Saturday, 28 May 2016

Spring Creeping Unwillingly into the Garden

It's a while since I've written here. This is because I've been travelling up and down to Birmingham for work.  Coincidently, I found myself in the same area that Edith Holden, who wrote the Diary of an Edwardian Country lady in 1906. I've been making my own notes in The Birmingham Country Diary of a 21st Century Lady.

The early part of the year was unseasonably warm and all the plants and animals seemed to be racing into spring. Then the temperature dropped and the brakes went on. On the 26th of April, it snowed. Finally, in May the sun came out again. It seems that spring is creeping unwillingly into the garden.

Green-veined white, 8th May.
Butterflies have started appearing - speckled wood, holly blues, green-veined and small whites.

Fallow deer, 17th May.
Our visiting fallow deer buck, visited on May the 9th. Since his previous visit on April the 12th, he had lost his antlers. On May 17th, when he visited us to give our flowers their 'Chelsea chop', he stayed in the garden for most of the morning. 

From mid-April, I have been enjoying using my Christmas present, a bat detector to find the common pipistrelle bats that regularly fly through our garden.

Tawny mining bee - 10th April
The garden has seem strangely silent without the buzz of bees. Hairy-footed flower bees have been visiting regularly and we had a little glut of brightly coloured tawny mining bees but it's only in the last few days that I have started seeing honey and bumble bees.

Hover fly (Syritta pipiens) - 27th May
Blue tits have nested in our box again. I was amused to see one of the adults bringing long strands of grass to the box, making the little bird look like it had an enormous moustache. Just a few days ago, I could hear the faint cheeping of the tiny birds only by standing under the box. Now I can hear them loud and clear from the bottom of the garden.

30 days wild - 2015
I am just about to start the Wildlife Trusts' 30 days wild, a challenge in which people do something wild every day for a month. Last year's 30 days wild motivated me to find new places to explore such as Chailey Common in Sussex and Elmsdon Park near one of the hotels we use in Birmingham. More to the point, it got me into the habit of being more opportunistic about engineering encounters with the wildlife that tucks itself into the spaces around us. My most memorable encounters were watching grey wagtails and house martins raise their families. They weren't in a nature reserve or even the countryside but in sight of Uckfield station and under the eves of a Birmingham hotel respectively.


  1. Lovely photos, spring's been late arriving here too!

    1. Thank you. I thought it had finally made it but - nope - it's gone away again.