"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Sunday, 5 June 2016

#30DaysWild - Wednesday, 1st June to Saturday, 4th June

Day 1

Today I bought another insect hotel from Morrisons - they really are good value for £3 and the boxes I already have are used by leaf cutter, mason and coeloxysis bees.

In the evening I walked round the garden looking for bees - too cold, cloudy and windy. All I saw were a couple of tiny Hoverflies and 2 Micro Moths

Day 2

We went back to a local churchyard to look for Spotted Flycatchers (and to try out my lens which has just returned from being repaired).

I've seen Spotted Flycatchers in previous years on gravestones behind the War Memorial but today there was still no sign of the species.

It was lovely though just to walk round such a good example of a living churchyard and look at the wild flowers - buttercups and cow parsley

It was great to see so many "untidy" corners so good for wildlife

and, as long as the grass isn't cut, I suspect it will be an excellent site for butterflies later in the summer.

This Holly Blue led me a merry dance and this was the best photo I could manage. I always struggle to get photos of Holly Blue so was pleased to get the one record shot - taken with the Canon SX50 (yes, sad to say I took both cameras in case I did see the Spotted Flycatcher when the Canon zoom would have come in handy).

Nothing to do with 30 Days Wild really but I did manage to get a photo this time of one of the Scratch (Mass) Dials on the wall of the church.

I did remember to look for Maud Watson's grave (First Wimbledon Ladies' Champion) without success.

Day 3

Today I watched the Blue Tit nestbox camera for half an hour to record how many times the adults visited.

At this stage there were still four chicks.

Sadly, today Saturday another one has died.

I started watching at 12.00 noon and here is a list of what I recorded

12.02 Food brought in by one adult

12.05 Food brought in by one adult and dropping removed

12.07 Food brought in by one adult which also pecked around the nest for some while - removing flies/parasites?

12.07 Another visit with food by adult

12.10 Food brought in by one adult

12.11 Food brought in by one adult

12.12 Food brought in by one adult

12.13 Food brought in again by one adult and dropping removed

12.14 Food brought in by one adult

12.15 Food brought in by two adults simultaneously

12.16 Visit with food by one adult followed by quick return visit by 2 adults again with more food

12.17 Visit by one adult with food

12.19 Visit by one adult with food

12.21 Visit by one adult with food

12.22 Visit by one adult with food

12.23 Separate visits by 2 adults with food

12.24 Visit by adult with food

12.25 2 adults visited simultaneously with food, dropping removed. Quick return visit by one adult with more food

12.26 Separate visits by 2 adults with food

12.27 3 separate visits by adults with food

12.28 2 separate visits by adults with food

12.29 1 visit by adult with food

When you actually sit down and record the times of the visits you realise they are bringing in food more often than you thought from casual observances. Most visits brought in one or two small caterpillars and occasionally a grub was given to one of the chicks.

Day 4

A few minutes spent observing bees on the patio (finally we have warmer weather!). Allium, Thyme and Red Valerian are the most popular flowers.

I've just started reading this lovely bee book - bought a few months ago.


Anonymous said...

Blue butterflies of any kind are a pain! The hollies are the worst though, so that's a great shot! Wow £3 bee hotels, had no idea Morrisons did them.

Margaret Adamson said...

Glad you got your camera bacck from the repairer. That was a good idea watching the Blue Tit nest to see how often they are being fed. Interesting in that it is ore often than we think.

Ragged Robin said...

Anonymous - Thanks so much for leaving a comment and kind thoughts re: the Holly Blue shot. Good buy from Morrisons and, from my experience, they do get used :)

Margaret Adamson - Thanks very much Margaret. I was really surprised at how often the Blue Tits were going in because just looking for 5 minutes or so visits seemed much fewer. Just hoping the 3 remaining will fledge as yet again there is one which looks weaker than the others :(

Rosie said...

Those blue tits are working so hard to keep their chicks well fed. I hope the remaing ones survive and fledge. Love your photo of the holly blue butterfly. You have had an interesting first four days of 30 days wild. I'm off to Morrisons to see if I can find the bug hotels:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much especially for the good wishes re: the blue tits.Three are still alive and well this morning :)

Do hope you manage to get one of the bug hotels from Morrisons and if you do you get some visitors. They provide endless entertainment here :)

Caroline Gill said...

