Monday, 13 April 2015

Honeysuckle farm

The kids requested a visit to the farm for their last day of Easter holidays and I was only too happy to oblige. The day was sunny and mild, and while they played endlessly on the hay bales, I had a few walks around the farm, enjoying the spring weather. There was a blackthorn covered in blossom and droneflies and other flies, a few active bumblebees and a Comma were feeding and hovering by it. I heard a Chiffchaff singing and getting closer and soon he was also feeding on the blackthorn flies.
 I also heard a Willow Warbler and managed to locate it, but it was in the young woodland area and stayed in areas of thick cover so I couldn't get any decent shots. A male Blackcap sung, and a female was nearby.
 I was very pleased to find a number of Tree Sparrows near nest boxes. One of them was being chased by a Blue Tit, maybe competing for a box? Unfortunately, there was no trace of Yellowhammers in the farm.§
 The highlight of the day for me was finding a number of Dark-edged Bee-Flies, Bombylius major. One fed on primroses and then sunbathed for a while. Others were egg laying on colonies of mining bee (Andrena sp.). They were most fascinating to watch. They hovered near the ground, and either stopped to rest or laid eggs, by swaying their body towards the bees nest holes.
Male Chaffinch
Singing Chiffchaff
The flowering blackthorn.
Goldfinch collecting pigeon feathers for nest lining.
Sunbathing peacock.
Moorhen chicks. I counted seven.
Parent feeds the chicks.
Moorhen and chicks
Bullfinches were very visible today. I counted four at the same time. This male feeds on buds.
Tree Sparrow
Tree Sparrow
Comma on the flowering blackthorn.
Sunbathing Bee-fly
This, like the one at the top of the post shows the egg laying process, as the fly drops eggs on the soil by nest entrances.
A quick bask on the soil
This is one of the females of the large Mining bee, Andrena nigroaenea (many thanks to Ian Beavis for ID) that nested on the soil heaped up after digging ponds.
Bee-Fly feeding on primroses.
Bird list
  1. Blackbird
  2. Blackcap
  3. Blue Tit 
  4. Bullfinch
  5. Buzzard
  6. Carrion Crow
  7. Chaffinch 
  8. Chiffchaff 
  9. Coal Tit 
  10. Collared Dove 
  11. Dunnock 
  12. Feral Pigeon 
  13. Goldfinch
  14. Great Tit 
  15. Greenfinch 
  16. House Sparrow 
  17. Jackdaw 
  18. Kestrel
  19. Long-tailed Tit 
  20. Mallard
  21. Moorhen
  22. Mute Swan 
  23. Pheasant
  24. Pied Wagtail
  25. Robin 
  26. Rook
  27. Skylark
  28. Tree Sparrow
  29. Willow Warbler
  30. Woodpigeon
  31. Wren
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