Gold Finch on Berberis.

Secrets of an English Garden Week 17

I can’t believe a third of the year has already gone in this weekly look at the garden. It started with a chilly February, progressed through a delayed short spring into the beginning of a British Summer.

It’s been great in the garden the last couple of weeks to see the wildlife really flourishing. I’ve been mostly focused on the insect visitors, especially bees but I was really pleased to see a new feathered visitor to the garden.

On Monday, a Gold Finch was spotted in the garden for the first time, sat on the Berberis. Later in the week he was on the lawn eating the seeds off the dandelions. Then yesterday a pair of them were foraging on the garden path. I’ll be hoping for more sightings of them and some better pictures as they get more confident, possibly visiting the feeder.

Bull Finch eating Cranesbill seeds.

Also making it’s debut appearance is this Bull Finch. This one is enjoying a seed head he’s just taken from the wild geranium (Meadow Cranesbill) behind him.

That little geranium grows among the yellow iris, along with some self set Welsh poppies, creating a naturalised corner that is very attractive to wildlife. Leaving last season’s dry material at the bottom provides shelter and nesting material for birds, bees, small mammals and insects.

Rhagium Mordax, A longhorn beetle.

In the insect world, this Longhorn Beetle was spotted on a Rhododendron flower. He is not a pest in the garden spending his adult life drinking nectar and looking for a mate. In it’s larval state, it devours decaying wood, so is a useful recycler of nutrients back to the environment.

Garden Bumble Bee.

The week wouldn’t be complete without a photograph or two of the bees around the garden. Above is the Garden Bumble Bee, one of the 6 most common in the UK. It has an especially long tongue to reach deep in tubular flowers such as the Common Purple vetch so this Rhododendron is no trouble.

Below is a tree bee on a welsh poppy. Tree bees arrived in the UK in 2001 and have spread northwards. They seem to be quite successful without disturbing the longer term residents.

Tree Bee on Welsh Poppy (Papaver Cambrica)

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