Sunday, July 15, 2007

Flying Ants

The ants are flying - just as I'm out attempting to wash my car and they're taking off in droves but managing to land on my car, so there are definitely a few that aren't going to make it to set up a new colony.

There's a large ants nest by the back-door which has been getting gradually bigger over the last few days as they build the nest up ready for the adults to fly off. There were hundreds of large queens and also several smaller flighted males. Some of these seemed to actually be attached to the females. A field day for the insect eating birds but sadly there are less of them around.

Spookily enough it was exactly the same day last year that they were all in flight, so it would seem that at least the ants haven't been confused by climate change and the unseasonal weather.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Mobile Slug Repellent

Spotted my frog in the garden having not seen it around for a while. It's the medium sized one I spotted earlier in the year. I've been looking out for it in the pond but this time I found it scrabbling out of my way as I weeded one of the beds.

As it's been wet enough this month, it's taken off into beds to keep the pests down. Hopefully, it's having a go at some of the slugs in there and the cats won't find it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cliff-top Walks in Cornwall

Taking a break in Cornwall and a change of scenery with a different type of plants to look at. Although I'm also on the coast you don't see so many orchids around - there were lots of bright pink pyramidal orchids scattered over the dunes, stonecrop and salt loving plants around the sand dunes along Gwithian Beach.

Despite the weather being pretty awful - the sun managed to peep out through the clouds in the evening, bathing the slate cliffs in a gorgeous golden light with the clear blue sea and

It's lovely to see Grey Seals out along the coast. Although the young pups are now growing up - there were still a few youngsters around with their mums. Slightly paler in colour than the adults but growing fast. One was reclining on a sloping slab of rock warming itself in the late evening sun and occasionally scratching itself in that lazy, blubbering way that seals do.

I had a brilliant view of a kestrel sitting on top of a spike of rock, hunched up against the wind and lit up by the sun. There were a few house martins swooping up and down along the clifftops looking like aerial skateboarding up along the cliff tops. One almost collided with me as I walked along the path skirting along the edge of the cliffs.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Another One Bites The Dust

A pile of feathers up in the park shows that the sparrowhawk has been busy again and there's one less woodpigeon in the area. I don't think this will be a problem - having seen at least twenty of them sitting in a row on the telephone wires up by the playing fields. They must have had a good breeding year.

This one certainly had a more substantial meal than the poor robin it plucked out of my garden earlier this year. The females are larger than the male so it's likely that it was a female that took this particular woodpigeon. Sparrowhawks will pluck the feathers from their prey on the ground, having presumably swooped on this one in the nearby bushes and trees. There was a mass of mainly soft grey breast feathers and a few wing feathers on the ground. I'm guessing it then went off to eat it somewhere less open or took it back to the nest for the young.