Waterlilies

How about some waterlilies? These photos, and some of yesterday’s, were taken at Compton Acres, some lovely gardens in Poole. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area and you enjoy a nice walk among lovely flowers. They also sell delicious quiche in the cafe 🙂

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More Jubilation

To continue from yesterday’s post, which was (again) focused on damselflies, here are some of the other creatures making me feel jubilant about my wildlife garden.

We have several frogs. Not sure how many but there’s often a head or several poking out above the water when you take a peek at the pond.

And we have newts who I love 🙂 There are adults as well as a bunch of babies who still have their frilly gills going on. I don’t often manage a shot of the adults as they are shyer than frogs, but here’s a couple of shots I got yesterday.

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Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

Wildlife Garden Achieved

Today I am jubilant.

jubilant: feeling or expressing great happiness and triumph.

My aim of a wildlife garden which would attract pondlife including damselflies and dragonflies is really coming together. Since we created the pond I have seen dragons and damsels in the garden, but this is the first year that I have seen damsels actually living in my pond and emerging from it. It’s brilliant! And it’s not even just the damsels that have me feeling jubilant – there are frogs, newts, pondskaters, water crickets, diving beetles, as well as spiders, hoverflies, bees, butterflies, birds etc. etc. I haven’t been for a walk this weekend because it kept raining, but in between showers I was able to pop out to the garden and enjoy nature right there on my doorstep. And then this afternoon it brightened up and I just didn’t want to leave 🙂

Today I was lucky enough to see 2 more damsels emerging.

This one must have very recently emerged from its larval skin as its wings were still all folded tight:

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This one, nearby, hadn’t yet burst out of its larval skin:

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Due to a sudden downpour I missed the 2nd one bursting out, but I got another photo of it a little while later (with umbrella in tow):

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The first damsel had since thinned out considerably and had fully expanded its wings, but was still looking rather ghostly:

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Here’s some more of damsel 1’s development (I think damsel 1 is a female Azure Damselfly):

Here’s some more of damsel 2’s development (damsel 2 is a Large Red Damselfly):

Not only did I get to witness more emergence, but Bruce also spotted a larva still in the pond, so I managed to get some shots of that too! It was kindly sitting on a Frogbit leaf 🙂

As this post is already rather large, I’ll save the rest of my jubilation for another post! 🙂

Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

Hand in hand through their pondlife

My pond is full of life at the moment 🙂

There are newtlets galore (well, at least 6) and adult newts too (harder to get a decent shot of). The Frogbit (tiny lily pads) is resurfacing too.

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At the weekend I spotted a couple of teeny little frogs too. Only got a shot of this one.

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And the Damselflies are not only being spotted at the village pond, they are also in my garden 🙂 This Large Red Damselfly fluttered past me while I sat looking at newts and I was lucky enough to catch a shot of him.

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Where’s the focus?

Abstract is not really my style but the weekly photo challenge this week challenged me to think about it. Usually focus is very important to me – making sure that I’m crisply focused on the appropriate thing. Going for a more abstract look made me think about focusing differently.

For example in this shot I am deliberately focusing on the reflection of the grass in my pond rather than at the pond skaters on the surface or the newts beneath. I’m not sure if this really counts as abstract, but it’s certainly different!

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What I would consider to be a more interesting view in a pond might be a Diving Beetle larva (this was in the village pond, not mine):

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Perhaps this one counts as abstract too as you can’t really see what I was looking at, and it’s just a mass of leaves and branches. It could be an abstract representation of spring and the wonder of so many fresh new leaves.

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The keen eyed amongst you may have spotted what I was actually looking at – there’s a bird in the midst of it. It was a bird I’d not spotted before and when I looked it up when I got home it turns out that it’s a female Blackcap. The male was there too, but I didn’t manage any decent shots of him.

So you don’t strain your eyes, here’s a cropped version so you can see Mrs Blackcap:

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Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Abstract

The joy of our own pond

I’m so glad we made a pond. Bruce’s back didn’t enjoy it but even he agrees that the pond is worth it. We can sit and watch frogs and newts, and all manner of insects who enjoy being near the water, without even leaving our garden. At the weekend I spent some time watching Damselflies sunbathing and mating in various places across the pond.

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New Damsels (and Newts!)

I spied a couple of Damselflies in the garden the other day, and of course I took photos. I though they were just the standard Azures or Common Blues but on later inspection I discovered I’d found a new Damsel, so introducing … the Dainty Damselfly

Male:

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Male again:

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Female:

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And while hanging around our garden pond looking for frogs, we were delighted to find NEWTS! So exciting! These are a few photos of baby newts but we also spied at least one adult in there as well 😀

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Found a Dragon!

