May was a very interesting month for wildlife in my garden but also inside my house! A wood mouse found its way into a cupboard at the beginning of the month and returned twice after being caught and removed back in to the garden! Eventually it was caught again and released a little further away in a nearby woodland, and is hopefully still living happily in its new environment. Plenty of birds were seen around the garden including a pair of marsh tits, one of my favourite birds, plus a regular pair of yellowhammers and a male whitethroat which was singing daily over the vegetable garden and disappearing behind the rhubarb, where it is possible that a nest was located .
Butterflies were very apparent in the better weather, especially the orange tip which has been especially common this year. Brimstones too were around for much of the month feeding on a variety of flowers including the apple blossom in the orchard. However none were seen egg laying on our buckthorn shrubs which was unusual, as the eggs can normally be found quite easily. Small whites, peacocks, and a single comma butterfly also began to visit the flowers in the sheltered garden at the back of the house.
As we moved through the month a chiff chaff was heard singing – a bird that is becoming scarcer here every year. Also a couple of blackcaps, blackbirds and lots of wrens sang every day, making the garden quite a noisy place at times! Wrens are very common in this garden generally nesting in the twig piles in our small copse of trees, but also in ‘roosting pockets’ or on a small ledge in the porch at the front of the house.
On the 15th the first dragonfly of the year was seen at the big pond. A male broad bodied chaser raced around, alighting on tall reeds from time to time. He was soon accompanied by a couple of other males and a lot of jousting went on between them as the females (right) started to emerge. As we moved through the month more species of dragonfly and damselfly appeared at the pond, and other butterfly species including whites and small tortoiseshells began to take nectar from the flowers in the borders.
Prominent flowers in the wilder parts of the garden this month were oxeye daisies with its masses of white blossoms, plus the common spotted orchids began to flower in the bigger meadows. Several pairs of blue tits took advantage of the small insects feeding on these plants, taking them back to their growing broods in our bird boxes.
The month ended with rather more unsettled weather and spectacular thunder storms affected the whole of the southern part of the UK. Luckily our meadows were not badly affected by the torrential rain but the storms certainly kept the big pond well topped up. June began with sunny warmer conditions with hopefully more to come.