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Monday, 30 May 2016

In An English (Not Country) Garden -Up-date For July 2016!

Hmm. So Lola the would be Killer Bitch Queen cat has been getting closer and closer to me. Came up the path quickly today. Right by my knee as I talked to her. Food might have something to do with it. I've mentioned this isn't my cat, right? Let me take photos of her.

Below: Lola who is the fastest moving little cat I've ever seen. Last week I saw her with a juvenile rat she killed in the garden.  Look at her....

On the other side of things. I have ten species of tree in my garden. The Buddleja alternifoliua (lilac coloured flower cones) may need trimming back this year as no flowers yet.
Above: Buddleja globosa
Below: Bridal Wreath ( Spiraea fritschiana)

But I have Buddleja globosa all over the place and they are crammed with flowers -putting food in the bird feeders its a wave of honey scent. No wonder the bumble bees, honey bees and others are all over it.

Ornamental cherry tree (Prunus sargentii) flowers quick and is gone. Elder Trees we have three so they will flower and then...

LOTS of elder berries but as I don't drink....Oak of course.


Mock Orange I have a big one and four growing from cuttings and they are about 6 feet (2.1m) tall now.

Conifers, obviously.
 Above: Do you see it in the Bridal Wreath tree?
Below: A Marsh or Willow Tit (only one sure way of knowing but not a good enough photo) -call seems to say Willow Tit but there have been calls from both types.

Bridal Wreath (Spiraea fritschiana) still has all its lovely scented flowers the BIG tree is also same species (I think)but 3 times taller.

Laburnum tree which has yellow flowers earlier in the year.

Apple tree.
 Above....Herring gull. I have a lot of arguments with him.
Below: Albinistic jackdaw.

Below: When I first saw this bird in 2010 I never got a close look but something other than the squirrel was stealing the acorns...a Jay.  It has been back a few times this year on the feeder and "plucked" showing she has young!

Below: Wood pigeons

 Above: A wood pigeon egg and, below, a juvenile wood pigeon!
Below: Blue tits

There are various types of ivy (plain and variegated). Ferns. Rose bushes -one growing up through the oak.

Lots of wild flowers (wild flowers are what they call "Weeds" -as one gardener put it: "Weeds is flowers growing where you don't want them growing!"). All provide nectar.

LOTS of insects and I've even seen beetles return this year -hedgehogs do not live by dog and cat food alone (especially that randy little sod). Birds need insects. And ants....bigger colonies this year and, yes, they are herding the aphids.

I can now say that I have seen at least three common shrews (front garden and back).  So they are back here in some strength. There are also field mice and, as the now friendly but still semi wild Lola has shown, the occasional rat (building work nearby is disturbing them so they come into my garden!).

Slow worms -never had my camera on me.  Same thing for a Common lizard and I've seen these in the past so they are here.

The Vixen (Vulpes vulpes)
Above: the vixen who had cubs this year -one of two coming here and there is a younger adult male, too.
From last year and apologies for any naughty words!

Now, with so many people cutting down trees, ripping up hedges and gardens (the main road out front looks like a car showroom just tiled parking place after tiled parking place.

First photo of female hedgehog 2009

Below: Young Hedgehog out in April 2011 and really needed feeding!

Below: Sow and young 2011

Below:The hoglet is the little one in the middle. The curled up position is defensive -the spikes make sure dogs, etc., can't grab them. The sow was VERY aggressive and I'm guessing when I went to check things out the, uh, 'dead' one decided to pull out all the tricks! I should have known better but it fooled me! Mind could have been a zombie hedgehog! 2011

All below 2016. Male and at least two females known in this garden.

When I moved down to this area in 1995 it was classed as "a wildlife deprivation zone". 20+ species of wild bird come into my garden during the year, badger, foxes, hedgehogs.
Let us not forget the mystery of the odd calls.....(still going on in July!)

My wildlife file cards list a lot. Twenty-one species of bird for a start!

Above: I still have to identify the small lilac-pinkish coloured wild flowers but bees like them.

Below: female sparrow hawk with pigeon it killed by front lane.
 Below: The hawk took down and killed the pigeon about 100 yards away by the kitchen waste bin. To the fore you see the front gate where she took it to eat.
 Below: The fifth pigeon kill by this female sparrowhawk in two weeks -this by back window. Her markings were clear enough. The other female and male sparrowhawk returned to garden but this seemed the main killer.
 Below: this female sparrowhawk (white mark on neck) along with the male used to go into the bushes to flush out the smaller birds but NOT kill. It seemed them testing out their skills and "playing".  The female hawk that killed regularly had a large white patch further down her back so she was easily identifiable.

Other birds in my garden regularly, and I do not want to spend all day uploading photos!

Wood Pigeons
Collared Doves
Feral (dumped racing) pigeons
White Wagtails
Hedge sparrow (Dunnock)
House sparrows
Robin (year round)
Long Tailed Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Marsh Tit
Willow Tit
House Bunting
Yellow Hammer
Reed Bunting
Gold Finch
Bull Finch
Green Finch
Jackdaws (the above three birds are here all year round and have plenty of young (3rd lot jackdaws this year just coming in)

there are other, occasional birds but these are the main ones.

Below the female squirrel whose activities I've documented on Face Book!

Below: outside my window -two Mallow bushes (in pots) and in the middle a tiny willow. The rest is all wild flower and Nigella.
A few packets of flower seeds, a bush and a bird feeder -and a source of water like a bird bath or mini pond. That is all it takes. We can't keep on taking and not giving back.

I have noted, this year, an increase in the number of different beetle types -probably due to all the wet weather we've had.  Not seen this many for years. 

What makes me sad is that I have spent 1994 -2016 spreading wild flower seeds around the area, treated manged foxes, taken in injured and sick birds -including feral pigeons,planted to encourage wild life and increased food for various birds (seen a rise in starling young each year and this year a huge number of Marsh tits) and am thinking of a new shallow pond. Twenty three years and I have to remember that from an area with not much wildlife I, and a couple aged compatriots who do their bit when they can, or could (one died recently) have seen it increase in leaps and bounds to what it is today. There is no protection for the property as it is City Council owned and if I get moved on or something happens to all goes.

But we do what we can while we are here and I urge everyone to do the same!

Below: Nigella

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