So rain, rain and more rain. The rivers are bursting their banks and flowing over the roads round here. Routes out of the village to the south are getting a bit risky. The footpaths, in places, are Somme-like and require well-fitted wellies or they are otherwise likely to come off (it has happened!). Yes, we definitely need stilts … which neatly brings me to our first March visitor who comes ready equipped with his own pair.
I was working in the vegetable plot when this chap flew over head. No big deal, until he circled back and landed on our neighbour’s roof.
He sidled over to the apex …
to take a good look at the buffet options. This is likely what he could see … yes, shiny bright goldfish swimming about our pond. (There are a couple of pipes in there to provide shelter. We do still lose fish to herons, but not terribly often.)
Unfortunately for him, as I edged round the greenhouse to get a picture, I disturbed him and he was off, looking for a quieter fishing spot. In fact, although I scared him, Grey Herons are pretty big birds, with a wingspan of roughly 6 foot, so he was probably bigger than me. He was not put off by a rather elegant ornamental bronze heron, that my sister gave me, posed next to the pond and funnily enough, I have just read that decoy herons are more likely to lure herons than frighten them away.
In spite of the waves of dreadful weather besetting March, wildlife has been getting on with spring activities and procreation. Ladybirds are starting on the next generation of aphid killers. Hurray!
The rosemary beetles are sadly multiplying too. Grrr!
Birds are building nests and chasing each other around. The local blackbirds have been particularly aggressive with each other. At the bottom of the garden the pheasants have been strutting their stuff. That means that I will have to be careful as I weed etc., since their nests can turn up all over the place. A couple of years ago I accidentally came across one in between the runner bean posts. I left it alone, but sadly I’d done enough that it was abandoned.
Pheasant shooting is prevalent around here and many of the small woods are maintained to provide cover for the birds and are kitted with raised metal drums to hold seed for them.
Another woodland bird that I am seeing about more is the nuthatch (although the picture below was taken at Wimpole Estate where these long, grain feeders are seemingly always busy with the birds).
Now that there are spring flowers opening and days when temperature reaches double digits, there is a steady showing of bumblebees in the garden.
Below is a red-tailed bumblebee on a species tulip, Tulipa turkestanica:
Queens and workers (smaller) are black with red tails, whereas the males have yellow facial hair and bands at the front and rear of the thorax.
The most commonly seen bumblebee about in March here is the buff-tailed bumblebee. The queens are huge and are, in fact, the only caste to actually have a truly buff-tail. Males tails are fairly white with a yellowy/buff ring at the front and workers are nearly identical to white-tailed bumblebees.
They are a favourite of mine.
It is lovely to see so many bees about again. Once the crocuses open, they are happily about all the time in the garden. I couldn’t resist including this picture. It almost looks like the bee is squirming over the anthers in delight.
Rabbits are becoming a huge nuisance in the garden. They are burrowing into the ditch along the bottom boundary and the hill we’ve made from project spoils. This is a photo of one very close to the patio. It is becoming a daily chore to fill in their massive excavations in the lawn. (Not sure how to deal with them yet.)
Also, did I mention that there is a lot of mud round here?
Are you spotting a lot more visitors now that spring has officially started?
I am once again linking up with Tina at mygardenersays to report the wildlife that visited our garden during the last month. Why don’t you click through to see what is stopping off in her Texas-native, wildlife-friendly garden (spoiler: that cute lizard is back).