Sunday, 5 June 2011


It's turned noisy in the garden now. The air is filled with a shrill insistent demanding whine, as recently-fledged Blue, Great and Coal Tits work a determined line along the trees and through the veg. The potatoes seem to be particularly favoured at the moment, which leads me to suppose that there is some sort of insect food to be had there - perhaps the aphids have found the potatoes themselves and are now being snacked on by the growing birds.

Moving out to the edge of the moors, and the situation is similar, though the number of birds out in the scrub is greater still. The addition of broods of Marsh, Long-tailed and Willow Tits, and the first fledgling Chiffchaffs, as well as a smattering of Robins makes the willow scrub echo with begging calls first thing in the morning. The grass has grown appreciably in the last month, and the first flowers of Creeping Soft-grass - Holcus mollis - are showing. Ragged-robin and Yellow Flag-iris raise patches of shocking pink and yellow flowers up above the green on occasion; the former is something of a magnet for Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterflies at the moment, creating an outrageous clash of vivid pink and orange which somehow seems to look perfect.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary amongst Ragged-robin. The butterfly is mid-way between meals, which is why it's not sharp.

Maturing Large Red Damsel. Everything's in the throes of growing up and/or breeding at present. It's a fabulous time of year.

The Pied Flycatchers are also fledging in the woods. One, or perhaps two, more visits and we'll be finished with them for the year - it's frightening how quickly the season goes in many respects. Nice to see that we've again had a good breeding season for them this year (so far!) and we can hope for a good number of returning birds next year, all things being equal.

Pied Flycatcher and young. The youngsters at this stage haven't yet got to their full feathered state, so look like a cross between gawky teenager and Sesame Street character.

Male House Sparrow framed amongst the remains of our old kitchen

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