Friday, November 16, 2007


We've had three nights of hard ground frost now, although I'm reliably informed that they shouldn't continue in the near future - the weather is set to turn much wetter, a little warmer and certainly more changeable during the back end of the month.

The office hedgehog (Russell) is now hibernating. The Harlequin Ladybirds are still out and about, but suffering sometimes from the frost and eclosing as a deformed adult - often with one elytron deformed or completely missing. Those that are still around (see photo below) are very, very sluggish. Harlequins are legendary (in America at least) for gathering in large numbers in houses - looking for shelter during the winter. That phenomenon will happen in Britain before too long - people will be reporting hundreds of ladybirds trying to get ito their houses or sheds, in a large mass.

I still haven't cleaned the birdbox out yet - I'd best do that before we get any winter roosters, if you see what I mean.... Blue Tits or Wrens rather than chickens.
Many birds have formed their winter flocks - we are visited by a dozen-strong flock of Long-Tailed Tits every day, and the Great and Blue Tits are re-discovering the feeder. I'm sure our Goldfinches and Bullfinches will be back imminently...
I might consider erecting a makeshift bird table in the vegetable plot for the cold months ahead, and see what I can attract to the garden...

Posted below are three pictures of the hard frost we experienced this morning, taken with my phone. More about that in the next post (above).

The Harlequin in the 3rd photo may well have copped it in the frost last night. That is frost on the bamboo pole it's sitting on - not lichen.

NB. 30 minutes later, and I think this Harlequin is waking up. It has lifted from the bamboo pole and the frost on its body seems to be melting... (see photograph above).

Some of these 'Harlequins' are pretty hardy. They are well used to Siberian temperatures remember...

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