Did you know that the WorldWide Fund for Nature used to be the World Wildlife Fund, but they changed the name because it sounded like they were just having a great time? Its true I tell you – maybe I should have called this piece Garden Nature Update.
Way back in late July (27th at 8pm) heard the screaming of a group of about 30 swifts high over the house, the last time I saw any was three on August 9th. I guess they have departed for Africa now.
Closer to the ground there is a late brood of goldfinches being raised in the giant bay tree next door. Saw several flying from tree to tree, with their undulating flight and liquid call early in August, still seeing them now (26th Aug) but took the picture a week ago.
August is also the month of dragonflies. Lots seen rapidly quartering the air above the garden, sometimes higher than the roof, sometimes down amongst the plants, but rarely stopping long enough for me to identify or photograph on 4th, 5th and 6th. But one did pop down to a lilac bush, on the 10th, and sat more than long enough for me to find the camera. I now know it to be a Migrant Darter, which I am assured is a native, and although its body is over 2 inches long its also one of the smaller darters. This is a male one, having blue bits on underside, not yellow. Thank you Phil Belden for the ID and info.
For the second time since I’ve lived here I saw a migration of tiny toads out of the pond and into the undergrowth. Last time I thought they were flies until I got really close, but I knew them immediately this time. Tiny triangular bodies – wide at the shoulder, narrow at the hip – and skinny limbs. I suppose a few will survive to breed in a few years time.