The Messenger - Serving Gislingham, Mellis and the Thornhams

Nature Notes - June 2020

Date: 24 June 2020

The healthy number of butterflies seen in the garden continues to rise and my total number of species seen now stands at nine with Green Veined White, Large and Small Whites and a Speckled Wood being the latest additions. Whilst creeping up on one butterfly to get a closeup shot I noticed a small green beetle that flew by and landed on a nearby flower stem. This turned out to be a Green Tortoise Beetle and, so far as I could find, not a garden pest, so a sigh of relief! We have unfortunately had a few Lily Beetles (the red ones) in the garden recently and they’ve been doing their worst on our Crown Imperial plants…

As I mentioned last month, our pond has really come to life this spring and, even if I say so myself, looking pretty good with its grasses, Iris flowers and emerging water lily pads. The real excitement though is that the newts are back!  The other evening, we counted five Common Newts, both males and females, swimming around and occasionally surfacing when they blew bubbles! Somewhat ominously, when admiring these little marvels, I spotted a rather large Grass Snake slithering around the edge of the pond - unfortunately for our newts the snakes regard them as being a tasty dish! We’ve also seen a couple of frogs around and we have them and our seldom seen hedgehogs to thank for keeping the garden slugs under control! Our feathered friends have been busy, and we have baby Blackbirds and Dunnocks exploring the garden under the watchful eyes of their parents. A couple of weeks ago we decided to change our birdbath arrangements by placing a small stone planter within the pond as a sort of lido. This has proved to be successful and in addition to the usual suspects using it has attracted a male Blackcap who gave himself a most thorough wash. Our peanut feeder has again attracted a Greater Spotted Woodpecker and we enjoyed some great views of this colourful bird at close quarters. Next month we’ll be back in colour and I’m delighted to say including some super photos from Jean Kemp and Mike Heath. Until then… Happy wildlife watching and stay safe!