On Saturday once the weather improved we went for a little walk around the village. The village pond was a hive of activity! There were damselflies everywhere, and I got my first dragonfly shot of the year! Yay. I have a fair few shots of this lovely male Broad-Bodied Chaser, but this one is my favourite:

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Mr Broad-Bodied Chaser Dragonfly (Available for Sale in my Shop)

I also spotted a flash of golden yellow as a female appeared. They seemed to be doing a bit of mid-flight mating and then she went hovering near the water apparently laying eggs. I was lucky to get this shot of her hovering over the water. Not the best shot in the world but I’m pleased to have captured it.

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Mrs Broad-Bodied Chaser Dragonfly

Hurrah for dragons! 🙂

Flight

At the weekend I was having a walk round the village with my daughter and when we reached the village pond there were dragons all around! Lots of Common Darter dragonflies buzzing around, some mating, and also (I think) a Southern Hawker. It was very exciting to be in amongst them and I was lucky enough to get a couple of shots of the Darters in flight! I would have loved to get a shot of the Hawker, but he was much too fast for me!

Here’s one settled on the ground for a better look:

No photos of the Hawker this time sadly, but this is a photo of a Southern Hawker that I managed to capture last year. They’re so pretty!

Garden Tour

I thought I’d show you the pond today. I mentioned when replying to a comment that I really should show you how the pond is going. It looks alot more natural now.

Here’s the pond with our garden chairs where we sit and watch the pondskaters and hope to catch sight of frogs:

And here’s me in my usual position sat looking at it:

Looking from the other side, with the last of the Ragwort:

Another view of the pond where you can see the pond plants (Frogbits and Water Soldiers):

And on the other side of the house, where the Beech tree is starting to change colour – it’s definitely autumnal here:

The sun came sparkling through the tree while I was taking photos, so of course I took a photo of it!

Ending of June

The weather has turned in the last couple of days to heavy showers, but it has been lovely and sunny. In between taking my daughter to a riding competition (last weekend) and the bee incident, I did manage a few photos here and there.

I have been enjoying our ‘meadow’ of lovely long grass in the back garden. Lots of insects seem to be enjoying it too.

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Sunny long grass

Today, in between the showers I popped out for a moment and noticed this little bee who seems to have moved into a hole in our shed. Yay 🙂

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Solitary bee in a small hole in our shed

The Buddleia won’t be long now – so close to flowering! So looking forward to all the butterflies gathering when it does 🙂

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Buddleia very nearly flowering

There are a lot of Ragwort plants which are also getting close to flowering. Last year these were particularly popular with hoverflies and the Small Copper butterflies. Another one to look forward to.

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Ragwort will be flowering soon

We were looking at the pond and commenting that we hadn’t seen the frogs for a while … I then stood up to pull some grass out of the pond and my foot disturbed … guess what?! Yup, a little yellowish frog went sploshing into the pond out of the way of my foot. He then popped back up to say hello. He’s pretty small. We thought he was a baby, but then an even smaller one popped up next to him! Really makes us happy to see our pond in use 🙂

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Little froggy in our pond

There are all different stages of Ladybird life around the garden at the moment …

Here’s a larva (this is what hatches from the Ladybird eggs):

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Ladybird larva

Then after stuffing itself with food, the larva settles down and turns into a pupa:

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Ladybird pupa

And then of course it becomes an adult ladybird, and sets off chomping its way through lots of greenfly 🙂

Adult Ladybird (and dinner!)
Adult Ladybird (and dinner!)

Finally, we are glad that we’ve let some of the brambles stay, as they are now producing the start of a nice crop of blackberries 🙂

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A big crop of blackberries to come

Froggy Return

Our frog disappeared for a while and we thought maybe he’d hopped it. However, as I was sat by the pond on Sunday, contemplating whether there was anything else we should do to make it really appealing to wildlife, I looked up to see a frog looking back at me from the pond!

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Froggy returns, floating in the pond, contemplating the futility of existence

And guess what?! He brought a small friend! This little teeny frog, barely bigger than a leaf, must be one of this year’s youngsters gracing our pond with a visit.

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Very small frog, too young to have become as jaded as the other, is merely contemplating his next meal

Photos are not up to my usual standard, having been taken with my phone, but better than no frog photos at all!