Readers of a certain age might recall a popular song called “Lazy Sunday” by a group named The Small Faces. They reached number two in the charts around April 1968 and were only kept off top spot by the public appetite for Cliff Richards’ Eurovision smash “Congratulations.”

The Faces song, which re-charted eight years later, started buzzing around my brain recently on a rare warm, sunny Sabbath when I grabbed some rest and relaxation watching an entertaining cast of birds and insects to-ing and fro-ing in my garden.

A butterfly provided the warm-up act, frequently flashing blue as it fluttered and twisted around a group of shrubs. This small visitor could only have been Common Blue or Holly blue and soon revealed itself as the latter with its white bordered upperwings including a hint of black in the corners. Holly Blues first emerge in April but it refused to alight for closer inspection so I could not tell if it was male or female. Eventually it drifted over into a neighbour’s garden.

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I glugged another sip of tea and looked up. There against the blue sky were several scythe-like dark shapes slicing through the warm Sunday air. Swifts, summer visitors from Africa, are the most impressive flight masters who easily undertake long distance trips while performing acrobatics to catch insect prey in mid-air.

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Holly Blue by Jim Butler

Suddenly a real treat. One Swift broke formation, descended rapidly and roared right through my garden so fast and so close I could hear the swish of wings as it passed. Wow.

I’d hardly recovered when up popped another garden visitor. Ants may not be everyone’s cup of tea but they occupy an important place in the food chain. As a couple crawled across my foot I remembered the Green Woodpecker who sometimes visits to hoover them up. Even when underground, ants can still be captured by this large green and red bird armed with a chisel bill and a tongue so long it sucks up insects from well below the surface of my lawn.

Nothing else turned up but, hey, as the Small Faces sang, mustn’t grumble.