Monday, 6 September 2010

Wind in the Willow

Really windy today-children hyper, caught up in the gusts and swirling round as fast as the leaves and small branches that have been dislodged from the trees. The willow circle looked amazing, the silver of the leaves glinting like a shoal of fish twisting and turning. No rain yet today despite the forecast and it still feels warm but autumn is definitely in the air. Saw field maples today with their leaves already yellow and Wh came home from the library with a bag full of books and a bag full of conkers still in their cases-they look so full of promise, I wait with interest to see how big the seeds inside are...

No birds this afternoon, but over the last few days the smaller ones are flocking together, greenfinches, goldfinches and blue tits, keeping each other company and providing safety in numbers.The sparrows keep themselves to themselves but then they are a flock on their own, 26 was our highest count-not bad for a garden that previously has only seen the odd one or two. The blackbirds and Robin have been back this week too having been absent since about July, not regular visits yet but enough to let us know they are around and about.

Unlike the collared doves who have been brazenly mating whilst on the feeder a few feet from the kitchen window, difficult to ignore as were the questions it led to from Wh!!!! What with the doves, the cabbage white butterflies and the wood pigeons you could be forgiven for thinking about spring rather than autumn.

The veg patch is looking too tired to continue the illusion though, and the pumpkins give the game away, a gorgeous orange colour and swelling nicely with the rain and more due tomorrow. Shame there isn't more sun forecast yet as my tomatoes are looking very green still-chutney rather than pasta sauce is looking a distinct possibility!!!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

1st September 2010

Welcome to a year in the wildlife of my family!!

After a long summer holiday which involved, amongst others, listening for wild boar in the woods, hunting for water voles in the pouring rain and watching merlins chase above us in the peak district, its the final day of the summer break and we're contenting ourselves with the nature in our back garden...

Early breakfast to get us back into the routine!!! and we get a great show of the house martins skimming the roof tops. It was a cold night again last night, so the children get a fantastic view and the air is filled with the calls of the birds and the "Wow's" and "Wooo's" of my two wishing they could be up there with them.

Lunch in the garden and we're watching the butterflies and hoverflies get their lunch too. Whilst we enjoy cheese and ham rolls they are lunching on verbena, which is in full flower, and getting a little taster of the sedum on which the buds are just beginning to break. There is a persistent painted lady, maybe one of the ones Cj hatched earlier in the year, and it doesn't leave for the whole hour we are sitting there. The children are fascinated by its eyes "they're freaky" and its proboscis, watching it dip in and out of the flowers. Cj wants to know how the pollen creates seeds, she already knows the stigma and stamen, so we get the books out and look at pictures of dissected flowers and ovaries, with her comparing them to the flowers in front of us. We are also lucky and get a small copper join us for lunch, a first in our garden, and it is truly beautiful in the summer sunshine.

The next find is not a new addition but a plentiful one, as it seems to have been a record ladybird year with the children finding one on nearly every plant in the garden and almost as many pupae waiting to hatch. Wh loves the tickly feeling they create walking across his fingers and keeps trying to persuade them onto his hand, not sure they like the taste of cheese tho, unlike the wasp which keeps returning to rest on WH's discarded cheddar!!!

A little later whilst i'm cooking there is a yell from the garden and when I head out to investigate the children are captivated by the collection of butterflies on the gable end of the house enjoying the warmth of the evening sun. There are 8, one each of small tortoiseshell, peacock and red admiral, but the others refusing to open their wings to give us a recognisable view. They seem happy to stay and I have to call the children in several times to eat before they are prepared to leave the butterflies to their sunbathing, maybe they all feel its the last of the summer...