July 15, 2018

Summer silence again

Sat in the garden trying to cool off,  the sky was silent and I started to lament the leaving of the birds, then I was woken by a sudden  cacophony of sound as the goldfinches, house martins and swifts all erupted together with the blackbird - going through his repertoire of car alarms,   across the sky in waves of sound.  Then as quick as it arrived they were gone.  At least there is comfort in knowing they are still around for a few more days yet.


It was as if they had gathered for a royal fly past just for my benefit before they left.  My heart bursts with joy when these unbidden gifts are sent.  A couple of days later and all went silent.  There were so few swifts this year will anyone notice them go?

Without any rain for over 10 weeks the insects are having a field day.  Between horseflies and now mosquitoes that can get through clothing, countryside walks are hazardous especially under trees.  The birds cannot be short of food.  


Green veined white

Despite the very late spring some butterflies and bee species are well up in numbers compared to 2017.  You need to be careful in predicting trends from a single year as species seem to have a natural cyclical fluctuation.  A buddlia bush checked that had  little butterfly presence last year was overflowing with a large variety  this year including : Green veined white, Large white, Peacock, Ringlet, Copper, Brimstone, Meadow Brown and Skipper.

 ITS RAINED.......all afternoon at last. Not enough to undo all the harm but enough to show the world still works even if erratically at times.  Hopefully we have a few days of this.

This evening all the slugs and snails all came out for an outing in the garden for the first time in weeks.

For many of the juvenile birds it will be their first experience of rain.  It would be interesting to know what they thing.

June 27, 2018

Small things matter

Humanity perpetually lives under the grand delusion that they are above and seperate from the rest of creation.  We all came from the dust of stars so instead of constant journeying, yearning and seeking it is time we made friends with acceptance and  find ourselves where we are and engage with who we share this planet with.

Chris Packham has started a national debate about how we are now in an apocolypse of biodiversity. Having just taken part in a disastrous Bioblitz at a local  gardens it is evident that there is too much vocal public relations  but very very little physical committement to making the necessary changes to make up for all the damage caused over the past years.  Why after 10 years of warning,  is the environment and biodiversity getting  worse and not better.   Will this  blog and its photos  become a memory of what once was?

After several weeks of silence the Robin is singing a beautiful solo song of consciousness this evening, strangely very autumnal in tone. Regularly two Robins set up a clicking contest that can go on for nearly 20 mins at a time.  Who knows what this may be about as all nesting is over and territories nolonger need strong defensives. Male and female robins both sing so maybe this is just an exchange of conversation.   Also each evening the garden has been a quiet centre for eating, bathing, singing, with robins, blackbirds, woodpigeons and goldfinches and appreciation on my part.  

The local collective  of juvenile jackdaws have started their lessons in the finer points of emptying the gutters around the house.  This must be particularly satisfying in very dry weather in the hunt for insects and spiders going by the amount of dried out moss etc that needs brushing up every morning.

Influenced immensely by the work of  Rob and Harriet Fraser of  'Somewhere, Nowhere' whose wonderful work in the Lake District inspired me to take on the woodland project 18 months ago.   From recording, surveying and photographing it has now entered a more creative reflective phase requiring a different pace of engagement to hopefully produce artwork,  prose and maybe even a smattering of poetry.

June 11, 2018


We waited so so long for the spring to arrive and after a blast of blossom it has quickly flurried  into summer.   What a short energetic month May has been.  The trees are starting to cast their seeds and relax  down  into conserving energy towards the autumn.    Desperately wishing for rain for the garden, the cold early spring is  a faint if not unreal distant memory.   It is nearly always very hot and dry in the summer after an extreme late winter. So much so  it constantly amazes how inaccurate the BBC weather predictions are.  Paraphrasing Eric Morcambe they get the right weather but not necessarily at the right time.

Moorhen chick with Mallard

Blackheaded Gull chicks

Great as the programme  Springwatch is, I can no longer watch because of the relentless
litany   of species decline.  What a depressing time it is  to be a nature lover.  As I  cannot cope with whole instead  I have decided to hunker down and concentrate on the joys of my own patch and do the best I can to support those that live in it.


This evening I was fortunate to witness a local gathering of familial jackdaws.  Each announcing its individual name signature call as it joined the group.  Jackdaws are extremely social and have a large vocabulary of calls rather than songs which they exchange with other members of the social group.  There is a noticeable  leader that directs the group and calls them together when it is time to move on and do they come, from all  point's of the compass.  The group follow the leader to a new location,  then again  disperse until time to move on again. When it is time to move they are called back together and this is what I witnessed tonight prior to their moving on to their roost.

Tonight the gathering was swelled with  young jackdaws  that have just fledged. From a small family group the number must now be 40+ at least,  wheeling and dancing together in the evening sky.


Blackbirds and Thrushes are now well into their second broods.  Our bluetits after a very slow start are now fledged and have all left safely.  Bluetits very rarely have second broods.  I did a quick check of the nest box for old eggs and bodies etc but all was clean and tidy as is usual.

Cinnabar Moth
I have  been  engaged in a comprehensive Bioblitz at Ness Gardens this  June.  This is a dedicated day for surveyors to see how many species can be discovered in one place on one day.  It will be very interesting to make comparisons against the previous one in 2014.  Visually as a team with our different specialisms we can see a decline in everything over the past intervening  years.

Ending on a more positive note it  has been many many years since my childhood and remembering going to bed early on a summers evening to the sound of a blackbird and thrush singing together,  respectfully taking turns.  For the last 10+ years there has been a total absence of song thrushes completely, but for some unknown but wonderful reason song thrushes are singing everywhere this year, in some places 3 or 4 in the same area.

Both bluetit parents and juveniles have been back to the garden for a visit..........