Lonely Bee

A swarm of Honey Bees decided to come and visit us last night. Today they decided to leave. We were quite relieved, to say the least. There were a few stragglers who have got left behind. This one may be the last – we have to be careful where we walk as there may be a dozey bee on the floor – I have been stung on the foot once already – don’t want any more! We took this one outside but he doesn’t seem to know what to do with himself without the rest of his colony 😦 More about the bee swarm – http://bluegirlwriting.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/the-bees/

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When is a Wasp not a Wasp?

A bit of a discussion ensued the other day when I was looking at my photos and was about to label a Common Wasp, when it turned out that it might not be a Common Wasp but a Tree Wasp. Often with wasps, the tendency is to run away and not spend time thinking about the particular type. If you look closely though, there are differences … though figuring out what the differences mean is easier said than done!

This might or might not be a Common Wasp … it has some spots between the stripes, but does that mean it’s a Common Wasp?

Common Wasp
Common Wasp? (Vespula Vulgaris)

This one is spot free, with just stripes, so it might be a Tree Wasp … or maybe not …

Tree Wasp
Tree Wasp? (Dolichovespula sylvestris)

And then there are other insects who look like wasps but aren’t wasps at all, like this sneaky hoverfly who nearly had us fooled:

Hoverfly mimicing a Wasp (Chrysotoxum cautum)
Hoverfly mimicing a Wasp (Chrysotoxum cautum)

Also, as you can probably see, these wasps like to munch on wood. They love our garden chairs & table, the shed, the old gate … etc. You have to be careful when you sit on a chair in the garden in case you sit on a wasp. I don’t think they’d be very impressed to be sat on!

Kites are nesting

Just a very quick note to say I just saw a Red Kite flying over near work with some kind of nesting material in its beak. That’s the second one I’ve seen now so it’s official – Kites are nesting 🙂

What I haven’t run over this week

Just thought I’d report on the creatures I have managed to avoid running over this week!

It started with a chicken which was standing in the middle of the road as I was driving out of our village. She was not at all bothered by me and my car and just looked at me as if I was driving through her territory. I had to drive very slowly round her, watching all the time to make sure she didn’t panic and run in front of me.

Then there was the rabbit that shot across the road in front of me at high speed, and I was lucky not to hit it! I don’t know what was so exciting that made it run so fast just at the moment I was passing. It’s not a busy road so you’d think it would have had plenty of time to stroll across the road when there were no cars about!

And then there was the pheasant who was actually the most sensible of the creatures – he watched me coming, considered a moment and then disappeared into the hedge quite calmly 🙂

I also didn’t run over a Heron, although to be honest there was no danger of that, as he was flying overhead 🙂

Wet Again

Just a quick note to say I’m glad we decided to go out on Friday afternoon. Today it’s turned back to windy and wet weather so I won’t be venturing out. I hope this weather doesn’t stick around too long this time!

Nature’s Calendar and a Bee

I found out about Nature’s Calendar on Oak Trees Studio’s blog just the other day and it’s a really great tool, which I immediately signed up to! It’s made by the Woodland Trust and you can record the dates when you see certain signs of spring (and later on, autumn), like when the snowdrops or bluebells flower. There’s lists of things to look out for, so I will be keeping an eye out for them on my walks. It’s making me more excited about spring!

One thing I did spot today was a Bumblebee! I’m not sure what type. She didn’t look very well, crawling on the steps outside my office, as she fell over on her back at one point. I had to get moving though or I would have been late and I’m not sure what happened to her. I think she had come out too early, sadly.

Daffodils

Just a very quick note to say that the winds have lessened and power has come back on after many hours … and I saw my first daffodil flowers today! Things are looking up 🙂

Wind!

Another weather update for you! Yesterday it was snow, and today it’s strong winds. I knew there was windy weather forecast but this morning it got upgraded to a red alert from about lunch time to 9pm tonight. Red alerts are the highest weather alerts that the Met Office give out, and it says that red alerts mean a danger to life and buildings etc. I was feeling rather alarmed and wondering if I should go home from work. Then the school got closed and that made my decision for me so I went home and nervously waited for the children to arrive on the school bus (I’m a terrible worrier, so I was very nervous!). Everyone got home safely thankfully. Since I got home I’ve been keeping up on developments on the internet and working from home keeping the University website up to date with the weather information. Apparently the highest wind recorded tonight near here was 108mph! Nasty! There are many trees down and roads blocked, as well as some power lines too. It seems that all the main roads into town are blocked at the moment. I have been expecting the power to go off here as the lights have been flickering a lot but we’ve been lucky so far and it’s stayed on. It’s supposed to ease tonight and we’ll have to survey the damage tomorrow, and see if schools and businesses will be open. One thing I know is damaged and that’s our front gate – it is in several pieces, presumably because the wind has been slamming it closed repeatedly. Our bin is lying down and there’s no point righting it as it’ll just blow over again! The children are hoping that roads will still be blocked in the morning so they won’t have to go to school … I’m torn, as it would be nice to have a day at home, but I’d have to work from home, and I know that road closures can cause all sorts of problems for people who have to travel and for the emergency services.

Anyway, enough rambling on. Hopefully things will die down and I may be able to get out at the weekend and see how the spring flowers are fairing in all this nasty weather. Hope everyone else around the country is coping ok with the wind and flooding.

Snow!

2014-02-11 07.17.40Well usually I post here on the weekend when I have had a chance to go out and see what is happening in nature… but today I thought I’d drop in with a weather update. I woke up this morning and looked blearily out of the window, expecting to see cloud and rain, and was a bit surprised to see this view of a snowy village! I didn’t see any snow in the weather forecast so I wasn’t expecting that at all.

It has previously been raining pretty much continuously and the water was pouring off the fields so my drive to work was ‘interesting’. First a load of slushy snow on the road in the village and then as I headed out the road was like a river with water flowing along the edge or right across the road in places. I’m lucky that we don’t have the serious flooding that they have in the Thames valley area in England, but still, it’s not pleasant.

The snow has all gone now, but there is more forecast tonight, so I won’t be so surprised if the village is white again when I get up tomorrow.

I wonder when all this wetness is going to come to an end!

A quick note

This morning was bright and cold. A lovely pink blush to the clouds and ice on the pond. I haven’t ventured far, and have been busy indoors. There is talk of a real cold snap coming … we’ll see what happens.