It hasn't been the most memorable Easter bank holiday weekend as far as the weather has been concerned; nevertheless there has been a lot for the wildlife gardener to see.
The early attempt of a pair of blackbirds (Turdus merula
) to nest in a Leylandii hedge appeared to be abandoned shortly after I reported it on 14th March
because a few days later I saw the female carrying nesting material into an ivy-covered flowering cherry on the other side of the garden. Since then, I've seen her regularly entering the same ivy - always by the route and in that slightly wary way which suggests she is incubating. Today I found the eggshell (pictured) about two metres from the same tree, so it would seem that the eggs are now hatching.
White-tailed bumble bee queen.
Very noticeable in the garden over the past week or so have been the queen bumblebees which are currently looking for somewhere to build their nests. Those I have seen in my garden have tended to be buff-tailed bumble bees (Bombus terrestris
). The queens of this species are very large indeed. I've also seen a few smaller white-tailed bumble bee queens (Bombus lucorum
). I recently learned that it's only the queen buff-tailed bumble bees that have the buff tip to their abdomens; the workers have whitish tails and are almost indistinguishable from workers of white-tailed bumble bees. Therefore it would appear that many of the 'white-tailed' workers I saw in the garden at the end of last summer were actually buff-tailed bumble bees. (You live and learn.)