Saturday, 29 May 2010

Halcyon Days At Barleycorn In The Month Of May

Taz, the Barn Cat

Hal Borland is quoted as saying 'April is a promise that May is bound to keep' and I couldn't agree more. After such a long winter, with five weeks of snow and freezing cold, we have had a relatively mild May with a mini-heatwave into the bargain.

Orange Tipped Butterfly

The sunny weather brought the return of the garden fairies...the butterflies. So swift is the Orange Tipped in flight, that it took me a whole day to capture one photograph, though I managed to take video snippets of the Large White.

Wasp on A Centaurea

From the beginning to the end of the month my camera has been set, more or less, at video mode. All manner of interesting insects, bees and butterflies with their diaphanous wings, appeared, as if by magic, as the days grew warmer.

A Carder Bee, Bombus Pascuorum, on a Centaurea

Anyone within earshot of the garden was serenaded from dawn to dusk by several male Blackbirds singing their madrigals and the hum of the all-important bees, as they gathered nectar and pollinated the plants. Joining the Spring dance, the trees gradually donned lush Spring coats, and some even covered themselves in vibrant blossom.

Female Blackbird With Grubs

So far this year we have four pairs of Blackbirds nesting around the garden, three pairs of Swallows in the eaves of the barn, many Sparrows nesting in the ivy growing up the outside of the barn and a pesky Heron helping himself, unfortunately, to the colony of frogs in the two ponds.

Crab Apple blossom

Apart from chasing him away when I see him, there's not much else I can do, as I love all wildlife and believe that each plays its part in the magical web of life. After all, the ponds could not support all the tadpoles growing into mature frogs.

Pagoda Lilies, Erythroniums

Though we have seen several Martins flying overhead, so far, none has taken possession of the old nests...and a pair of Sparrows have now moved into one. The Martins were also a week late in returning this year, which may account for the Sparrows grabbing the main chance.

The Barn

Since April 2009, I have been keeping a record of photographs and videos of a few Great Spotted Woodpeckers which come to the garden. The slightest sign of movement and they fly off. It is usually their drumming which alerts me to their presence.

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Male

These Woodpeckers are about the same size as Blackbirds. The male has a red nape, while the female does not. The juvenile has a red hood. They all have red rumps. They are aggressive towards other birds at the feeders and think nothing of using their beaks to see them off.

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Female

In the video of the Woodpeckers, aggressive females commandeer the feeders and swing between them to chase off the smaller birds. Their behaviour always reminds me of Rudyard Kipling's poem...Now this is the law of the jungle...

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Juvenile

Even the juveniles are strong enough to play King of the Castle at the feeders, and, if hungry enough, they will fly at the smaller birds to shoo them away. I am so grateful for a fleeting visit, for, often, all I catch is a glimpse of the flash of red on their rumps as they fly off to the nearby wood.

Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does Nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.
Leonardo da Vinci

Enjoy the videos...and turn up the volume at the end of the second one, Halcyon Days At Barleycorn In The Merry Month Of May, to hear the Spring lambs bleating. The first, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Apr09-May10, has Saint-Saens' Pianists for accompaniment.


Chandramouli S said...

It's definitely fun to watch Nature interacting... Wonderful photos and words! Thanks you for the beautiful post!

Sandy said...

That wqsp photo is great and enjoyed them all.. I bet you are so thrilled to have warmth after all that snow. Have fun outside!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Wildie, Taz is so sweet, as always. The macro of the wasp on the centaurea is AWEsome!!

Jeanne said...

Lovely and beautiful is all that you share
Love you
Love Jeanne♥

exoticpalm said...

Nice blog,really into nature things especially when it comes to plants..

Just started my blog about palm trees,with your expertise,why don't you give me few tips,of how to make my blog turn as fruitful as yours..

Nice,kip it up..
all the best

swallowtail said...

Yes, the wasp may be my favorite photo, too. Though, of course, each is a delight in its own way. Those woodpeckers are amazing. Your garden seems so magical! Especially the ponds, with their cycles. You're right, the heron must eat a few of those tadpoles and frogs, because your ponds cannot really support 500,000 frogs! Beautiful! I love landing here.

Oh, and I don't have my video set up yet, but one of these days! Your notes helped me understand much more ;-|

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Halcyon days indeed! Taz looks as though he is soaking up the warm sunshine. I love the furry little carder bee on the Centaurea. The Crab Apple is an amazing color such a deep pink. It's hard to believe it is June already. Barleycorn is teeming with life.

Cheryl said...

The days are passing so quickly.
June has brought warm weather to an already dry garden.....I do hope it rains soon.

Your garden looks beautiful. Lovely to see the birds on the feeders. Wonderful captures of the woodies....they are a delight.

Your pond is a wonderful feature. A 'proper' wildlife pond. I could sit on the edge and look into it's depths for hours, what a wonderful way to pass time......

Your gardens are a joy.......

Hope you and yours are well......

Juliet said...

I enjoyed seeing your insects and birds (and cat :-D)- I love the video of the swinging woodpeckers, though it's sad they feel they have to chase the other birds away from both feeeders.

We have blackbird and sparrow families at the moment too, though I don't know where the adults nested, just that the juveniles now seem to spend all their daytime in our garden.

linda may said...

I just knew you would have something to brighten my cold winter morning ere in Oz. Beautiful. I really like that quote from Leonardo too. Sums it all up.

Anonymous said...

Life has been so busy for me,
you asked if i were on Twitter,
no but facebook yes.

i need to get back to blogging.
thanks for visiting me again my friend.

i am going to be moving.
i'll still be here though.