September, 2011

Wildlife

Wildlife
We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).

Notes on nature

We love nature... from every little bug on a blade of grass to birds, butterflies, otters and oaks!
  • This weekend...keep your drinks topped up

    Blackbird enjoying a splash in garden bird bath.

    As most of us bask in the glorious sunshine predicted for the weekend, spare a thought for your garden birds.

    Birds need water for both drinking and bathing. So with temperatures set to stay warm for most of us this weekend, don't forget to keep your bird baths topped up.

    And even if you're having less than great weather, birds still need to bathe and drink every day.

    Now is also a good time to give water baths a good clean.

    Enjoy your weekend all!

  • Monday's Magic Moment: an Indian summer

    With the promise of an Indian summer this week, I'm looking forward to warm days and beautiful sunsets.

    I'm hoping for something as atmospheric as this image by David Osborn!

    Sunset over the North Norfolk marshes, Salthouse

    As well as looking out your window, you'll also find beautiful sunsets on RSPB Images.

  • This weekend... give ladybirds a home of their own

    I don’t know about you, but at this time of year my house starts getting overrun with ladybirds searching for a quiet spot to hibernate. I find them huddled in little groups on window frames, in pot plants, even in my bathroom! I can’t for the life of me imagine how they manage to get in, but manage it they do!

    Now don’t get me wrong, I love ladybirds (and especially their aphid-munching qualities!), but I’d hate for them to meet their end squashed by a closing window, sucked up the Hoover or, even worse – in the case of the intrepid group that found their way into my bathroom – washed down the plughole.

    And it’s not just that, although you’d think spending the winter in a cosy, centrally heated house would be great for ladybirds, it actually does more harm than good.

    In their natural environment, ladybirds select a site to hibernate in the autumn (usually in hollow twigs, tree bark or crevices in walls), snuggle down and remain fairly inactive until spring. However, the warm, dry environment of a house wakes them up prematurely. If they wake up in the depths of winter and there are no aphids for them to eat, they simply starve to death.

    So I’ve decided that I need to make my temporary house guests a home of their own - I’m planning on following the instructions for making a ladybird house here.

    I love any excuse to wield a saw or some power tools, but you can make your ladybird house as simple or elaborate as you like – ladybirds and other bugs will appreciate a bunch of hollow twigs, or short bamboo canes tied together and hung in a sheltered place just as much as a fancy, all-singing-all-dancing bug box.

    Ladybird houseWe’ve got lots of advice about making and siting insect hotels on our website, but if you don’t fancy a bit of DIY you can buy ready made versions at most garden centres, as well as on our online shop.

    Once my creation is ready, I’ll coax my little guests out of all the nooks and crannies they’ve discovered (I’m told a soft paintbrush is the best way to do this!) and introduce them to their new home.

    Fingers crossed they’ll like it, and I’m still in possession of all my fingers after my attempts at DIY!