Chidham and Hambrook Village - everyday

Chidham and Hambrook - Environment - The Garden Environment

Gardens provide a wealth of variety and are an important habitat for many wild creatures. What have you found in your garden?

Shrub of the month: The Hebe, a shrub that attracts butterflies and bumble bees.
 
Trees
Plants and shrubs for Birds
Lawns
Funghi


We have a type of hebe in our garden, which is a shrub loved by butterflies and bees. On Saturday 8th July there were nine red admiral butterflies on this one shrub at one time.
Red Admirals are having a good year, but my eye was caught by some other creatures.
The Comma butterfly has distinctive scalloped wing edges, camouflage underside and brilliant orange wings.
Can you tell your bumble bees from your Hebes ?
A Meadow Brown





Birds nest in all sorts of places
(2)

This magnificently crafted and glazed pot (made by my mother- in-law), lying largely forgotten and out of sight in our garden, is home to a family of Great Tits.
What do they think of their palatial surroundings?
"Cheap, Cheap"


Can you get attached to a butterfly?
This Red Admiral butterfly landed on my hand several times! Enough times for me to be ready with my camera. It landed on different parts of my hand, as you can see. I moved my watch during the photoshoot to record the time and date! Clearly this one loved the camera, or perhaps it felt it had something in common with me - old and a bit moth eaten.
About 6.02pm on May 12th

About 6.10pm on May 12th

May 8th - Red Admiral Butterfly
Red Admiral Red Admiral enjoying some sunbathing.
May 5th - Hornet
Hornet Hornet
Looks like an ordinary wasp except bigger. They are quite rare. Difficult to give a sense of size. Suffice to say Hornets are just enormous - about 35mm. They wake up at this time of year after hibernation. They are said not to be aggressive unless threatened. Treat with respect. This one was captured as it walked across our living room carpet. I am still wondering quite where it came from.
From Gilian E
Re: Hornets.  About 3 or so years' ago there was a hornet's nest at Cobnor.  We
were walking nearby the nest with friends and had a peek.  One of our friends
was stung - therefore reiterating the need not only to respect but to be very
cautious.
At the moment we also have some very interesting insects building burrows
adjacent to our pond.  I think they are probably a harmless wasp species, but
will do more research to try and identify them more accurately.
May 3rd - Speckled Wood butterfly
Speckled wood butterfly Speckled Wood Butterfly
Just stayed still long enough for the photo.
21st April Peacock Butterfly  
Peacock Butterfly  

Watch out! There's a thief about.
Grey Squirrel Grey Squirrel
Grey Squirrel
Caught red handed! Or should that be 'Grey pawed'?



Bird Tables
Getting started - you need a bird table. You can make your own from wood, or metal and plastic piping, or buy one from a local garden centre. Positioning your bird table - you want it to be where you can see it. Hanging bird feeders work well. The RSPB design works best, I believe. The birdfeeders should be high enough off the ground so that it is out of the reach of local cats.

Bird Food
You can buy a whole variety of bird seeds for your garden bird table.
Local suppliers -
Your local Post Office
Westbourne Animal Feeds, The Square, Westbourne
Emsworth Home Hardware, High St. Emsworth

