Bee inspection today
lots of store
but no brood.
We are worried we might be Queen-less.
Slightly cheered up by the sight of a new species (for us) of dragonfly
The Darter we have is characterised by resting on a photogenic twig but this Southern Hawker does not keep still so we just get a blur of green and blue
Today we had the first real rain since May – a ten minute heavy shower. It did not make much difference to the rock-hard ground but it did show such things are possible although the forecast indicates we will have to wait three days for a repeat performance.
When the temperature dropped a little a couple of days ago it was like returning home from another country – one where the light was too bright to see properly and the temperature too hot to think properly.
The fields around are parched and bare
accentuated by the stripping of grass for silage
Bringing in the Red Kites
The broody hen has moved her clutch outside to cool off
Fortunately we have been developing a tropical house
but things have felt quite exotic outside as well
Our guest has been eating well
and so have we
with spare to save
There seem to be a lot of wasp nests around – in the potting shed:
in the woodshed:
which they have to share
and in the hedge:
The rabbits are moving closer
on the lookout for a weak link
We seem to have had an increase in the number of Siskins knocking themselves out on windows
Sometimes they don’t survive, sometimes after a spell in the recovery box
they can fly away
We have mentioned the swallow brood from time to time but now that they are (almost) done it seems time for a résumé.
Like all migrants this year, the Swallows seemed to arrive late and, from local reports, in smaller numbers than in recent years.
Sometimes we have had two pairs, for the last couple of years just one. The suitable nesting sites round here are spaced out by hundreds of metres. Do the same ones come to us… or their offspring?
When the Flycatchers arrive they seem to start building a nest the same day but the swallows spend weeks fussing around before they get down to business.
When they did, they ignored the specially designed swallow nesting cup we have had in place in the woodshed and chose a place in the rafters near by.
In due course the brood hatched
and in time we could see there were five youngsters
Eventually they made the big journey from the nest – to a beam a few inches away
Then came the Big Day when they had to fly all the way outside
to the Duck run
the ducks were non-plussed
There is always one that is reluctant to leave
for good reason because where there were five, this evening there are four
temporarily back in the safety of the woodshed while they listen to bedtime stories about somewhere called Africa
Each day we are faced with what to do with the crop
Today, at the suggestion of Radio 4, we puree
Helpfully, the programme emphasised good labelling to avoid blood bank confusion.
These strawberries are not in a tunnel but many things are
It does produce a lucious environment
There are predators in the tunnels but most things emerge unscathed
Elsewhere today the fledged swallows take rests back in the safety of the shed
First pickings of Broad Beans
and of Blackcurrants
and French Beans
When we were listing our butterflies the other day we forgot we had seen a couple of female Orange Tips finding their way to our one and only Jack-by-the-Hedge plant. That plant has subsequently been moved to stop it ending up in a netted area and today it sported a solitary Orange Tip caterpillar
In other breeding news, the swallow brood is poised to fledge
and the juvenile Woodpeckers continue to bumble around – this one slightly askance at having to share its drink with a lowly Sparrow
It is a time consuming task to supply water to all who need it in this heat
Other sights today
and, of course, the predictable sunset