Wildlife in June – Flying High

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One of now five buzzards that circle the skies above Haslingfield

One of the main features of the wildlife seen around the garden during June was that it was largely airborne: New generations of birds, bees, beetles, butterflies and dragonflies were on the wing, flying high and purposefully from tree to tree and flower to flower etc. There were so many things flying around at head height that working in the garden was an exercise in keeping mouths closed and eyes ready to shut. To top it all, I’ve even had to stop using my favourite honey-rich shampoo, because it seemed to be a potent bee attractor. I spent an uncomfortable morning in the borders being mobbed (and stung once) by honey bees before I learnt that lesson.

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Small tortoiseshell butterfly on Centranthus ruber

In this heatwave our new wildlife pond has rapidly come into its own, attracting visitors that we wouldn’t have guessed a short while ago. For instance, we have started to see pied wagtails in the garden daily (a first spot).

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The grass round the pool edge has become a favourite hunting ground for an adult pair.

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They are feeding young and collect as many flies and bugs at a time as their beaks will allow.

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It looks like I should be doubly pleased to see them, as they appear to be snapping up a good number of craneflies and gnats.

Another interesting thing is that we are seeing a lot of butterflies gathering at edge of pond. Here are some small whites enjoying the damp soil where grass seed has been sown:

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I’ve also seen skippers and blues doing the same. Apparently this behaviour is called mud-puddling and may be more to do with taking up salts and amino acids rather than just moisture.

It took about four weeks from filling before we saw our first damselflies/dragonflies around the new pond, in spite of there already being plenty visiting the 1mx1m pool on the patio. They appeared as I put in the first marginals, so I guess that the plants provide the necessary perch points and also act as hotspots for the swarms of flies, pond skaters etc. that they eat. I think that these butterfly wings, floating on the surface, are an evidence of successful hunts.

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First, the damselflies arrived, mating in that classic heart-shaped position:

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Mating large red damselflies

They came in their reds and blues:

and greens:

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I think that this is a Beautiful Demoiselle, Male

This shot shows blue pairs laying their eggs in the background, but was taken because I’d never seen a water boatman out of water before. Yes, their legs stick out all of the time it seems! He looks folded like an origami model.

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Then, the big guys arrived and I have to say that when they are patrolling the waters I find it hard to get myself to do anything other than watch them.

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Female Emperor dragonfly

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With ovipositor primed!

and

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A Four-spotted Chaser

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Skimming the surface to lay eggs

… Hundreds of photos later and hours wasted, but aren’t they addictive?

This post links up with Tina’s Wildlife Wednesday meme, albeit a day late. Check out her post to see some of the red, white and blue birds visiting her patch. Other wildlife spotters will be linking through the comments section, so do take a look at those too.

I leave you with a photo of the fun and games at the pool by the rocks amongst the youngsters bathing there last week:

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About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
This entry was posted in birds, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Wildlife in June – Flying High

  1. Tina says:

    I’d say your pond is a big hit!! Isn’t it amazing, the life which forms and evolves when water is in the mix? Love your pied wagtails; even if they weren’t so cute, they have a great name. 🙂 I couldn’t help but chuckle as you lament your honey shampoo; those bees, they do like their sweets! I really appreciate your damsel and dragon photos–you’ve inspired me to stop being so lazy and spend more time photographing my own. Great post!

    • Thanks Tina. I am thoroughly enjoying having the pond take centre stage in this drought! I tend to take photographs when I am being lazy and don’t want to dig/clip/water anymore!!

  2. What a lot of wildlife a pond supports! Great puddling butterflies !

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    It is amazing how much wildlife water attracts. It is a great asset to your garden. I wouldn’t say your dragonfly watching is a waste of time. It is probably a very healthy pastime for body and soul!

    • Oh, I agree, except that it is sometimes too easy to become obsessive about getting a better picture. I do think that a water source adds proportionally much more to a garden than almost anything else you can do to it.

  4. Amazing and informative post, with such great photos! Thank goodness some gardeners are providing water sources for wildlife, especially in these times of climate change. Your hours are definitely not wasted!

  5. shoreacres says:

    I learned just last year about the “mud-puddling” that butterflies do, and from what I read, it is for salts and minerals as well as water. Your dragonfly and damselfly photos are so nice. I’ve spent enough time trying to get photos of those creatures to know how hard it is — and sometimes how lucky we have to be. I did learn one useful trick, which you surely know: that dragons and damsels both often will return to the same spot once they’ve flown off. I’ve found that if I don’t chase them, but simply stay put and wait, they will come back — often to the very same stem on which they were perching!

    • That’s a good observation! I love the fact that digital cameras make my insect photography possible, ‘cos the odds of me taking a decent photo straight off are v. low!

  6. Sue says:

    A great collection of lovely photos. How wonderful to watch the pied wagtails, what an interesting looking bird. Your dragonfly photos are awesome too! Well, after seeing this post, I am definitely going to put in a pond in my new home!

  7. Brian Skeys says:

    Your pond appears to have been much appreciated by the local wildlife providing you with some great photo opportunities.

  8. spugwash says:

    Great read, cracking pond.

  9. noblepen says:

    Nicely composed! Check out my article on survival tips in the wildlife! Unplugged Creations https://unpluggedcreations.com/survive-in-the-wild/

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