Another great photo from St.Anns allotments, courtesy of Nic Cairns…
These are tadpoles of the Common Frog (Rana temporaria), photographed massing in a warm part of a pond at Ecoworks Community Garden. The tadpoles are still at an early developmental stage, as their external gills can clearly be seen in the photo. These disappear soon as the tadpole develops a mouth.
Nic Cairns sent in some excellent close-ups of Hazel (Corylus avellana) in flower, taken at St.Ann’s Community Orchard.
Firstly, the male flowers (catkins), not yet fully open …..
The distinctively-shaped buds and finely hairy twigs that characterise Hazel can be seen in this photo.
Nic also sent in an image of a spectacular (if tiny) female flower…
Thanks, as ever, to Nic for his contribution.
I’ve featured Dragonflies before, here and here. Here’s another picture, but of a different species….
This is a female Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea), seen by Nic Cairns at Ecoworks Community Garden. Thanks to Nic for the great photo.
I recently visited the excellent Summerwood Community Garden in Clifton, and it was good to see that real efforts have been made to create wildlife-friendly spaces throughout the site. I was impressed by the large wildlife pond….
The pond was teeming with Dragonflies and other insects on the sunny day when I visited, and had an impressive display of wildflowers around it as well. The pond itself had a good variety of aquatic plants, most obviously White Water Lily (Nymphaea alba) and Water Soldier (Stratiotes aloides)…..
Water Soldier is an unusual and interesting plant. It spends most of the year more or less submerged, and so is easily overlooked; but it emerges from the water surface in summer, to flower….
The plant is quite rare in the wild, and is probably only truly native in parts of Eastern England – so it’s good to see it in this wildlife pond. One of many good reasons to visit Summerwood Community Garden this summer!
A strawbale building is under construction on the St.Ann’s Community Orchard, and it already has an occupant. A Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) has built a nest amongst the insulation at the top of the building’s timber frame, and accessing the nest via a hole in the soffits which is yet to be closed up. I was able to take a couple of photos; they’re not great quality, as I didn’t want to get too close, nor to use the flash, for fear of alarming the birds.
The nest is a well-constructed ball of vegetation, with just a narrow opening near the top; this is probably the origin of the bird’s latin name, which means “cave dweller”. In this photo, an adult bird can be seen at the nest’s entrance, regarding me warily, whilst the yellow gaping mouth of one of the hungry chicks is also visible….
In the second photo, the adult bird can be seen out of the nest, about to go foraging for caterpillars to feed the chicks with….
The birds seems fairly used to people, and untroubled by the ongoing building work! Hopefully the building’s first occupants will successfully fly the nest in due course…
Nic Cairns sent in some fine photos of trees in blossom, taken at Ecoworks Community Garden…..
The blossom shown is all on cultivated trees (Cherry, Apple and Plum) rather than natives – but such flowers are still of great value for pollinating insects such as bees and hoverflies, and a flowering fruit tree can be a worthwhile contribution to any wildlife garden. Thanks to Nic for the photos.
Following a post from a month ago, here are some further photos of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) from Nic Cairns…..
These are an unusual double form, photographed from an unusual angle, in a garden in St.Anns. Thanks to Nic for the pictures.
I’ve admired simple pallet-based “invertebrate hotels” at a couple of locations before. Here’s another – albeit in need of some renovation – at the excellent Bulwell Forest Community Garden :
As ever, it’s good to see space being made for enhancing habitat for invertebrates.
One of the earliest harbingers of spring….
Thanks to Nic Cairns for the photo, taken at Ecoworks Community Garden.
I like Shield-bugs, and have featured them before. Here’s another – the Hairy Shield Bug (Dolycoris baccarum), also known as the Sloe Shield-Bug, photographed on the Community Orchard at St.Ann’s Allotments:
Despite the name, it is not particularly associated with Sloe trees. Quite a handsome little beastie!