Tuesday, April 20, 2010

First Whitethroat Of The Year

Wow!  Just seen a (male?) Common Whitethroat right outside the sitting room window.  I could definitely see it's white throat but with the light behind it and slightly dirty windows, the rest of the colour wasn't too distinct but it seemed to have a grey rather than brown head.  Beautiful little bird, especially so close - just a few feet away.    Flitting slowly from branch to branch on the pyracantha outside and peering in through the window.  I'm not sure whether it was watching me or if it was looking at it's reflection.

It must be one of the first to arrive and they're always a welcome summer visitor.  I do seem them vary rarely in the garden or in the shrubs just outside but they're far more common up on the Tye.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Large brown caterpillar

BIG brown caterpillar found on the daffodils this morning - almost 2" (60mm) and pretty ugly looking creature.

A brief search on Google turned up a photo and info about the large yellow underwing moth.  The caterpillars are also known as cutworms because of their feeding habits on young plants.

I did hope it was something more exotic but the adult moth is more distinctive and quite large.  The adults feed at night and on nectar - ivy, buddleia, valerian - all of which are around the garden.  I'll definitely have to look out for that around the garden.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

First Swallows

Saw my first swallows today. There were three of them feeding over the horse fields in Rottingdean where I was collecting manure for the veg garden at a local stable.

It seems early, as it's only the beginning of April and they don't usually appear around here until early May but good to see them.  Will be keeping an eye out for them and the house-martins appearing over the house and up on the Tye soon.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Nectar For The Bees

During my recent visit to the garden centre I treated myself to a Skimmia Fragrant Cloud.

It's absolutely lovely and as it's name suggests - very fragrant.  The bees love it and that was the reason I brought it.  Not only was the scent lovely, wafting round the garden centre but all the plants were covered in bees, so I couldn't resist.

It's especially important to have something for the bees at this time of year.  There were a few crocus earlier and the stinking hellebore (not a great name but the bumblebees love it) is out.  I was surprised at how early the lungwort appeared - also a bee favourite.

The daffodils are now in full bloom, although being munched by the snails and the yellow ribes is just starting to come out and attracting the bees.

Bumblebees have been appearing for a few weeks - apparently the pregnant females appear first, searching for nest sites, which why they've been flying low over the ground.