Saturday, June 28, 2008


I've been talking about getting a garden pond since last year. Yesterday, we finally finished it.

It's a bit hard to tell from the photos, but it measures 3.5m long x 2.5m wide x 0.75m deep. Last Saturday, Darren and I took up the turf. SuperMum came round on Thursday and by the evening we'd got most of the digging done. There was time for a bit more digging after tea and then we packed up for the night.

We got up at 6.15 on Friday morning and recommenced work early (stopping for tea and cake). I then proved myself incapable of even using a spirit level correctly, but we managed to get the edges just about level and put in the underlay and liner (£42 from eBay).

Mum had to leave before it was full of water, but I managed to supervise the hosepipe, trim the liner and tuck it under the turf (I had to stop and lie down on the lawn a couple of times but got there in the end).

All the soil (moved by hand in plastic tubs, without a wheelbarrow!) is in a heap in a corner of the garden, where it should provide hidey-holes for a variety of insects and maybe even some amphibians and reptiles. Indeed, before the pond even had any water in, the spoil heap attracted a male Black-tailed Skimmer.

It does bear a passing resemblance to the Big Brother logo, but this is absolutely unintentional

At one end there's a pebbly 'beach' to permit bird-bathing etc. I have caught Darren dangling his feet in it twice so far, but I think he might stop that when we get some leeches...

Less than 24 hours after the pond was filled, a Pond skater has taken up residence! Quite a few other insects have visited, but by accident...

I have not felt so tired in a long time. Now I need to talk nicely to those kind people who offered to donate pond plants...

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM or Canon Powershot A640

Monday, June 23, 2008

Little 'un

Some shots with the Canon Powershot A640, mostly as the sun was starting to set. Nice light, though



Bumblebee: 'Pollen, give me more pollen!'

photos taken with Canon Powershot A640

Big 'un

First, some shots with the big camera

Bees can't get enough of Cranesbill

Spotted Flycatcher in next-door's garden. Closer inspection has revealed this bird is collecting insects, presumably for a brood of chicks somewhere...

Flowers at The Lodge

Red-eyed Damselfly

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Garden list

The garden list has had several additions in recent weeks.
  • About a month ago, I saw a Common Tern flying across the field at the back of the house. Not sure where it was going, or indeed, where it had come from
  • About a few weeks ago, I was in the garden after work when I heard a Garden Warbler singing distantly. Under our rules, that's permissible - birds don't have to be in the garden to be added to the list, but we do
  • On 11 June, Darren heard an Oystercatcher calling as it flew over in the dark
  • And this morning, Darren caught sight of a Red Kite as it drifted past a couple of fields away. It didn't quite fly over us, but it was close enough. Perhaps our most-expected garden tick lately. It would be nice to think that we might get Turtle Dove next, but I'm afraid that it just won't happen in this modern day and age...
You can see the whole list here, which stands at 82 species in about 18 months now

Catching flies

This Spotted Flycatcher has been around the garden for three days now. I've seen it occasionally perching on the washing line post (favoured by the woodpeckers), my runner bean poles and the fence (above), from where it swoops down towards the lawn to grab insects.

Hopefully I'll be able to get some better photos before it clears off.

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM + kitchen window

Feed me... feed me now

'Are you there, Dad?'

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM + kitchen window

Sunday, June 15, 2008

East Angular

We've spent the weekend in Suffolk (and a bit of Norfolk).

Friday evening, Nightjar survey, preceded by a fine barbeque and a tasty Firecrest:

Saturday, Sizewell:

Bee Orchid

Dunwich Heath

Sunday, Minsmere:

Common Tern. I thought this was a very artistic style of defecation

Shoveler, drake moulting into eclipse plumage

Tiny Moorhen
Speckled Wood (the only butterfly we saw all weekend!)

Juvenile Magpies outside the cafe

Looking south towards Sizewell

and west (inland)

Konik ponies

We stopped off at Lakenheath in hope of hearing Golden Orioles, but didn't.

And the Ouse Washes at Earith, where we didn't see a Cattle Egret

Good clouds, though

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D + EF 300mm f/4L IS USM or Canon Powershot A640

Sunday, June 08, 2008

River Ivel and Rookery

This morning we walked a short distance along the River Ivel at Biggleswade (or Bugleweed, as it is known if you trust Microsoft Outlook's spellchecker)

Common Blue Damselflies, up to no good

Black-tailed Skimmer

Common Tern


Small Heath

Then on to Rookery pit

Common Blue (butterfly) on Eggs and Bacon (or Bird's Foot Trefoil)

Hobbies. No Red-footed Falcon(s) for us...

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Thursday, June 05, 2008