Wednesday, 23 November 2016
Mini Autumn Garden Bioblitz (Staying local at the moment!)
Apologies for lack of blog posts recently. We have been without a car for several weeks - there are times I regret the decision to get rid of two cars and replace them with one! I won't go into detail as this is a public blog (just in case the culprit is caught and goes to court)but, as a few of you already know, I was carjacked and robbed of the car. It was rather a terrifying experience but thankfully I was unharmed. The car hasn't been recovered and we are still waiting for the insurance company to settle the claim but hopefully will have the car replaced this week so I shall be able to get out and about again.
Amanda from "The Quiet Walker" suggested that I do an autumn garden bioblitz which I did a week or so back. I must admit I didn't put anywhere near the effort into it as I do the Spring one! (it was too cold) but here are the results.
Birds - did better here than in the Spring one!
There was a warbler around but it remained unidentified as it flew off as soon as I had found the binoculars!
Plants (self-seeded) - I decided just to count the flowers/trees/shrubs that were actually still in flower or had a few leaves or berries. It is always difficult in our garden as we have planted so many native trees and shrubs and wild flowers over the years so I only ever count what has self-seeded naturally.
Wall Speedwell (not sure if I should really count this one because you have to look closely to spot any leaves!)
Ragwort - still just about flowering in the "No Mow Zone" which really should have been cut down by now!
I am having a "senior moment" over this species - does anyone know if it is Ground Ivy??
Various mosses - still to be identified
Hart's Tongue Fern
Unsurprisingly, there were very few invertebrates about. I did see a few Common Rough Woodlice when I lifted up a pot and I found this Banded Snail snuggled in among the leaves.
I am sure if I had spent a little more time I may have found a few more wild flowers hanging on in nooks and crevices but it was an interesting experiment and one I may well repeat so thanks to Amanda for the idea.
Other Garden "News"
There are many reports of Waxwing sightings coming in from Scotland, the North and East of England so I'm hoping we may be set for a "Waxwing Winter". Sadly, Blackbirds have eaten almost all the garden Rowan, Pyracantha and Whitebeam berries, so I have put half a dozen or more apples on sticks around the garden on the off chance eventually Waxwings may arrive! Sadly, I had forgotten that Grey Squirrels are partial to apples too so am having to replace them rather too regularly!
B has cut the wildflower area and had another go at "weeding out" the couch grass so he could sow more yellow rattle. It will be interesting to see what happens next year. Sadly, he has also given the wooded area behind it's yearly haircut - he is rather over zealous! The pile of twigs has been there for some years for invertebrates and hedgehogs.
In flower - Winter Jasmine, self-seeded Lobelia, Sweet Pea and Nasturtium. We still also have a few Cosmos flowers scattered about.
We always leave seedheads on perennials until the Spring to provide food for birds and overwintering sites for insects. This was one of the Honesty plants where Orange Tip caterpillars were feeding and I live in hope there are pupae somewhere around although I am yet to find any.
Feathers remaining from a Sparrowhawk strike on a Wood Pigeon. Below are a few records shots taken with the Canon Bridge Camera through the kitchen window. The Sparrowhawk returned over the course of several days to finish it's meal. Warning the photos are a bit gory so you may prefer not to scroll any further down!