Garden Wildlife

People keep telling me that we haven’t had a summer this year. (They also often ask about where I’ve been to get my tan and seem rather incredulous when I say North Wales.)

But we seem to have spent quite a lot of time recently sitting in our garden in the sunshine. We haven’t been the only one enjoying our garden. One morning we opened our curtains to see a roe deer sat beside the kids’ swing. That evening it was back. And the following morning. We thought we had a new neighbour. The kids were excited. To be honest, I was excited too. I was reminded of the wonderful story of John Wyatt’s relationship with a young roe deer told in his book ‘The Shining Levels’.

 Roe deer in the garden

But sadly, that was the last we saw of it.

Never mind, plenty more to see. Recently, there always seem to be 4 or 5 dragonflies quartering the space above the garden, and sometimes perching in the borders.

Migrant hawker 

Migrant Hawker

Southern Hawker 

Southern Hawker

Lots of bees about too. This one seemed to like the montbretia every bit as much as I do.

Bee in montbretia 

This one stood out because of its gorgeous orange fur.

Lovely bumble on buddleia 

Because it’s dark, and because I’ve been reading about these things, I think that this is a native British honey bee rather than an imported New Zealand or Italian bee.

Honey bee? 

This is not a bee at all, but a hoverfly pretending to be a bumble.

Hoverfly on scabious 

Lots of spiders about too.  I think that this is probably a garden spider, Araneus diadematus.

Garden spider 

And this another one. Looks like it’s eating, or at least wrapping-up for the larder, another spider. Is it a female preying on a would-be suitor?

Packed lunch 

I suppose that this could be another garden spider, although the colours are very different.

Orange spider 

Little S found this small shield bug and was thrilled with it.

Small shield bug

Of course, it has been very wet this summer, and butterflies have not been anything like as plentiful in our garden as they usually are. I was very pleased then, when some sort of parliament of Lepidoptera seemed to be taking place.

Peacock, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell 

Peacock, painted lady and small tortoiseshell butterflies.

Initially the peacock was very aggressive and kept driving off the larger painted lady, but eventually they all seemed to decide to tolerate each other.

This comma refused to join the conflab however, choosing to occupy an entirely different buddleia.


Back at work now. No more lazing around in the garden for me (sigh!).

Garden Wildlife

12 thoughts on “Garden Wildlife

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Thanks for that Emily. I think you’re right about that carder bee. It’s fur was a much richer colour than my photo suggests.

      1. The carder bees seem to be doing well this year, yesterday I walked past a blue bush which was full of them. They’re very pretty bees, their orangey thorax is quite a foxy colour.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I’ve discovered since writing the post that the summer wasn’t just bad for butterflies. A friend who farms in the Forest of Bowland is still waiting, with ever decreasing optimism, for some settled dry weather to get the silage in. It may well be too late apparently.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Actually, this year we haven’t had many. We have a lot of Buddleias and we live in an area sometimes described as the best place for butterflies in the North of England, so we’re very lucky in that respect.

  1. Lovely pics, you must have created quite a habitat for your garden to get so many wild visitors. The Roe Deer especially is a great tick. I have always been fascinated by insects and those Shield bugs are certainly strange creatures. They have spear like mouth parts which stab their victims and suck them dry. Its a good job they don’t find us tasty.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Thanks David. Shield bugs passed me by for many years, but now I’m fascinated by their variety and the stunning colours and patterns. That image is astonishing!

      1. That is an image not out of place in a sci-fi movie! Top pictures there. Our buddleia was killed off by the extreme cold weather a couple of winters back which was a shame so we don’t get many butterflies now

  2. great photos – glad to hear you got your tan in North Wales – we’re usually blamed for awful weather and I have to say I’ve had more than my fair share of wet and wild walks in the mountains this year! Great blog, been looking for walking blogs and there’s not that many about

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I’ll probably jinx us all by saying this, but our annual trip to North Wales has always been blessed by pretty decent weather. Torrential rain next year I expect.

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