Monday, 20 April 2015

April Colours.

I've had another busy and varied week; continuing with the internal redecorating projects mixed with a couple of early dawn morning walks to check what migrants may have returned locally; so a few images stored for future posts. I have also been enjoying the changing colours in my small garden helped by the increased daily sunshine and warmer temperatures until a chilly ENE wind picked up over the weekend.

The Narcissus have put on a good show but are now beginning to drop their colourful blooms.

I am not a particular fan of the very tall large trumpet varieties so my small garden plays host to a few of the smaller 'Triandrus' and 'Cyclamineus' forms including Reggae, Thalia and Jetfire. Over the weekend I was delighted to see that the wild N. bulbocodium had opened its tiny trumpet (sorry no pics yet).
The feeders continue to attract the colorful Goldfinch.

Plenty of blue showing everywhere with clumps of Muscari popping up all over the place. In the last few days I have also noticed at several woodland sites that our native Bluebells are starting to come into flower.



The only other blue in the garden recently was a visit from a female Holly Blue.

I carried out the first of my weekly butterfly recording transect walks on Ashtead Common on Sunday but only logged one Peacock and one Speckled Wood. Although there was plenty of sunshine the gusty ENE wind obviously kept the temperature lower than the flutters prefer.


Since taking these images early last week the Erythronium 'Pagoda' in a side border has produced its distinctive flowers and now I'll have to wait another year for them to show again.

Inspection of two of the four nest boxes revealed that nests have been built but I think the prospective tenants, Blue Tits (usual box on the rear of the shed) and probably a Dunnock (in an open box), have been frightened away by regular visit from a local cat!
A single male Dunnock is still around, regularly singing, but I haven't seen evidence of any prospective partnerships whereas on my regular local patch walks I have seen numerous pairs of Dunnock displaying courtship behaviour. 
 

Some of the other colours around the garden include the fragrant Skimmia 'Rubella', Chaenomeles (flowering quince), an alpine Campanula, the Cowslips (Primula veris) while the Robin (below) continues to add a dash of red to the colour palette on a daily basis.

At best the temperature might reach 16 deg C tomorrow but still with a chilly easterly breeze and then a change in wind direction so more unsettled weather is forecast into next weekend with the chance of rain.FAB.

Linking to Nature Notes

Friday, 17 April 2015

Friday Flutters.

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
With the warmer temperatures the butterflies are beginning to show themselves during my regular wildlife wanderings so I thought it was time to resurrect 'Friday Flutters' to highlight what species I have been seeing.

During a patch walk at Epsom Common on 27th March I encountered at least 5 Brimstone on the wing throughout the open woodland. Unfortunately they weren't very cooperative when it came to getting any clear shots.



Just over a week ago at Tices Meadows I saw my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year but was unable to get any shots.

Typically the easily recognised Peacock has been on the wing locally since at least late February having awoken from hibernation. As you can see this individual is already well frayed around the edges!
Peacock (Inachis io)

Two weeks ago a Holly Blue dashed past me at Epsom Common Stew Pond and yesterday one was flying around the garden. Today, possibly the same female with its heavy black wing tips, was spotted by Anita in the garden resting on a rose leaf so I couldn't pass up the opportunity of a few shots and more images will be posted on FABirding.

Holly Blue [female] (Celastrina argiolus)


During an early morning patch walk today I came across at least 15 Bee Flies with their very distinctive hairy body and long proboscis resting at the edge of a dry path.
Bee Fly (Bombylius major)

And my other first sighting was a Specked Wood resting on the leaf litter in the woodland.

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)
Linking to Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Dawn at Bookham Common.

My day started early on Wednesday morning with my alarm clock ringing at 4.30 a.m. which enabled me to drive and arrive at Bookham Common well before sunrise to listen to the Dawn Chorus.

With a thin slice of the moon suspended just above the dark silhouette of the woodland boundary I was greeted by a cacophony of sounds. Whilst difficult to unravel all the component parts of this orchestral delight the main voices were typically the Blackbirds, Song and Mistle Thrushes, Dunnocks, Wrens and Robins. At this early hour my sound receptors failed to pick out a returning migrant Nightingale so I strode purposefully to the far side of the common. 


With the sun just beginning the shine through the tree tops a thin blanket of mist hovering at ground level obscured part of my view over the field at Banks Common and enabled two Roe Deer to quickly hide from the lens. Behind me a hidden Blackcap sang out and a Common Buzzard called from a nearby wood.


With the lightening sky the bird song diminished drastically so before retracing my steps I took a few shots of the boundary fences. Linking to Good Fences hosted by Theresa.

A male Pheasant stands guard over his partner hidden in the grass in one of the many horse paddocks erected around Chasemore Farm.

After crossing one of the many bridges that span the various streams I finally heard the briefest of songs of a Nightingale while photographing a very obliging Dunnock in full voice. 


I was also pleased to find three Willow Warblers and captured a few images of other songsters which I'll share in a forthcoming post. FAB.

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