Days of unsettled weather have limited my outdoor activities, but during dry spells and the occasional half-hours of sunshine, the local wildlife has been quick to take advantage of opportunities to venture out of hiding.
I tidied up the hedge recently, but was careful to leave the crop of berries along the top untouched. Now, although they still don’t appear to me to be ripe, the House Sparrows arrive several times a day to check for any that are edible.
The House Sparrows are still together in quite a sizable flock and although the young birds seem to stick together as one group and the adults appear in smaller groups, they are all within reach of one another.
Other garden birds have reappeared following their ‘summer breaks’ too. During a sunny spell of a recent early morning I was watching a young Crow pecking at fruit on the neighbouring apple tree; it was joined by three young Blue Tits that arrived to forage around the branches and they were followed by two adults and then a family of Great Tits. A Coal Tit was exploring the woodwork of the garden shed, no doubt looking for spiders or other sheltering insects. A Wren arrived and sang briefly from the garden fence, Dunnocks foraged along the bottom of the hedge and both a male and a female Blackbird put in an appearance.
Insects need warm sunshine to get them going:
Then there are those creatures that prefer the cooler, damper weather:
Limacus flavus, sometimes called the Yellow slug, is a medium to large species of air-breathing land slug, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusc in the family Limacidae.The yellow slug is common in England, Wales and Ireland as well as most of southern and western Europe. Feeding mostly on fungi, decaying matter or vegetables, this species is strongly associated with human habitation, and is usually found in damp areas such as cellars, kitchens, and gardens. Generally speaking it is only seen at night, because it is nocturnal. Thus it often goes unnoticed and people are unaware of how (relatively) common the species is.
I filled four recycling bags with hedge-cuttings and other garden debris and when I began to move them to put them out for collection a few days later, I was removing the hiding place of a rather lovely frog.
Common Frog – Rana temporaria
- Tailless amphibian – Smooth skin
- Tends to jump not walk
- Horizontal ovoid pupil
- Dorsal surface and flanks are very variable in colour, typically yellowish brown, but may be olive-green coloured and some individuals have a reddish or yellow appearance. Variably spotted or striped.
- Ventral surface (underside) of males may be dirty white or pale yellow, speckled with grey or brown; females pale yellow to orange
- The most consistent markings are the dark patch behind the eye and the strong barring on the hind limbs.
- Length: 6 – 9 cm