Saturday, 1 April 2017

Moving house

It's been a while since my last post because we've been busy moving house. We've only moved around the corner, but still had to clear out 12 years worth of clutter from our old house and pack up everything. It seemed to take forever and wasn't helped by the fact that I kept getting distracted by exciting discoveries in the house and garden ...

We found three false widow spiders lurking behind different bits of furniture. They have the same distinctive body shape as their relative the black widow spider, but don't have the red hour glass shape on their abdomen. We lived in Atlanta for several years and found a black widow in our garage. You certainly wouldn't want to get bitten by one of those ... whereas these could only give you a bite similar to a wasp sting. Bug Mad Girl wanted to keep one as a pet, but I put my foot down (not on the spiders!) and let them go at the end of the garden.



As I was packing up each room, I spotted some great birds out of the window. Most surprising of all was a huge green woodpecker that bounced around on the lawn. It was a real treat to see one so close.



I also saw greenfinches on the bird table and a beautiful thrush in a tree in the garden. Both were quite unusual visitors to our garden.

Greenfinch

Thrush
We said goodbye to our cheeky sparrow family, Whistlejacket the red kite and the wonderful long-tailed tits that fed from the window feeder every day and headed off to our new house. We were very tempted to leave a trail of bird food, hoping all our lovely birds would follow and just hoped the new garden would be as exciting as the old one ...

Long-tailed tits feeding at the kitchen window
The new garden has turned out to be a real delight and full of surprises. We arrived to a front garden full of snowdrops and crocuses, which were quickly followed by a huge blossom tree flowering, leaving confetti all over my car every day. The lawn at the end of the back garden was full of crocuses and primroses, so we'll leave it as a wild garden. It looked beautiful today in the sunshine and was full of bees and flies.

Primroses flowering in the lawn

There were lots of ashy mining bees flying around the primroses and crawling
down into the grass (presumably to nest)

I spotted my first bee fly of the year today - such strange looking flies with
their long proboscis
We haven't been disappointed by the birds we have visiting the garden either. We have a large old apple tree by the patio and the birds seem to love the protection it offers them. My favourites are the goldfinches that visit the nyger seed feeder several times a day. They're such delicate little things, all dressed up in their smart jackets.



We also have blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits, blackbirds, dunnocks and several chaffinches that always seem to be around. A pair of robins keep them all in check and have been feeding each other (part of their courtship routine). I also spotted a tiny goldcrest hopping through the branches of the apple tree and I've seen a male blackcap. There are always lots of red kites around and a pair are nesting in a tall tree at the edge of the field behind the house.

A chaffinch in the apple tree
 
A fluffy long-tailed tit

The robins rule the roost
We put the window feeder up on the kitchen window again, but the long-tailed tits don't seem brave enough to use it yet. The chaffinches love it though and don't seem to care at all if we're in the kitchen.
Chaffinch

Sitting on the kitchen window ledge

We've had a couple of more unusual visitors too, including a jay on a couple of different mornings and a male pheasant that wandered around the patio.


We're all looking forward to seeing what other treasures we find over the coming months.

The kids have broken up for Easter now, so we're off on a bit of an adventure ... more of that to follow though!

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