Real signs of spring here today with a strong frog chorus and the first bumble bee in the garden this year.
At one point I counted 28 frogs (Rana temporaria
) in the 'beach' end of my pond and I'm certain there were others present at the same time in the deeper areas. As the morning warmed up and the sun came out, the frogs started to 'sing' - surely one of the most welcome signs of spring to the wildlife gardener. The croak of our common frog is not very loud, but get a few dozen going together on a quiet spring morning (or evening) and it's quite a chorus!
I only caught the most fleeting glimpse of the bee through the kitchen window, but by its size and the way it flew, it was unmistakably a bumble bee, though of which species I could not tell. Bumble bees can fly earlier than most insects because, unlike most others, they can warm their flight muscles by sort of shivering them.
The siskins (Carduelis spinus
) which I have reported from the garden in recent days
don't seem to be visiting the garden so much as living in it! They seemed to be an almost constant presence today in and around birch and conifer trees as well as the peanut and nyger feeders and pond. At one point I think I could hear three birds singing their curious buzzing song at once. The birds are remarkably tame and after all the frustration trying to take pictures from my hide I eventually managed to get some very nice shots
simply by creeping up of them in full view as they fed from the peanut and nyger feeders!