Wildlife Camera Sightings

So finally got back from Devon and what’s the first thing I want to do ? You’ve guessed it … look and see what my camera has captured! Well here goes …. Wildcameraa wood pigeon Wildcameraa squirrel Wildcameraa magpie Wildcamerathe usual suspect cat , I wonder what he’s up to ? WildcameraAnd at last- the one I was hoping for… a fox! WildcameraWildcameraWe’ve reset the camera at a different angle in the hope of getting more close-ups and clearer pictures of these lovely animals…watch this space!

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Greenway and Dittisham 

An amazing and ridiculously dog friendly place to go!

First we started off at “greenway ” – a national trust park which was Agatha Christie’s holiday Home and the location where John Suchard’s Poirot was filmed.

Surrounded by beautiful scenery and dogs are allowed anywhere including formal gardens. The only place they’re not allowed is the house itself .

Hurry up

It is quite hilly but well worth the views you get . The staff are really friendly almost like a family and you are made to feel very welcome . Easily lose a good few hours . But must warn you parking has to be prebooked  in advance . National trust members totally free . 

Next stop ferry to Dartmouth and back just a two minute drive from greenway . You can board a ferry and take a 1 hour ferry to Dartmouth and back . Yet again dogs allowed for free .

I just had to get in shot !

This is the life !!

A very nice leisurely cruise . You can see agatha christies house plus the royal naval college where prince Philip first met the queen and a viaduct built for the steam trains ( still in use and also dog friendly ) by Isambard  kingdom Brunel .

Not another boat !

And when you finally get off the ferry . Why not get straight on another boat to dittisham . Yep you guessed it dog friendly . Two minutes across the river . A really small village with lots of trails to discover . Or if you have older dogs just visit the local pub “FBI ” fishing boat inn. It’s very small but the staff are incredibly friendly again .

It’s not a posh place , in fact it was like going back in time but well worth a visit to get a real Devon experience .

Tomorrow is the pirate festival at Brixton . Watch this space to see what we get up to!

Frogs and Toads- What is the Difference ?

Frogs and Toads are a huge part of our wildlife here in Britain, but do you know the differences between these to creatures?

FROGS

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  • Have long legs so are able to jump good distances . They have a mucus on they’re skin which makes them feel slimy
  • Their body is quite narrow and they have many predators .
  • They also lay their spawn in clusters . And they need to stay near water .

TOADS

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  • shorter legs and are more likely to walk- although they can jump a little bit.
  • Their skin is much rougher and thicker .
  • They lay their spawn in strands but don’t need to stay near water other than when they spawn . They have fewer prey as they can secrete a horrible taste and smell.

I have both in my garden. What have you got? 

Mysterious Holes! 

Have you ever been in your garden and wondered how holes are appearing in the leaves of you shrubs ?

Image result for leaf cutter beeThe culprit is a ” Leaf Cutter Bee”

This species of bee isn’t very big but they’re very industrious . The female cuts semicircular discs from your leaves to use in their nests . They usually nest in small crevices in rotten wood .Image result for leaf cutter bee

Next time your in your garden if you notice holes in your leaves . Keep an eye out as they will be back and it’s pretty awesome to watch!

Save our Bees

IMG_3045.JPGWhy isn’t more being done to save our bees ? Neonicotinoids are believed to result in a decline of the queen bees’ life span in colonies. This causes stress on worker bees to almost constantly raise a queen bee, leading them to try and forage while too young and to often die from this dangerous task.
The truth is that without the bee to pollinate our flowers , trees and crops we will starve .

What makes things worse is it’s all our fault Pesticides!

So the only thing we can do is ,

do our bit . Planting bee friendly plants as in my previous blog . But also reduce or stop the use of chemicals .

If you have got a medium sized garden try to loosen up on the weeding as these are a vital natural food source . Or maybe dedicate one small section of your garden to allow those ugly weeds that the bees need to feed well . 

Oh and please leave some water out even just a small dishful can make all the difference!