Online suppliers -
Haiths
Red Barn

Mixed Bird seed is a good place to start. However, some mixed birdseed contains a great deal of wheat. This is cheap, but not so popular with birds other than wood pigeons.
Sparrows, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Greenfinches, and Blackbirds, Robins, Chaffinches and Dunnocks will feed on the seed that falls to the ground. You will probably also attract Collared Doves, which are a species that until quite recently was considered a rarity. You may also attract Woodpigeons.
Premium mixed birdseed may have less wheat and more high energy foods such as sunflower seed kernels. You pay a little more.
Black sunflower seeds are nutricious, highly recommended by the RSPB and attract a variety of species including Blue Tits, Great Tits, Green Finches, Sparrows, Coal Tits, Chaffinches.
Peanuts Peanuts are popular. There was concern that whole peanuts could be the cause of mortality in very young birds, eg young Blue Tits, because it was thought that they might choke on a whole nut. This is now thought to be a myth, but there is a lot to be said for the wire mesh type of feeder - the birds stay longer on the feeder to get the peanuts. If you are lucky, you may also get Great Spotted Woodpeckers coming to your feeder. You may also attract squirrels who show amazing agility in getting to the nuts.
Niger seed Rather more expensive than ordinary bird seed, and it needs a special feeder, but Goldfinches cannot resist it. There are Goldfinches in the area, and if you put out a Niger seed feeder, you are almost certainly guaranteed a regular visit from, these most attactive and colourful birds.
Fat Balls, Seed puddings etc. In the cold weather, Fat balls - fats mixed with seeds are attractive to garden birds. I have made my own with mixed results - buying them is certaily less trouble.
Bread cumbs and food scraps on the ground These may be attractive to ground feeders in the cold weather, but at other times may attract other visitors that are less welcome. Hedgehogs and Foxes are partial to catfood, as are blackbirds and magpies.

e mail us with your experience of Bird Tables - what works, and what doesn't.

Ponds
Building a small pond in your garden is one of the the best ways to increase the diversity of animals you find in your garden.
A 'natural' pond - not designed to keep ornamental fish will be the home to a multitude of insects and aquatic creatures in a very short space of time. Ideally a pond gets some sunlight but strong sun in the height of summer may overwhelm a small pond. Ideally the pond should have its gerntly shelving shallow areas as well as its deeps.
Any small pond will be rapidly colonised by small aquatic creatures. A bucket of water from a friends pond will accelerate things, and it is a wise investment to buy some oxygenating plants from a specialist store. You will soon have the benefits of dragonflies, frogs, perhaps newts, water snails waterboatmen and so on.

e mail us with your experience of garden ponds - what works, and what doesn't.


Reptiles and Amphibians

We have Slow worms in our garden - look like small snakes, but are actually lizards that just don't have any legs. Also Frogs - Common Frogs and Marsh Frogs, I believe, although I have never been very sure of the identification. Also Toads. We used to have newts. It is some time since I have seen one, but then they are quite secretive.
Has anybody seen any snakes? Adders in the downs, but do they make their way down to Chidham?
And what about grass snakes?
Please let me know what you find in your garden.


Birds
if you are lucky, you could see all of these birds in your garden
Robin - red breast and a lovely song. Male and female look similar/identical
House Sparrow cheerful, gregarious, chirpy
Blackbird - Lovely song, Males are black with yellow beak, females brown, slightly speckledy
Song Thrush - sadly not so common. Fabulous song, loves to bash ten bells out of snails.
Mistle Thrush - Only seen one once.
Greenfinch - Males love flash of bright yellow wing, and greeny yellow chest, are brighter than females.
Chaffinch - tomato chest of the male with black and white feathers seen in flight, female no tomato chest
Dunnock - may be mistaken for sparrows, but look closely - tends to feed on the ground, often in pairs
Great Tit Attractive Black head and black stripe on yellow chest. Bird table favourite.
Blue Tit Small yellow and blue tit. Remarkably spirited, and will love your peanuts.
Coal Tit Black and white head and chest. Seems deferential to other tits.
Collared Dove Seem not very bright. Annoying cooing. Breed like rabbits.
Wren - secretive, tiny brown bird. But when danger threatens, struts its stuff and makes penetrating alarm call that can deter a house cat.
Starling - very colourful when the sun is on them. Form enormous flocks and large roosts in autumn.
Goldfinch - Very colourful. Lovely black and red head, gold on the wings. Loves niger seed.
Goldcrest Tiny little bird with a yellow dash on its head. Likes conifers. Doesn't come to bird tables.
Long tailed Tit Tend to breeze through the garden in a gang. Suddenly they are their, then they are gone.
Pied Wagtail Perky tailed black and white birds often to be seen on pavements and grass verges


Insects and plants - some excellent plants for bees and butteflies
Buddhleias
Common Nettle



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