Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Turtle Dove pair - a new garden addition

Turtle Doves - a new garden tick. June 16th 2012
During the unseasonal storm of last Friday, in this wretched early summer we're experiencing, gale-force winds lashed through the countryside. Bizarrely, a Turtle Dove purred away that day, very close to the back garden edge. Such is the scarcity of Turtle Doves, I hoped that once the storm had died away the Dove would hang around long enough to photograph. But it wasn't to be. The storm died away and the bird was gone. So rare was the event, I thought perhaps the bird had been displaced out of its normal habitat, but that didn't make much sense as the local Collared Doves went about their normal garden business, unruffled by the terrible weather of the day.        
   Three days on, Sian thought she had heard a Turtle Dove purring again. Coincidentally, I'd put some seed out today (bought half-price at Tesco!) something I don't normally do in summer. In no time at all, Finches, House Sparrows and a lovely male Yellowhammer came into feed. Then this evening, the surprise of the year, two Turtle Doves dropped into the garden - perhaps attracted by a small number of Wood Pigeons and Collared Doves already feasting on the seed. Once landed, they immediately pranced the lawn for food. They seemed as tame as Collared Doves and came very close to the house, hard to believe this was the same species I struggle to get anywhere near in Orlestone Forest.
   The weather at the time was cold, wet and surprisingly dark. I managed just one sharp picture, before the birds walked out of sight to the back of the garden, where I'd also added some seed. Will the birds be back tomorrow, are they breeding on our door step? .... only time will tell! Whatever happens, today's appearance of Turtle Doves in our garden feels like a dream with no right to be repeated.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Around the Village, in the garden, through woods..

Woodchurch Road, Shadoxhurst
In fields neighbouring Shadoxhurst there has been a lot of Flax (Linseed oil) grown this year. The blue-flowered Flax looked at its best during May - the flowers have just about gone now.  Perhaps, just because of its more subtle colour, it has a more pleasing effect on the landscape than the fields of oil seed rape that neighbour us.

A few notes from the garden and pictures taken in-between the bank holiday rain showers. The Red-tailed Bumble Bees are visiting the last of the season Water Avens. Before I forget; in the garden pond we have discovered a female adult Great Crested Newt, the first one for at least 5 years.

Red-tailed Bumble Bee and Water Avens
In the paddock behind the garden - there's the occasional horse rivalry going on.

Out in Orlestone Forest again, and when the sun shines the occasional Grizzled Skipper can be seen.

Grizzled Skipper, Orlestone Forest.
 ... and on a big cycle ride around Orlestone forest today we found this magnificent 'Chicken in the Woods' fungus fruiting on an oak tree.