Six on Saturday: 15.8.20-Bay wildlife

We have returned from a trip the in-laws before we potentially end up in another partial lockdown. They have a fantastic garden with several tiers as it goes down to a cliff edge. The garden is in good order with drifts of verbena, the hydrangeas at their peak and the sedums ready to bloom. The agapanthus are doing very well. But, I thought I’d make a focus of the wildlife in the garden this week as we had a few exciting sightings. Their garden is a good example of how, with a variety of habitats, you can have a wide range of wildlife while still having a garden that looks prim and tidy.

1. Dragonfly-Southern Hawker

The wildlife pond at the bottom of the garden is doing well. The grasses and flowers are attracting in many bees and a few other pollinators. Plenty of food for dragonflies. The weather was a bit grey so I didn’t see that many dragonflies but I did spot what I think is a southern hawker. This is different from the ones visiting my garden so nice to see something different.

2. Newts

The pond is also home to newts. The in-laws I think would prefer the frogs for the slug defences but it’s glorious to watch these amphibians that were common in my childhood but rare now. If you have newts they eat the tadpoles so you generally don’t get many living together. I think it’s a smooth newt. These are the commonest in the UK but still protected by law. It is illegal to sell or trade them. Whereas Northern Ireland has better protection: no killing, injuring, capturing, disturbance, possession or trade. Newts will still manage to thwart Boris in Northern Ireland

3. Hoverflies on buddleja

As I said, the weather was a bit gray so not many butterflies on the bushes famous for enticing them in. But, there was still lots of hoverflies enjoying them.

4. Robin

I saw lots of birds on the feeders: tits, bullfinches, goldfinches, sparrows and wrens. But, I didn’t manage any decent photos of them with the exception of the robin which was a bit more sociable.

5. Martha

A bit less wild, this is Martha. This was Amy’s cat before she went to live in Indonesia. She hasn’t taken it back as it is settled well here and I’m allergic. So my birds are safe. She was sat down by the pond and bird feeders for a lot of our visit. She likes people but not sure about small children. So, Alice was given a wide berth.

6. Badger

The compost heap has been getting dugout. The in-laws have been concerned that it might be rats so we left the trail camera set up to check. A little bigger than a rat. They have had the badgers before but they thought they’d fenced up the entry points.

We tried to narrow down where they are coming in but only really know which end of the garden they are entering.

It’s been great visiting them and wonderful to see so much wildlife within their garden. Don’t forget to check out the other six on Saturday posts. I now need to get on with getting my own garden jobs done. The seagulls have been throwing the compost out of pots and lots of plants are still very dry. Enjoy your weekends whatever you are up to.

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22 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 15.8.20-Bay wildlife”

  1. It’s always nice to have a wander around your in-law’s garden. It looks as good as always. My wife spotted a tiny newly emerging newt from our small pond the other night. It was so small I half expected a frog to eat it. Great badger footage. We had a badger visit once or twice, digging up various plants on it’s route under the fences. Exciting to see though.

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  2. Great photos. I have neither the luck nor the patience to capture images of fleeting wildlife. Newts found my pond en-masse last year; this year I have no frogs. Oh well. I “got” a visiting badger a few years ago. Persistent blighter. Wasn’t interested in the compost heap but destroyed about 5 sq.m. of lawn the first night. I repaired the fence, naively thinking that would stop his return. Nope. He ripped another hole the following night. And so it went until I built a more effective barrier with metal poles sunk into a concrete-filled trench and added heavy duty fencing mesh.


  3. That first photograph – the garden view – is wonderful. It reflects a topic of discussion in this household over the past while – the various styles of garden photography. Recently, there has been a trend for dark and moody shots of flowers – to such an extent that a set of photographs from one garden does nothing to distinguish it from another for all that is shown are close-ups of plants or groups of plants but never a view, never a vista, never a sense of the garden. Your first photograph is what I like to see as it puts everything else into a context.

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    1. There is a tendency doing the six on Saturday to feature individual flowers. It’s easier to show an individual flower and present an image of a garden in health rather than a messy border. But the in-laws have lots of well established borders with planting combinations that have been tried and tested. They’ve got a balance between areas that need upkeep and areas that have natural succession and don’t need much input.

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      1. A situation of the specialists V the generalists: plant enthusiasts V general gardeners, I suppose. We are all a bit of both. (I have a large collection of snowdrops lurking in the background!)

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    1. Thet don’t really want it either. But plenty of space around them with the moors, farmland and a bit wood without being in their garden. It’s a lovely garden. Quite intensive but they have the time and one gardening comes to do a bit of the heavier work.


  4. I felt guilty filling in our pond several years ago but we still get both frogs and newts even without it. Presumably they’re breeding elsewhere then dispersing to our garden. The newts are often on the paths when I go out killing slugs in the evening, I have to be careful not to tread on them or chop them up.
    I wouldn’t want to have to put up with a badger, that’d be taking wildlife friendly too far.


  5. Your in-laws do have a stunning garden! I found your post on wildlife very interesting, and loved the videos on the badgers. The dragonfly has the most amazing colours! The little robin brought back memories of visits to my brother’s garden where the little robin that lived in his garden used to keep my Dad company when he was pottering around outside. They are delightful little birds. The newt is interesting, and I’m not sure whether there are any in Australia. I will have to investigate that!

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