Thursday, 30 June 2016

Day 30 #30DaysWild summing up

Well that is that - the end of our 30th Day, but not the end of wild days, long may they continue!

The day started with some sunshine and full of promise and it didn't disappoint with the arrival of our first Ringlet butterfly of the year in our garden, alas no camera to hand! we also had a warbler in our hedge, I am thinking it was a chiffchaff, although it could have been a willow warbler.
Then I found this 7-spot ladybird

 good news with a few aphids about, the ants seemed to be appreciating these black aphids.

and what about the lawn patches we left to grow wild 30 days ago?
Well this is what we have now....


At dinnertime a male sparrowhawk flew down onto our feeders, he was unsuccessful so he then just sat there for a minute or so, if I had known he would loiter I might have grabbed my camera, instead we all just sat there watching him!
...and just now we had a buzzard perch on one of the fence posts, with its prey on the other side of our track, just two or three metres from our garden too dark now for a photo, but we have plenty still happening and the promise of more still to come - I am very much looking forward to the butterflies and dragonflies still to visit us this year and all this borage busting into flower

A big Thank you to The Wildlife Trusts for coming up with the idea of 30 Days Wild, I did see a tweet earlier asking if anyone is up to 365 days wild - well yes I am although I won't be posting any of the next 335 days on here or numbering the days on instagram, but please do keep visiting my instagram account as I will still be sharing nature and wildlife pics on there, hopefully something new everyday.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Day29 - #30DaysWild - smelling the roses in the rain

I do so hope that the sun shines tomorrow and I can end this blog on a high note, but we have had non stop rain all morning here in Staffordshire and everything is just looking so damp and miserable, even the bees are in hiding!
So today I ventured out to smell the roses, a beautiful fragrance! We have a Rambling Rector rose in our garden, which provides shelter for the smaller garden birds and usually looks fabulous during June with speckled wood butterflies and bees enjoying the nectar, but there was very little activity around it today!
So today my wild act was to smell the roses in the rain, even if it is a garden flower it was planted for the wildlife to utilise as well as for us to enjoy!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Day28 #30DaysWild - Buzzard

Today didn't quite go according to plan, and as a result I had to spend the whole of the morning inside, I consoled myself with the thought that I would get out this afternoon, but alas as I walked back to my car the rain started and it just did not stop, so by 5pm I was starting to worry that today might be the day that I have nothing to post, then to my delight a buzzard decided to perch on our telegraph pole. We have several buzzards around and I often watch them soar over our garden but as far as I am aware this is the first time a buzzard has actually landed in our garden, even if it was several feet up. The photo was taken through a very wet window with my phone If I had opened the door it would have flown off!

Monday, 27 June 2016

day 27 #30DaysWild - with birds in mind

This morning I popped over to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust at Wolseley Bridge for more sunflower hearts for our feeders. While I was there I went to look for the kingfishers, unfortunately they didn't make an appearance, but I did spot a beautiful demoiselle flutter up into one of the willows on the bank of the River Trent.

There were also a good number of ducks, geese and this family of Mute Swans.

While I was there I also visited the sensory garden, maybe one of my favourite areas at the centre, there always seems to be something new to look at, as was the case again today with several new herbs planted in the raised beds.
The living walkway looked fantastic today, maybe this could be a project idea for next year, not on quite the scale of this one though!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

day 26 #30DaysWild - A damp squib

I think it is safe to say that June has turned out to be something of a damp squib, definitely failing to meet several expectations. There have been a few better days including our Cumbria holiday and yesterdays family gathering, but one of the two biggest frustrations has been the weather, so much for 'flaming June'!!! Today didn't start off too bad, out in the garden doing some more tidying up for a couple of hours, then the rain started again, and after a couple of hours of constant rain the garden is very much looking like this,

There is very little in the garden you can do in the rain except maybe collect up a few of the slugs and snails that make an appearance and remove them to a different location,

saying that,  with all this the other side of the track, I do feel as though I am fighting a losing battle!!!

day 25 #30dayswild butterfly spot and rainbows

I spotted our first Meadow Brown butterflies in our garden yesterday morning before setting off to Gloucestershire for a family garden party.

We spent the afternoon and evening outside in a beautiful garden enjoying not only the company of family but also for a good half an hour a spectacular thunderstorm around 3pm while sat under gazebo, the squall was the first of many other showers or heavier periods of rain, during the rest of the afternoon and early evening so the gazebo was abandoned and most of us took shelter in the garage where the refreshments were. We did however also see some sunshine and as a consequence the obligatory rainbows

The day ended with fire pits and sparklers, several moths at this time were also flying around,  A fabulous finale to a brilliant day and one that will be talked about for a long time to come!

