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IMG_1999Mallard drakes (2) (640x439)

Two very handsome Mallard drakes (Anas platyrhynchos).

IMG_2001Ground-ivy (640x427)

Ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea). Many of the newer leaves are purple and the plant has a slightly unpleasant minty scent.

IMG_2002Primroses (640x427)

As I have mentioned before, when we moved to this house there were no Primroses (Primula vulgaris) in the garden at all. We now have a few plants here and there on the banks of our ditches.

IMG_2003Cowslips (640x427)

The Cowslips (Primula veris) are beginning to bloom. We have always had plenty of these!

IMG_2004Primula hybrid (2) (640x459)

A primula hybrid that arrived unbidden about three years ago. I rather like it.

The house next door to us is the former village school.  I am not sure when it closed but a friend of ours from church used to attend it during the 1940’s.  Where our house and garden is now, there was a meadow full of wild flowers and our friend walked across it every day to collect the milk for the school from the farm next door.  These wild flowers we have in our garden are all that’s left of the hundreds that used to be here up to about 50 or 60 years ago.  I hope that we can hang on to these few and perhaps, by not using chemicals, encourage them to spread.

IMG_2005Sweet violet (640x427)

Sweet Violet (Viola odorata)

IMG_4348Parcel box with nest (640x480)

This is our parcels and newspaper box at the end of our drive. We noticed during the winter that it was starting to rot and needed replacing. It appears that we weren’t the only ones to notice the state the box was in. I opened it the other day to find something had made a hole in the back of it ( you can see where the light is shining through just below my thumb as I lift the lid). The next day I found this straw and moss had been put in there. Richard saw a Great Tit (Parus major) flying away from the box so I suspect this is a Great Tit’s nest. I carefully peeped into it a day or so later and found the whole box stuffed full of moss and we can also see lots of straw sticking out from where the box sides are coming away from the base. We have tied up the box and put a ‘not in use’ sign on it and we now await the happy arrival of baby Great Tits.

I knew that Tits nested in holes and I also was aware that Willow Tits excavated their own holes but I hadn’t realised that Great Tits also excavated holes to nest in.

Lichen and moss-covered wall

The top of the brick gate-post at the end of our drive is covered in moss and lichen but because we haven’t had much rain recently, it isn’t looking as good as usual. Birds have been collecting the moss for their nests too.

Lichen on top of wall

This is a close-up of one of the lichens.

IMG_2016Marsh Marigold (640x427)

The Marsh-marigold or King Cup (Caltha palustris) is flowering in the pond.

IMG_2017Marsh Marigold (427x640)

I love its shiny yellow petals.

IMG_2024Daffodils (640x427)

I took this photo of the daffodils round the pond over a week ago and I am glad I did. On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week we had very warm weather (24 degrees C on Wednesday!) and the daffodils that had come out earliest began to wilt.

IMG_2019Hazel (640x427)

Earlier this year I posted pictures of these Hazel (Corylus avellana) bud galls. I went to look at them again last week and noticed tiny flies sitting on all of the galls. I wonder if these flies had hatched out of the galls.

IMG_2021Hazel (640x427)

New Hazel leaves

IMG_2022Mint (640x427)

Water Mint (Mentha aquatica). The new shoots are growing round and in the big pond.

IMG_2025Horse Chestnut (640x427)

Horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum). This photo was taken about a week ago.

IMG_2030Horse Chestnut (640x427)

This photo of our Horse-chestnut tree was taken on the same day. These leaves are higher and get more sunlight. I was pleased to see that the flower panicles (candles) were growing nicely.

IMG_1997Frogspawn (640x427)

I saw the frogs spawning but unfortunately didn’t have my camera with me. I took this photo of the spawn later in the day. This is the first time I have found frogspawn in our pond and was surprised at how late in the year it was. We have a windswept, exposed garden which may account for it.

IMG_1998Frogspawn (640x427)

There were lots of eggs and I was glad that the fish that live in the pond hadn’t come out of hibernation yet.

IMG_2032Tadpoles (640x427)

I took this picture a week later as the tadpoles were hatching out. The fish still hadn’t woken up!

Two days after this the tadpoles had dispersed but I had also seen the fish swimming in the pond and leaping to catch flies.  They were probably feasting on tadpoles too.

I found a dead fish on the path round the pond again – I found one last year that had been caught by the Heron who had been disturbed by one of us.  I don’t know what had caught this year’s fish as there was no stab mark on it.  It is interesting to see the workings of the food-chain.  We are part of it as we get bitten by the flies that the fish eat!

Thank-you for visiting!