I heard my first cuckoo on the 3rd of May this year calling, as usual, from the other side of the valley. Only one of the four small boxes in the garden was occupied, this year by a blue tit family. Six eggs were laid from early May onwards they hatched on the 24th May and fledged on the 12th June. As usual jackdaws laid in the red squirrel box, the eggs hatched on the 6th May. On the 19th May a spotted flycatcher turned up to examine their usual nesting site under the eves of the house, but never returned – it must have found something better elsewhere. The two mallard families which first appeared in the garden as tiny ducklings are now fully grown – seven new birds in all. They appear to regard the garden as their home and present themselves, at regular intervals, in the yard for corn handouts.
The usual selection of bumblebees were around taking advantage of whatever was in flower beginning with the flowering currant bushes and progressing to the foxgloves. Few butterflies apart from cabbage white so far this year, this should improve when the buddleia bushes come into flower.
The plants around the ponds are now in full foliage with the flower heads of angelica standing tall around the small pond. I have planted a number of hemp agrimony around the ponds for the insects. I grew these from one packet of seed, an economical way for any gardener.