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David

Garden iris in their prime

Garden iris in their prime

Iris flowering in a front garden early this month. All that’s left now of the flowers is a few brown and shrivelled fragments.

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David

Flowers, bay bush

Flowers, bay bush

The popularity of bay as garden bushes probably owes more to the use of the leaves as a herb than to any features of the flowers. They are small, grow in clusters and are not, to my nose at any rate, strongly perfumed.

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David

Alder leaf beetle

Alder leaf beetle

An alder leaf beetle on a leaf. I didn’t take much notice what kind of leaf it was on, but it definitely wasn’t an alder.

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David

Out for a nibble: rat, West Park

Out for a nibble: rat, West Park

One of the many rats living in West Park, half-emerging from under the bush which quite likely is over its rat-hole. It was manipulating something (I couldn’t see what) with its front paws, then nibbling at it.

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David

Conflict: coots, West Park

Conflict: coots, West Park

A face-off between two of the West Park coots, while a third looked on intently. Presumably the two birds adopting a threat posture were rival males, with an interloper getting too close to the other’s mate.

The threats didn’t develop into actual contact: that can look quite nasty with coots, deploying their vicious-looking feet as well as beaks. The onlooker eventually turned round and started swimming away. The other pair lost eye contact, and headed for well-separated parts of the bank to climb on land and walk off ignoring each other.

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David

Blackbird by the Bantock Park pond

Blackbird by the Bantock Park pond

Male blackbird among the thick vegetation around the edge of the pond at Bantock Park. Traces of soil on his beak show traces of his efforts to probe the soft ground of the shoreline for creatures to eat, or perhaps to take back to the nest.

Blackbird by the Bantock Park pond
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David

Venturing further afield: coot chicks, West Park

Venturing further afield: coot chicks, West Park

I think these coot chicks are from the first brood to hatch in West Park this year. If so, they’ve grown big enough to make forays half way round the island.

They’ve also grown big enough to forage for some of their own food, while still able to persuade the parents to feed them almost continually.

If it is the same chicks, the numbers, sadly, have fallen from five to two or perhaps three despite the parents’ efforts.

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David

Bantock Park pond with marsh marigolds

Bantock Park pond with marsh marigolds

More from Bantock Park. The pool, which really is tidy. Surely, back in the days when the land was a working farm, the pond must have been bigger than this?

Whatever, these pictures were taken a couple of weeks abo when the marsh marigold flowers were about at their best.

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David

Going to seed: tulip, Bantock

Going to seed: tulip, Bantock

One of the tulips in the Dutch Garden at Bantock House. The petals all fallen as the seeds begin to ripen. To me, the plant looks as attractive as it did when it was in flower, despite being a lot less showy.

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David

Green, yellow, black, blue: scarlet tiger moth caterpillar on alkanet

Green, yellow, black, blue: scarlet tiger moth caterpillar on alkanet

When this year’s alkanet plants were still fresh, and probably with leaves which were still soft and tender, several scarlet tiger moth caterpillars had been grazing on them. They grew large and fat, then disappeared, and are hopefully now pupating to emerge as moths, perhaps later in the summer.

After what seemed to be quite a long gap, another small one, seen here, appeared. It, too, is now grazing on the alkanet leaves.

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David

Dutch Garden with tulips, Bantock House

Dutch Garden with tulips, Bantock House

The formal Dutch Garden at Bantock Park, looking towards the back of Bantock House. The garden is overlooked by the outdoor seating of the café which is now in the former barn and stables of the one-time farm.

Dutch Garden with tulips, Bantock House
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David

Goslings ashore, West Park

Goslings ashore, West Park

The West Park Canada goose parents and this year’s goslings. The goslings were now nine or ten days old, growing fast, and busy eating to fuel that growth.