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Garden Diary - What's Going On In Yours?


JackAllTog e2
5 4.0k 58 United Kingdom
26 Jul 2014 11:27PM
Deadly extremes of the day and the peace of the night.
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SlowSong e2
6 4.8k 29 England
28 Jul 2014 2:52PM
Pigeon chasing off magpies. That's a new one.

Rats eating poison, thank goodness for that. I looked up the poison before I put it down and apparently it's a blood-thinner and the rats don't suffer agonies, just fade away. I feel a bit better using it now.
keithh e2
11 23.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
28 Jul 2014 4:46PM
It will be an anti coagulant, rather than a thinner. Many rats have developed a resistance to it. They are generally slow acting and the internal bleeding must cause some pain before they collapse in shock. Wink

But it's only a rat. I've always thought that the rat trap or garden gun was a better way to deal with them.
28 Jul 2014 4:58PM
The problem with rats is that you don't want the things around, but they're still animals. A while back I had to kill one that a neighbour's cat had been playing with - shaking all over and really terrified it was. Much as I hate them I felt sorry for the poor little blighter - it's just an animal doing what animals do (such a sensitive person Tongue but we had lamb for dinner last night.....) We haven't had problems with them for quite a while now since another another person in the neighbourhood stopped breeding rabbits - livestock seem to be a magnet for the things..
SlowSong e2
6 4.8k 29 England
28 Jul 2014 5:25PM
I like rats and mice. I'm very much an animal lover, but I started to see youngsters and in no time they'll be having babies too. It's the first time we've had rats in all the years we've been here and I've had to stop feeding the birds until they're gone. Sad also, I saw the big rat catch and carry off a juvenile starlings and the poor bird was struggling and squawking. Then I had to do something. I didn't realise rats would do such a vicious thing. It is sad and I do feel bad about it but they won't go away on their own Sad
28 Jul 2014 5:45PM
Nature can be pretty unpleasant at times - we sometimes get green lizards and a cat caught and killed one - I think it would have played with the thing first, but when saw what was going on and moved the cat finished the the poor lizard off quickly (one bite) and ran off. It didn't eat the lizard of course, unlike the rat which would have been killing for food - it probably wouldn't bother otherwise. Nature is a bit nasty, really. Much as I like cats......
And we do have mice / voles or whatever in the garden. After a particularly heavy downpour I saw a mouse crossing the path near the patio (which has a stone wall behind i) carrying one of its babies - presumably flooded out out of the wall and looking for somewhere dry to live. They're no problem unless they get in the house, but they do eat some bulbs.....
SlowSong e2
6 4.8k 29 England
23 Aug 2014 11:29AM
The second brood of woodpigeons. The pair that nest in the tree outside my kitchen window are doing well this year and because the neighbours chopped down the tree they usually nest in I get the benefit as they've moved into my garden. Smile Fuzzy pics, but I don't have a long enough lens and they're very heavily cropped.

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I had to stop feeding the birds for a while but the rats seems to have gone now so I just put up one feeder with a mixture of stuff in it and a bowl of water on a table. It's quite nice as the sparrows are flitting around with a vengeance and the pigeons and starlings have sort of given up and gone away to a large extent. Peace reigns.
24 Aug 2014 4:07PM
A bit of thuggery in the lavender bush!
This chap (lady? it's actually quite small) looks like a 'solitary bee' of some sort, but when it wants to land where another bee is it just knock the other guy off - thud, can actually hear it land on the grass!
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nice clear colours, though...
If I'm right it is gathering hairs to line it's nest - does do a sort of odd movement with the rear body legs. Not aggressive towards humans, but bees that get in the way had better watch out.
brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
24 Aug 2014 4:28PM
Its a Wool Carder Bee as far as I can see, the "gathering hairs" and "odd sort of movement" would support it (in addition to the appearance)

If its the male it has a crown of thorns on its bum which it uses to attack other bees (it can kill them with it) and it gathers the "wool" of hairy plants for its nest (usually only the female does this, from my observations, after mating - which seem to be quite frequent and violent!)

I tracked a small colony in my garden through this Summer and the male staked out an area of about 6ft square which he dominated.

an information link on the species

(if you are interested I have a collection of behavioural shots for the species here including a few that show the "Thorns" )
24 Aug 2014 4:49PM
Brian
thanks - that's them, and very interesting indeed. Actually, I'm not sure how many individuals there were, probably more than one, and this picture which I hadn't looked closely at shows the spikes on the lower abdomen. Nasty. Nothing funny about the falling bees thenSad
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brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
24 Aug 2014 4:55PM
They seem to have a small colony and as far as I could work out there was only one male to about six females active at any one time (I didn't go so far as "tagging " them so can't be sure about the numbers but I did watch and photograph them over several weeks so got a fair impression of how many there were)

Never spotted where the females took the "wool" to though, I would love to capture that next year if they return


Quote:Nothing funny about the falling bees then Sad


Nope and as you said, there is quite a thud when it hits. Most of mine seem to survive OK and it was fascinating to watch the aerial combat, quite vicious behaviour for such a little bee (and I think it maybe unique to this species?)
24 Aug 2014 5:33PM
They are interesting and I'll start keeping an eye out for what they get up to. I was attracted to them because they have such a clear yellow reminiscent of wasps, are very striking particularly from the front, hover rather well, obviously are not wasps and seem to ignore us humans completely. The attacking of other bees looked pretty deliberate, but surprisingly I didn't find any bodies. Odd creatures. I did get a front-on view of what I think was a female 'wool gathering?' - which shows why the colours fascinated me.
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SlowSong e2
6 4.8k 29 England
4 Sep 2014 5:09PM
Can anyone identify this little beastie for me? It's about 3/4 inch long and is living on my nut tree shoots at the moment. Thanks.

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bricurtis e2
9 1.9k 48 England
4 Sep 2014 5:27PM
It's a Vapourer moth caterpillar Chris... lovely isn't it.Smile
SlowSong e2
6 4.8k 29 England
4 Sep 2014 5:38PM
Ooh, never heard of that Brian Will look it up. Thanks.
Smile

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