Friday 9 September 2016

Tree Following for August and Early September 2016

 Welcome to my Tree Following post for August and early September 2016. 

These tree posts form part of a wider project initiated by Lucy Corrander from the Loose and Leafy blog and continued by Pat at The Squirrelbasket

I am based in Suffolk, UK, where I have been keeping an eye on a Silver birch, B. pendula. I have added in a small Cherry sapling,
Prunus avium Sylvia, for my second tree.

You will find the other Tree Follower links by clicking through to the Mr Linky button here ... so do take the chance to have a look at the new posts!


It has occurred to me for a while that my Tree Following posts are becoming a little unwieldy. I haven't entirely decided to what to do about this yet, but am thinking along the lines of keeping the extensive (and ever growing) list of sightings made so far, 'in, on, under and around' my trees, in a separate post. Please watch this space. 

We have had a busy month and I am already running a little behind schedule, so I shall focus on a limited number of sightings.

First and foremost, in another year when butterfly sightings have largely been 'down', I am thrilled to report that we had a new garden record: a Painted Lady landed by the Silver Birch on 13 August. 

These are such fine insects, and you can read about their migration here

While I am on the subject of butterflies, do take a look at the recently released 2015 report for the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme report. There are a few bright patches but the general butterfly trend seems to be a downward one, making it all the more crucial that we plant flowers to provide nectar and preserve existing habitats. 

As for the Silver Birch itself, it is scattering vast quantities of seeds to the winds. When the sun is in the right direction, I find myself watching these miniature keys as they flit hither and thither. A number ended up in the rather extensive web of a large spider next to the Cherry Tree. I wished I had had my camera with me at that point so that I could have tried to identify the splendid web-maker. 

Silver Birch

This evening at 7pm I watched a fairly large dragonfly (it was too fast for me to see it properly) circling round beneath the foliage of the Silver Birch. It has been a warm day here, with cloud and bright spells, and I can only guess that the dragonfly was hoovering up mouthfuls of small midges or flies that flitted around the lower branches. We occasionally have dragonflies in the garden as we live in close proximity to a local nature reserve with a stream, but I have never seen them here at dusk before. 

The small Cherry Tree has continued to grow upwards. Something is still eating its leaves, but the general picture is one of health. It looks as though we might need to trim the Euonymus back again...

Cherry Tree from above

I can hardly believe that the next TF post will be in October, though, having said that, we are already on to our second crop of (wild) Blackberries. The first crop fell victim to the rain and turned mouldy, but the birds and butterflies are thoroughly enjoying the new batch of fruit.

This photo of the Comma was taken this evening, when...

... I also noticed this ?toadstool near the Cherry.

All aboard for the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...

And finally ...


Friday 2 September 2016

Kingfisher Sighting, Norfolk

I have always hoped that I would have the chance to photograph a Kingfisher. My few sightings to date have been fleeting ones, and I had never had the pleasure of seeing one of these stunning birds on a perch before.

We visited Gooderstone Water Gardens in Norfolk over the weekend; and there, just outside the Kingfisher Hide, was ... a Kingfisher.

The Latin name is Alcedo atthis. The first word links up with the more familiar 'halcyon', derived from two Greek words and meaning 'conceived at sea'. According to mythology, halcyon birds bred on nests out in the ocean. The computer colour, cyan, derives from the Greek word, kuaneos, meaning 'dark blue'.

How can turquoise feathers really be a dusky brown? I have always found the phenomenon of iridescence and semi-iridescence a fascinating one! 

The view from the hide at Gooderstone, with two perfect Kingfisher perching sticks

The water gardens at Gooderstone, Norfolk