Friday, 24 June 2016

day 24 #30DaysWild in search of yellow

Today I looked for yellow to cheer up an otherwise bleak day, and happily found a hoverfly flying around our hypericum, despite the light drizzle! my #30DaysWild instagram phone photo today.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Day 23 #30daysWild - evening stroll

What with voting and manning Gallery at 12 again today, I didn't get a chance to enjoy outside life until after dinner today. Mr S and I enjoyed a summer evening stroll up our lane, and even at 8.30pm the honeysuckle in the hedgerow was still providing nectar to a few insects including bees and hoverflies.

then home for a cup of coffee before tonight's finale a glorious sunset

now we have to wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Day 22 #30DaysWild - garden pests or not?

Today on my tour around the garden I spotted these aphids all lined up on just one of my Scabious plant stems, the other stems were all clear today anyway, I will have to watch out for them again tomorrow,! I am just hoping a ladybird or two will find them now, but I haven't seen too many of those this month.

Also today I spotted this caterpillar munching away on a buddleia leaf, I didn't know what type of caterpillar it was, I have a butterfly caterpillar ID book, and it wasn't in there so I had decided it was a moth caterpillar, but as I am still struggling with several moth IDs there is no way I am up to looking at their caterpillar stage too, so I posted a photo of it on one of the UK butterfly and moth groups on facebook and had a reply within five minutes telling me it is a Mullein Moth, this is really good news as we have never had a Mullein moth in our garden trap  so a new garden species.
They feed on buddleias which isn't necessarily such good news, except the leaves I found this one on are actually on stems we cut off our buddleia a few weeks ago and we are using as pea sticks in our vegetable beds, a long way from our buddleia plant, we are also thinking of replacing our buddleia after it has flowered this summer so even if more are found on our buddleia this year it won't be too much of a problem!
Mullein moth caterpillar 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Day 21 #30daysWild - a continuation from last year

In 2015 I sowed some borage seeds for the first 30 Days Wild, we had masses of flowers throughout the latter part of the summer which in turn attracted a holly blue butterfly every day for weeks.
holly blue on our Borage 2015

Today Our first borage flower appeared on one of the dozens of plants that have come up from the seeds of last years plants.

I am now looking forward to more visits by holly blue butterflies and hopefully others over the next few weeks as more of the plants start flowering

Monday, 20 June 2016

Day 20 #30daysWild - taking time to look up!

I finally managed to find some time for a walk early evening today, after a busy day after our week off!
I only walked up our lane but I often find something to stop to look at and photograph and today was no exception.
I stopped at my favourite oak along the lane and looked up. it is a magnificent tree and today it featured as my 30 days Wild instagram photo.

There were of course a few birds and insects that caught my attention too including this Speckled Wood butterfly

and this Scorpion Fly

and this unknown so if anyone would like to provide an ID I would be very grateful

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Day 19 #30daysWild - a morning of moths

I woke up sneezing, and that continued throughout the day, so after helping with the moths this morning from our trapping overnight, I spent most of the rest of the day inside, apart from a little bit of gardening and making a little alteration to one of our bird feeders. Hopefully tomorrow after the rain the pollen will have calmed down again!
Here are some of our spectacular moths from this morning

hawk-moths - Eyed, Poplars and Elephants 

Eyed hawk-moth

Barred straw
Barred Straw

Saturday, 18 June 2016

day 18 - #30daysWild - shopping local with butterflies in mind

Yesterday - the Butterfly Conservation posted a link on facebook 'planting a pot for pollinators' which contained a list of their 10 most recommended nectar-rich plants for pots and although I have several plants in my garden I consider to be good for pollinators I didn't have any of the ten on their list, so today we went out looking for them in our local nursery.
We only found two of them Catmint and Lambs ear, we also found a Salvia nemorosa but a white one not Balkan Clary so we bought that instead as it had a bee on it I decided it would do for now and I will keep looking for the Balkan Clary along with the other seven I didn't find today. 
As soon as I returned home I planted up them - One in the garden, one in a pot and one in an old sink 

Salvia nemorosa


Lambs Ear

While I was in the process of planting up this Lambs Ear a Painted Lady butterfly was enjoying the Red Valerian in the adjacent sink.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Day 17 - 30 Days Wild - cloud watching

Today we arrived back home in Staffordshire having spent the last week in Cumbria, so we spent a fair amount of time in the car followed by unpacking and then shopping for the weekend, but we did have time to sit out for a while this afternoon enjoying a cup of tea and some cake ( yes we had some left over from our holiday!),  watching the buzzards soar and the kestrel hover over the common and the clouds, It was just nice to sit and watch!

I did though have a walk around our small garden too, so much had shot up, it looks as though I have some gardening to do over the next few days too.

oh and I found this large skipper sheltering in the comfrey

Thursday, 16 June 2016

day 16 - 30 Days Wild - 'Red'

For today's #30DaysWild I found these three stunning reds to photograph

6-spot burnet 

Robin's Pincushion

Wild Strawberry