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  • Finding toads in the vegetable beds

    Miranda Hodgson on 30 Apr 2010 at 03:33 PM

    Before saying anything about the toad, I was interested to note that several people have told me that they’ve seen bee flies about since I wrote about them last week and some said that they’d thought, at first, that they were seeing actual bees, rather than a mimic. I’ve been looking out for them and have seen another half a dozen or so.


  • Is that a bee?

    Miranda Hodgson on 23 Apr 2010 at 04:20 PM

    The sound of buzzing is more noticeable every day, as increasing numbers of flying insects take to the air, going about their business of finding food, mating and building nests. Up at the garden I saw what at first sight looked very much like a small bee. Only it wasn’t a bee at all, but a fly that pretends it’s a bee – the bee fly, Bombylius major.


  • Bumblebees are nesting in the wall

    Miranda Hodgson on 19 Apr 2010 at 11:51 AM

    Climbing through the window into the garden the other day, I was struck by the sound of buzzing and stopped to listen. Much of it was coming from bees crawling over the rosemary flowers, whilst other bees were visiting the (unfortunately) Spanish bluebells which are popping up all around the greenhouse. The bees were a mix of wild honey bees and various types of bumblebee.

    I think this is a male Early bumblebee, Bombus pratorum Read More...

  • Spring is really here and the birds are nesting

    Miranda Hodgson on 09 Apr 2010 at 02:04 PM

    Spring is a dream come true - a dream of warmth, new growth, and flowers. How fortunate I am that something so longed for becomes reality each year. I love this season so much and every year the anticipation of the land coming back to life is met by the intense pleasure of seeing it truly happening, first so slowly that you hardly notice and then ramping up speed until the land quivers with new life.

    In the garden, the first empty egg shell was dropped onto the lawn by a pigeon. Birds do this to draw attention of predators away from the location of their nestlings and you’ll see the empty shells in many places. Look out for the pale blue shells of blackbird eggs – blackbirds are nesting now and the young will be hatching during the coming weeks. Once the young birds leave the nest, you’ll see them crouching in shrubs, tailless and petulant-looking, waiting for a parent to bring them food. Once their tails have grown, they’ll be able to fly properly and can then fend for themselves.