smaller insects and some tiny little flies were semaphoring with their wings for mates and battling interlopers. On the windowsill of the house there was a large fly seemingly guarding a territory and chasing off (mating ?) with other flies.

Blow fly that was seeing off all comers

Wasp on cotoneaster

Wood boring beetle -Hylecoetus dermestoides

14-spot ladybird - how does it manage crawling over those spines

Orange-tip

Jumping spider

Snipe fly

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Growing up

Over the Bank holiday weekend Ebb and Flo's adult plumage has come through, it started just below their wings and then on their shoulders and chests. Then spend ages in the pond ducking underwater - lots of down is floating on the surface. On the bank they spend a lot of time preening and I think they eat the down too. Their undersides seem to have got fully feathered first which makes sense and I think Ebb might be a boy as dark blue feathers are showing through on his head.



Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Ducklings

Discovered how much ducklings like worms, they were fighting over them in the polytunnel. They also had a whale of a time in the pond, they are getting used to being herded into the carrier to be taken out, much harder to get them to go back in though.



Learning to quack

This morning we put the ducklings in the new pen round the pond - they were so happy dabbling in the mud, diving under water and having a general good clean, flicking water over their backs and waggling their stubby little wings and tails. I also put them in the polytunnel for a while where they happily searched for worms and slugs.  They are getting more used to us, they sit quietly on their bit of grass in the bathroom instead of running off - it does make you feel like you are being talked about though as they start contact calling as soon as we are out of sight. They also like to run up and down the long landing and into the office when we are working and come and sit near our feet. Just now one has been trying to quack, it was very subdued and sounded a bit damp and also made the other duckling look confused.




Monday, 18 May 2015

Ducklings

We now have two ducklings living in the bathroom and are busy building a pen for them to go out into. This doesn't seem to surprise anyone. On Wednesday evening I thought the drake seemed to be playing a little rough with the ducklings, when they dived in the pond he dived after and chased them. Then on Thursday evening I realised he was actually attempting to hold them under. He was also mating with their mum.  We were surprised as they had all seemed to be getting on for at least a week. On Friday morning the ducklings turned up on their own and we sat and watched for three hours with no sign of mum and drake, so we rounded them up and brought them in before cats, crows or buzzards noticed them. This sounds a lot easier than it was. They constantly cheep but luckily not overnight and come and sit in the office with us. We put pots of reeds in front of the carrier in an attempt to make them feel more secure as the were hiding in reeds from us when we caught them. The carrier now seems to be their place of safety they run to it if nervous and sleep in it overnight. The grass is there for them to eat along with the grain in the hopper and water in the dish to drink and sit in. We are not handling them unless necessary as hopefully they will be going back into the wild.