June began with the moorhens eggs hatching and the small black spidery legged youngsters on the pond banks and in the water. Sadly a heron was seen to take at least one of them but the rest were soon at home and finding plenty of food. The weather was generally cooler than it had been – overcast with light rain most days. Lots of young birds were now fledging around the garden including the siskins but young blue tits and great tits were seen in abundance. A single bank vole continued to feed under the feeder outside my office window. Around the garden there was little in flower but in the big meadow buttercups were plentiful as was Sonchus – a creeping perennial weed but a good nectar and pollen source. Other than that the oxeye daisies started to flower promising a good show later in the month. Several great spotted woodpeckers were using the feeders and a willow warbler was singing all week – a bird not heard or seen in the garden for several years.
Young Swallows about to leave the nest
Common Spotted Orchids and Oxeye Daisies in the Meadow
In the second week of the month the weather was mainly overcast. However our common spotted orchids were coming into flower all over the garden – possibly fewer that previous years but still a great show. Blackcap and willow warbler were both singing well at the start of the week but the young moorhens were down to just two. There were very few butterflies in the garden but a single painted lady was seen and also silver y moth. Red admiral and brimstone were also seen later in the week. The Big Meadow was still mainly grass and buttercups, but there was the promise of lots of oxeye daisies. The buds soon opened and by the end of the week they were flowering in profusion all around the garden as well as in the garden. Very little was in flower in the long borders however. A single linnet was observed in the orchard on the 13thand the regular bank vole was still visiting daily to pick up discarded sunflower hearts under the bird feeder.
Bank Vole finding food under the bird feeders
The third week of June brought variable weather still but no rain. The Big Meadow continued to grow and this year the grass was mainly Holcus – a lovely soft grass with a tinge of pink, giving the whole meadow a soft haze of colour. The Sonchus was now attracting a good number of insects as the bright yellow flowers appeared in abundance. The non-native Fox and Cubs which has found way into the borders was flowering well in the long garden and attracting a range of small insects. Two juvenile chiffchaffs were seen around the pond in the field next door but on the 16th a spotted flycatcher was seen in the orchard. This is a lovely species that has bred in the garden here once before so I was delighted with this discovery! Further inspection from a distance with binoculars showed that it was likely to be using a using a small nest box on the front of our garden cabin. A little covert watching from a distance on the 17th revealed a flycatcher exiting the box and it was also seen around in the copse trees and especially in a large oak in the garden. Two Linnets continued to be seen daily in the long grass in the orchard. Lots of yellow rattle began to flower around the garden – the most I have seen here for several years and by the end of the week four linnets were observed feeding daily on the seeds of the long grasses in the orchard. By the end the week the flycatchers could be seen daily and were possibly incubating.
Fox and Cubs
The last week of the month saw the beginning of a very hot spell of weather. This brought a number of butterfly species to the garden but best of all, two hummingbird hawkmoths were seen feeding on the lavender in the back garden 22nd. Also on the 22nd of the month the swallows in the front porch fledged. A successful brood of six young was better than I expected and it was a delight to see them flying around the house and sitting on the wires over the garden at the back of the house. There were still very few butterflies around but the weather was warm and sunny which should bode well for some midsummer species. The month ended with several young wagtails on the roof of the house, presumably from the pond in the field next door. At the very end of the month the weather became cooler and damper. The linnets were clearly nesting in the orchard meadow and six young mallard appeared on the pond. As the weather improved the garden was full of small invertebrates which bodes well for the flycatchers when they hatch.