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.
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).
The grass round the pool edge has become a favourite hunting ground for an adult pair.
They are feeding young and collect as many flies and bugs at a time as their beaks will allow.
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:
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.
First, the damselflies arrived, mating in that classic heart-shaped position:
They came in their reds and blues:
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.
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.
… 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: