Half way through 30 Days Wild and the continued damp means I have not spent as much time in the garden as last year. The wild creatures appear happy to have it to themselves.
One thing I decided to do this year was leave one corner of the garden wild. I don’t know how long it will last as pressure builds from within the family to “do something” with that corner but while it does last it has had a positive effect in terms of wildlife.
A month ago we had a swarm of honey bees find this patch of wild and cling to the wall as the wild roses were in full bloom. Now the plants (not all wild) have truly taken over and brambles, those ruthless guardians of dark wild corners are rapidly spreading their spiny tentacles.
The curious Hedgehog in the night
Perhaps the best aspect of this experiment is the fact that every night around 9pm we have a fat hedgehog who comes through our front gate, wanders through the garden to this unkempt patch of land and roots around for a couple of hours before waddling off to check out what the neighbours have to offer.
It is a joy to watch these nocturnal visits.
Talking of visiting wildlife I don’t think I have ever seen as many birds as this year. The number of great tits, house sparrows and regular charms of goldfinches has been unlike recent years. I assume these numbers have been swelled by the very mild winter and it is pleasing not only to see such action in the garden but also because they have been diligent in their persecution of green flies and black flies.
Where are all the swallows?
By contrast this evening the first swifts of the season swooped over our street and screeched around for a few minutes. But I am yet to see a swallow in Cambridgeshire. Even on my regular walks across the meadow, where this time last year they were criss-crossing a blanket of wild flowers, they are nowhere to be seen.
I noticed that Robert Macfarlane was also recently lamenting their scarcity in this county. I don’t know the reason for this but they seem to be lagging behind. Why is this? If anyone can enlighten me I would be interested to know the reason.
Last year we had nesting robins, blackbirds and wood pigeons. This year the robins nested again in the carport but although they had four young, I am not sure they got to the fledgling stage. We found a couple of the chicks dead, and regularly spotted magpies wandering around menacingly, looking for an easy meal.
Where are the insects living?
I am sure there have been more bees around this year, despite the ghastly weather. The little wall of the raised bed has been home to some bumble bees but the bug hotel Emma and I made during last year’s 30 Days Wild, has gone largely ignored. I don’t know whether this might change with warmer weather, but here’s hoping some creepy crawlies will come and make it their home soon.