Friday, 17 July 2015

Back garden pollinators

With school finishing next week it seems to be such a busy time of the year (there are just so many school events crammed into the last few weeks!) Nevertheless, as it's pollinator awareness week, we've been keeping an eye on the back garden and watching what all our little pollinators are up to...

A wasp's made a nest in the roof of the shed. What an architectural marvel! It's made from chewed up wood - you can often see the queen wasps in spring stripping the wood from the outsides of sheds and fence panels. No sign of any wasps in our nest, but we've left it alone for now, then we'll get it down later in the year and have a good look at it.

The orange tip caterpillars that were eating the night scented stock seed pods have all disappeared now (hopefully to pupate and not to be fed to some baby sparrows!) They've been the result of a long term project - we collected the seed from some plants in the garden, grew the plants and tended them over the last two years, enjoyed their flowers, watched the orange tip butterfly laying eggs on the flower buds a few weeks ago and then kept an eye on the caterpillars as they grew.
A very rewarding project!

The lily beetles have appeared. I've been waiting for them - some years they eat all the plants before they even have a chance to flower. This year we've had some flowers and these are the first beetles I've seen. They look like such bruisers!

The garden has been full of butterflies recently, especially now the buddleia is flowering. The big butterfly count started today, but we'll wait and do our count in the summer holidays. I saw small tortoiseshells, small whites, large whites, meadow browns, gatekeepers, small skippers and ringlets in the garden this morning.

We've also had lots of different bees and hoverflies in the garden, especially on the lavender bush. It's pollinator awareness week and some great blog posts by Ryan Clark, especially this one introducing different groups of British bees, have made me want to try and learn more about the different bees we see in the garden. Sounds like a good project for Bug Mad Girl and me to take on over the summer holidays!

I would call that a red-tailed bumble bee - but only because it has a red bottom!
We've put the moth trap out a couple of times recently and caught another elephant hawk moth earlier in the week. They really are one of my favourite moths. This time when I let it go, I guarded it from the naughty sparrows (who ate the last one I released!)

The moth trap was out last night, but heavy rain and lightening meant I had to run out in the middle of the night and bring it in! The forecast looks better for tonight (but a bit colder and windier than last night) so we'll put the trap out again and hopefully I won't be running out in the dark again to rescue it.

Finally, not a pollinator but quite funny, the dog has decided that if Bug Mad Girl can climb a tree, then so can she!

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