My Morrison's insect hotels are full of ants and tiny centipedes! I know we are now advised not to paint bird houses too much (toxic paint etc.), but would the same apply to insect ones, I wonder. Probably to some degree ... Mine are looking a bit battered after the winter, but I'll definitely leave them be while in use. So glad you did the BioBlitz, too. I kept forgetting to press the last 'agree' on the site, and having to start re-loading from scratch again! I plan to post my results tomorrow - not huge number of species ... but working on the principle that each record is worth having!

Wendy said...

A terrific selection from your week. I find watching the blue tits on the nest cam always an anxious time - and this is before the young are out in a world full of predators. The blue tits and great tits work so hard to feed their young. That is a shame about the spotted flycatchers but there seems so much to look at in this wildlife-friendly churchyard, including the lovely holly blue.
I love the book!

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thanks Caroline. We are careful about the materials we use on bird boxes and insect houses (although of course you have to rely on the supplier that they haven't used toxic materials initially!).

Still need to find time to put some unidentified items on i-spot before entering my records. From memory both take ages! :( and, of course, first I have to find the passwords!! The uploading of so many photos is the worst part. Although I don't include photos of everything would take a day otherwise! I don't think I managed as many as usual this year due to watching tennis!! but as you say every record counts. Will do a post in a few days - trying to find time to blog at the moment is difficult!!

Wendy - Thanks so much Wendy. Yes, you are right about watching nest cams being a worrying time especially when it so obvious that the more aggressive of the young are getting the most food (survival of the fittest and all that!) and you can just sense the smaller ones aren't going to survive. Will try and return to the churchyard at some stage - a few year's ago I even managed to see some young Spotted Flycatchers there. Really hope they have returned.

The book is lovely - I got it half price from a Wyevale nursery a few months ago - I had the last copy!!

Pam said...

Aren't graveyards wonderful places and so many have the wild corners! How lucky to be able to see the Blue Tits, the adults are ridiculously busy, what a shame they lost one.

My daughter is desperate for a bug house, looks like we'll be paying a visit to Morrisons! :)

Countryside Tales said...

That is good value. I'll have to pop to ours and get one. Love the churchyard so beautiful and my goodness those blue tits are working hard x

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks so much for leaving a comment and visiting my blog. I seem to have done a lot of posts on churchyards recently but as you say the "wilder" one's are great and good to see wild flowers in particular.

Do hope you manage to get a bug house for your daughter from Morrisons!

Countryside Tales - Thanks CT :) Yes, they are good value - I have 3 now! Would love to build a big one of my own but waiting until OH has the time to help! :)

amanda peters said...

Slowly catching up now, glad I've had a few days of work.
The Mason Bees have used the hotels again this year but not all emerged from last year, they do find them just the right size to lay. Have some in the back which gets afternoon to late sun and they have never been used like the ones in the front, morning sun.
I hope to get round to visiting another church this year and which I could grow Cow parsley in the garden, I love the smell as well as the flower.
Hope the books a good read, have bought Chris Packham's book to read on holiday.
The Blue tits have stopped coming to the nest box, will get OH to take it down this week, look forward to seeing yours fledge.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda. You must be glad of a break off work so much going on!! We usually just get leaf cutter bees in our hotels - this is the first year that I have seen a Mason Bee using them. I think they do prefer them to have full sun. We are lucky as the back garden faces South and gets sun most of the day.

I'd like some cow parsley too but never tried to grow it although my garlic mustard failed after the first year :( Book is great thanks. Chris Packham's book is on my wish list!! Hope you get chance to visit a church.

So sorry to hear about your Blue Tits - think the cold weather we were having has made it difficult for them. We are down to 3 chicks but they seem ok. One looks ready to fledge any day now. Will try and get some more record shots - have been out most of today. Much as I enjoy garden bioblitz it is time consuming - Sunday recording and uploading pics. Yesterday id for hours and then put unknown on i-spot and tonight it has taken 3 hours to put stuff on i-record! Hopefully, will get chance to do a blog post as well!!!

Millymollymandy said...

It's not difficult to do something wild every day is it, if you are into that kind of thing normally! I do hope some of your blue tits make it. We have had loads fledging here, along with great tits, which are all over the fat balls eating us out of house and home! Nce to see the wild area in the churchyard. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks so much. As you say if you are interested in wildlife you do something wild every day :) Some days have just tried to do something a little different - sadly having to the time this month to do all the things I would have liked.

Great news about your blue and great tits - 3 of ours fledged in the end and I think we may have another nest in the house roof!! Raining today so I haven't been able to get out to confirm. I find we often get through more bird food in the summer than the winter!!