Regular readers will know I have written before about our Robin Friend. One great advantage of having a robin that is near-tame is that he allows us to get up real close. He was quite comfortable to preen away, with me standing right beneath him.
We know when spring is coming when the frogs arrive back in the garden pond. Last year they were late (early March), but this year they are already back in force – first ones arrive earlier in the week.
There appears to be a little fewer than last year – about 100, compared to around 120 last year. They are not easy to count though so it is just an estimate!
I couldn’t resist sharing and re-sharing some bumblebee photos for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge from Tina on the theme “soft “. Bees have had a pretty tough year – the late, cold spring certainly did not help. But I do love watching them. Providing food for bees from March right through till the first frosts in October is a great way to ensure you enjoy bees in your garden.
The current hits in my garden are oregano, comfrey, borage, poppies and runner beans. Lupins are popular earlier in the summer, as can be seen below. Even now the last remaining lupin flowers are being visited by carder bees.
Wildflowers, fruit trees and herbs are also vitally important food sources.
Regular readers will remember we had plenty of frogs in the pond earlier in the year and lots of spawn. The tadpoles are now developing into little frogs. My youngest spotted a couple moving from the pond to the hedgerow.
A frog in the hand
They are so tiny. The fact that any of these creatures can make it to a full -sized adult frog is truly amazing. How big the world must seem to them!
Yesterday, this little wren accidentally got into the house.
Most of the doors and windows are open as we experience exceptionally warm days, with yesterday temperatures reaching 25 degrees Celsius. Normal May temperatures in the west of Ireland tend to be in the mid-high teens.
The wrens had converted last year’s swallow’s nest into their own nest and have been busy feeding the chicks the last couple of weeks. The young appear to have just fledged. This little fellow proved hard enough to catch! But my husband, a trained bird ringer, got him eventually.
We didn’t think it would wait around to be photographed, but either because of the shock of being caught, or the near-by presence of one of it’s parents (with beak full of food), it stayed long enough for me to get a couple of shots, before making a short, yet confident flight to the beech hedge.
During lunch we watched both parents come and go with more food to the hedge. The fledglings remained concealed though so we are not sure how many there are.
Wrens are among Ireland’s smallest birds. The female lay clutches of 5-8 eggs, and she alone will incubate them. They feed on insects and spiders. Both parents will help feed the young. For more information can check out Birdwatch Ireland’s Wren page.
Yellow is this month’s photo challenge from Wild Daffodil. At this time of year dandelions should be everywhere, but the cold spring means they are only just coming. Dandelions are a great source of pollen for bumblebees. So if your lawn is awash with yellow, think twice before you cut it.
Allow the dandelions to flower and you will be providing bees with an important food source.
Captivating may not be a word you’d immediately associate with frogs. However, we are spending a large amount of our meal times watching the frogs in the garden pond and my youngest is particularly captivated by their antics. Our kitchen window overlooks the pond and is a perfect place for observing them.
Yesterday’s count was an estimated 150! Last year there was 63, so it is a big jump in numbers. Today is damp and it looks like they are beginning to disperse, as there are a lot more sitting around the top of the pond, and moving away under the beech hedge and through the garden.
I love to see frogs in the garden as I know they will do their bit in keeping the slug population down.