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Bumble Bees 

It’s still a little early to see bumble bees . But the ones you’re seeing now are out to find they’re new nesting site so it’s a good time to start looking at flowers that will encourage them if you want to help these struggling and vital insects .

I have a few favourites that always seem to be swarming with bees .

Buddleia are a very good attraction to bees and butterflies hence common name “butterfly bush ” it’s really easy to grow and maintain plus you get the best of both worlds with aromatic flowers.

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Forget Me Not

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Foxgloves

although I advise against these if you have dogs as they’re poisonous to them

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Wallflowers

( very vibrant colours and extremely aromatic )

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Ceonothus

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Ribes 

A member of the currant family

Another good idea is to try a cottage garden seed mix simply scatter and see what happens.

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This was mine last year!

If you want to buy bedding plants . I’ve found poppies , French marigolds and cosmos also draw our striped friends in.

If you plant just a few of these plants in your garden you will see an increase of bees in your garden .

Have you ever looked closely at a bumble bee ? There are around 24 species of bumble be and nearly 250 species of bees in the UK!

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When these furry friends do make their way into my garden I will be sure to share more with you, but for now- why not get your garden bee ready?

Pigeon Alert 

Now this photo may look a little strange but I got the inspiration for this from something I’ve seen .

 

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Im a huge lover of wildlife but I’m afraid the common pigeon is a pest . So this is an experiment to see if I can stop them making a nuisance of themselves .

IMG_3005 The odd one I don’t mind but if you let one in your soon over run . I’m just hoping the wood pigeons and collared doves figure it out . 

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I’m also hoping this will stop my feeders from clogging up with rain water. And if all else fails, it gives the neighbours something to talk about!

Took a few hours but he finally cracked it !!! No pigeons no far so fingers crossed

A View from my Pond 

Take a closer look at this photo . Believe it or not , this isn’t compost it’s a small section of my pond . So many tadpoles it’s hard to separate them . I’ve never had so many!

I like to encourage frogs into the garden as they reduce the need for insecticides especially slug pellets which I like to avoid using as I have two dogs: One springer “Archie ” and a sprocker “Millie “.

So well this year I’m definitely going to have to supplement the tadpoles diet . But not just yet as they’re still feeding on their egg sacks . I will give you updates as the next few weeks go on.

 

Hollingworth lake 

Hollingworth Lake– It’s a lovely place in Rochdale to take your dogs for a walk . Whether it be just around the lake itself, Or if you prefer you can tackle the surrounding hillsides which takes in parts is saddleworth moor where you may see roe deer , hare and a variety of moorland birds which will be starting to nest soon . You could really spend the whole day just exploring the countryside and enjoying nature . I recommend also Ogden reservoir which is in walking distance of Hollingworth lake . There are a few hard terrain parts but as long as you dress well you well enjoy some stunning views .

But if you just want a gentle walk as we have to at the moment because our doggies are getting on a bit now . Hollingsworth lake is perfect as it’s all flat and very accessible .

There are plenty of places to eat and drink too so we decided to take our doggies for a pub lunch .

Can I sit on this comfy chair please . This is Archie

Millie windsurfing . 17 years old and when she gets tired she loves to be in her buggie

What’s Flowering in March?

It looks like that short lived bit of sun here in Manchester has turned into our typical regional weather. Rain, cloud and wind.

But, on the plus side- many of the plants we have in our gardens are fully in bloom and lapping up the wet weather, and today I wanted to share with you the plants which are flowering in my garden right now…

Mimosa (acacia)

This is an incredibly bee friendly plant which thrives at this time of year

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Pieris

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Symphytum

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Bleeding Heart (dicentra)

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Wild Primrose

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Primula

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Muscari Neglectum

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Forget Me Not

Although only a few are peaking their heads up right now, in a couple of weeks my flowerbeds will be a sea of blue and pink!

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Hyacinth

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Ribes

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Osmanthus Delavayi

We planted this 12 years ago in memory of our beautiful dog- Lara. She died on the 26th March and this always flowers exactly on the day.

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And of course…

LOTS OF DAFFODILS!

(although insects have gotten to some of them)

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What’s is growing in your garden right now?