Bird Report: May to July 2013

The Blackthorn failed to flower until the first week of May this year, indicating the impact of a late winter and this continued to effect the timings of many other blossoms, including Hawthorn, that eventually came out in June.

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

Swifts arrived a day or two later than previous years over the reservoir on the 8th May, but the weather continued to be wet and cold for another week or two afterwards. A pair of oystercatchers spent an evening flying around the reservoir on the 7th May, but were not seen again. I have not heard any cuckoos calling around the allotment this spring, even at dawn, but it may be as much to do with poor weather as anything else. Continue reading

Bird Watch

I have included unusual and first sightings of the year. If anyone else would like to contribute in the future then please let me know!

Goosander

January brought snow and with it 6 goosanders arrived circling the reservoir for a while before landing. Waxwings from the mainland of NW Europe were seen on several occasions around the allotments, as were fieldfares and redwings feeding on the apples remaining on the ground. These last two stayed until the first week in April. Long tailed tits, siskins, goldfinches and both green and great spotted woodpeckers were regular visitors to bird feeders and fruit trees, along with our normal garden birds. Continue reading

From the Hive : April 2013

beeLetter from the Hive : April 2013

With what felt like the first warm day in 2013 it was a welcoming sight to see the allotment under a sky full of sunshine, buzzing with activity. It was encouraging to see plots being dug ready for the planting of various seeds, catching up on the late winter chill, fingers crossed that they will start to prosper hopefully under ever increasing spring like warmth!

The same was evident in the HIVE. With over wintered honey bee numbers reaching a critically low point with barely sufficient bees surviving to maintain the 35 degrees temperature required to develop brood. Bees can only effectively forage when the outside air temperature is 10 degrees or above. The first signs that the queen has survived this long, hard winter is pollen from the crocuses, willow and hazel being flown in. The colony mixes this pollen with honey to make bee bread. This is essential for the queen to lay eggs and raise her new brood.

Over the next few weeks the colony should grow steadily in preparation for the pollination of our apple, pear and plum trees. A grateful thanks to those who planted snowdrops and crocuses as these are two very important early plants that our pollinating insects need to start their new families.

Kind Regards, from the HIVE

PS – Bees also love comfrey, poppies and lavender.