Monday, 16 May 2022

Back at the Old Vicarage

It's been three weeks since the last post about the Old Vicarage, three weeks which mark one of the most rapid changing times of year. The ground vegetation has shot up by about 3ft, the moth catch species diversity (and overall entomology) has increased multiple fold, the vegetables in the mini-farm have been through a rapid growth spurt (as has Isaac who is now six months old), all the leaves are on all the trees now (the Walnut is still not quite fully out), the Spotted Flycatchers have arrived back in the garden, the Swifts are screaming overhead and there are more young fledglings about and plenty of young calling from nests. What with hawkmoths, Swifts and flycatchers now on the stage I guess it's officially Early Summer/ Late Spring. 

Eyed Hawkmoth- one of the less regular hawkmoths in the garden. Plenty of Poplar Hawks about now too.
Great Prominent- an overdue new species for the Old Vic (and lifer). Now on 494 moth species for site. 
Alder Moth- quite a rare one for us
Blotched Piercer, Pammene Albugianna- another first for site (and lifer)  if I remember correctly. 
A first generation Setaceous Hebrew Character. This typically abundant autumn moth has a small appearance in Spring- I think the first time we've had a spring one. 
Scalloped Hazel
I find these Twin-spot Carpets confusing. The default locally is Red Twin-spot but this seemed larger and subtly different markings so maybe a Large Twin-spot Carpet? Some Dark-barred Twin-spots are also very similar to Red Twin-spot. Update 270522- CMR says just another Red Twin-spot Carpet. 
If I'm not mistaken this is Dark-barred Twist, Sydemis musculana. Another good one for the garden. 
This looks like Birch Conch, Cochylis nana? Can't remember coming across this one before either.
Sparrowhawks have been displaying and calling overhead
A Robin is nesting on the sprinkler head in the green house which means we are having to water the mini-farm by hand until we can get our sprinkler back. The eggs hatched last night and there are four chicks (and one unhatched egg). 

The mini-farm coming along. Need to plant out the pot-ons from the Greenhouse. So far we've got five varieties of potatoes, various lettuces, rhurbarb, leeks, spring onions, sweet corn, beets, sweetcorn, strawberries, gooseberries, currants, onions, parsley, basil, other herbs, tomatoes, runner beans and sugar snap peas on the go plus the fruit trees (apples, pear, plum) and nuts (hazel and walnut). 
Head gardener (Bryan) and Jacob
Jacob helping out with the new raised beds
Meanwhile back in the house- the chickens are on their way. We've borrowed an incubator and some fertilised eggs (Isa Browns and Light Sussexs) and now have to wait and get the chicken house ready. 

Meanwhile back at the mini-zoo- the Palludarium is coming along with the plants and environment beginning to stabilise and grow. We've got about four months before my next longer trip so will hopefully make good progress with this over the next few months. Need to do a species inventory soon of what is actually going on in the mini-zoo now as the species list is growing fast- will try and achieve maximum bio-diversity in this palludarium. 

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