August’s wildlife report is a bit of a list of missed photo opportunities, starting with a young badger that seems to visit about midnight. I know that there is one about, because there have been a couple of encounters between Sadie and the badger when I’ve let her out at night. The first time Sadie cornered something behind a large planter that stands by the back door. Arrested by a fair amount of hissing and noise, Sadie backed away to reveal a small black and white striped, pointy nose. The badger rounded the pot, heading in my direction, but then scarpered when it saw me. The next thing to be spotted, but not photographed, was a fox that was curled up asleep at the base of the Victoria plum tree one morning. And finally, last weekend I disturbed a grass snake basking in the sunshine on top of the compost heap. I couldn’t put the scraps down fast enough to reach for my phone in time for a shot. Ah well, you will just have to trust me on those.
What has entertained us over the same period has been an abundance pond life. For instance, there has been a new batch of emerging dragonflies in August. It’s been the turn of the Ruddy Darters. They have been shedding their last nymph skins, leaving them attached to the upright marginal plants and mating around the pond edge in their scores. I’ve not managed to photograph them clearly as they dip together to the pond surface, but since there are plenty of individuals buzzing around the garden, making use of various posts and canes, there are other shots to take:
Then there are more frogs around this year, in spite of a lack of frogspawn in the pools. This one (below) now seems to be living in the greenhouse and scares the life out of me when it jumps as I water in there.
You may recall that we lost a large number of fish (mostly the bright goldfish) at the end of last year to heron predation. We’ve been debating whether to replace them or just stick with the surviving Rudd. Well, it seems that nature has provided a new population no matter what we decide, because the pool is full of hundreds of baby fish. I think these are mostly Rudd, but there are definitely at least half a dozen new goldfish in there too. Currently they range from 1cm to 3cm in length, but they are visibly growing daily:
With August’s temperatures hitting new highs the importance of providing water for wildlife was brought home by the increased usage of all the ponds and bird baths. In fact I’ve filled a couple of shallow plant saucers to provide extra options for drinks and baths at ground level. This one was placed on the path running out through our pebble garden and, as you can see, it was almost immediately put to use by some greenfinches:
A pair of Blackcaps have re-appeared recently and seem to move around with the tit flock.
Elsewhere, in the vegetable garden and flower beds the pollinators are continuing with their essential roles. I’ve let a patch of carrots go to flower and have enjoyed watching an amazing number of flies and wasps visit the umbellifers. I noticed this (below) incredibly colourful insect on them one day. I thought perhaps it was a sweat bee of some kind, but have since had it IDed as a ruby-tailed wasp. It was so tiny (~1cm) and shiny!
My final spot is an orange moth that was attracted into the house the other evening. It is a Centre-barred sallow moth. I retrieved it, photographed it and put it outside. This isn’t the best shot for an ID I know, but I think that cute face looks like an anime creature come to life. Don’t you?
I am linking up with Tina@mygardenersays for her monthly Wildlife Wednesday meme.