Sunday, 6 July 2008

Aphid update

Those nasty green Aphids are still a problem in the orchard. I've continued my regime of squishing those insects which can't be blasted off with a jet of water.

We're very pleased to see the garden birds are doing their bit too. A busy pair of Blue tits are finding the apple trees very attractive to hang on to, and one of my favourite birds, a speckle-breasted Song Thrush, has become a regular visitor to the orchard floor. Best of all is the Green Woodpecker which has been visiting most days, hopping around the orchard in search of ants, of which there is an abundance. These are the very same ants which carry aphids up to the soft shoots on our trees, so this shy visitor is more than welcome.

The most unusual bird I spotted this week was a female Sparrow Hawk, which I spotted clinging to the barn wall Woodpecker-style, just outside one of the many Sparrow nests. The bird must have chased a Sparrow back to it's nest in the wall. It wasn't quick enough though, the Sparrows were safe within, and the Hawk flew off empty beaked. This all happened no more than 10 yrds from where I stood, but sadly there was no chance of capturing it on film.

I've struggled to get a good pics of any of these birds, the best being this rather blurred image of the Woodpecker, dibbling amongst the Dabinetts and Harry Masters'. Woodpeckers have a habit of hiding behind trees whenever they realise they're being watched, which made stalking this bird for a photo quite a challenge.

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