Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) are often taken for granted, but I hadn’t seen one for quite sometime. So when I came across several males and females on the local canal they were a pure delight to see as they paddled across the still waters with autumn reflections.
x3 images. Double click to enlarge. Another dedicated mother looking after her eggs. This is the Cream-backed Comb-footed Spider (Neottiura bimaculata), which was a new species for me this year, discovered in the back garden. Only a small one with a body length of around 3 mm (1/8 in). The female carries her egg-sac attached to… Read More Small Wonder
x3 images. Double click to enlarge. This is a small comb-footed spider called Paidiscura pallens. She is protecting her sputnik-shaped egg-sac.
I came across this green, wavering cushion which is around 25 mm (1 in) in diameter in my birdbath. The water is crystal clear, but here was this thing quite happily growing there. I don’t know what it is. It might be an alga of some kind, or it could be be something from outer… Read More The Unknown
An immature Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus). Lots of these around, and they appear to have become quite used to people.
Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) feeding on Sycamore ‘helicopter’ seeds.
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
x3 images. Double click to enlarge. The Kentish Snail (Monacha (Monacha) cantiana) is one of the commonest snails I notice on my walks along the edge of local woodland. The shell has a lovely mottled appearance, which can vary. It is one that can be found in gardens, too, but I have not seen any here… Read More Kentish Snail
Gardeners probably won’t like this one. The Netted Slug (Deroceras (Deroceras) reticulatum) is very much hated as a pest as it eats the leaves of many various plants and crops, including seedlings. It also goes by the names as the Field Slug or Grey Field Slug.
x3 images. Double click to enlarge. I just really like some names of species (or in this case the genus) so I used it as the title for this post. Pergamasus are verocious predatory mites of soil and leaf-litter. And unfortunately not much more info is forthcoming. Here are three individuals I discovered .. yep,… Read More Pergamasus
x2 images. Double click to enlarge. This is one of the smallest mites I have come across. I discovered it by simply lifting up a small plant pot. And once disturbed they never stay still for a second, so you have to try and focus and snap them on the move. In fact, I can… Read More One of The Smallest
x5 images. Double click to enlarge. About a month ago my neighbour calls round (he hit 80 this year and is as fit as a fiddle), and in the palm of his hand he had this little critter. He wondered what it was (he really has an interest in wildlife), and he thought it had… Read More Say “Hi!” To Pudibunda
x16 photos. Double click to enlarge It was when I purchased my first digital camera back in 2005, a Sony Cybershot compact camera, that my love for nature and the side of the natural world, that is not always often seen but is always there to be found, became rekindled. My interest in moths –… Read More Over 250 Moths Over 16 Years
There are two very similar ‘dagger’ species in Britain, the Grey Dagger (Acronicta psi) and the Dark Dagger (Acronicta tridens). The adults cannot be accurately identified visually without genital dissection and microscopic scrutiny – but I don’t like to harm them so this adult would be recorded as an aggregate species Acronicta psi/tridens. The adult is readily… Read More Spotlight on The Grey Dagger Acronicta psi
Kind of a take on Steve Gringold’s excellent Nature Photography Blog, and his wonderful ‘Frog Friday’ series. I came across this one today, a Friday, in the back garden. This is quite a large and well-marked one.
x8 images. Double click to enlarge. It was a fellow blogger Sconzani who runs a wonderful blog with the lovely tiltle Earthstar ~ a celebration of nature who got me looking much more closely at the leaves on not only the trees, but most anything else which has leaves. Leafminers can be from different insect… Read More Can’t See The Wood For The Trees? … What About The Leaves?
x7 images. Double click to enlarge. It’s amazing what you see sometimes as you travel through your own backyard. I spied this female Araneus diadematus some days ago. She is really quite a big individual and had made a large orbweb stretched between a plant pot and some shrubbery. Here she has a good meal… Read More The Dangers of Courtship For The Male Garden Spider Araneus diadematus
x6 images. Double click to enlarge. They say when you are out in the wilds and need to drink water from the land you should boil it first … and you can see why. The above image is a mosquito larva from the genus Culex. The larva lives submerged in water and feeds on particles… Read More In Still Waters
x3 images. Double click to enlarge. This is the Rosemary Beetle (Chrysolina americana) which I found on my Lavender. It looks like it has been crafted from soft metals and has been purposefully engraved with rows of tiny circular indents. As beautiful as it may look, it is considered a pest of Rosemary, Lavender, Sage,… Read More Beautiful Beetle
x2 images. Double click to enlarge. This is Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa), and its is quite an extraordinary looking moth. Very distinctively shaped and patterned which make it resemble a withered leaf. It rests with its wings folded in an unusual fashion. It is often seen during the day resting on walls, fences and foliage.
x6 images. Double click to enlarge. It is end of season for the tomato plant my neighbour had kindly given me in a hanging basket. It had been bountiful in fruit, but it was it now in its last days as autumn approaches, and I had the thought to look more closely at it before… Read More Life In A Dying Tomato Plant
x3 images. Double click to enlarge. Introducing the Ant Woodlouse Platyarthrus hoffmannseggii. Growing up to a length of 5 mm (1/4 in), it is blind and spends all of its life underground. It is always nearly found in association with ants within their nests where they have a good relationship. The woodlouse is tolerated and… Read More A Good Relationship
x5 images. Double click to enlarge. Lifting a piece of bark in a garden border, the last thing I expected to find was a delightful Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris). It remained where it was, frozen to the spot. I hadn’t got my camera, so I gently placed the bark back and went into the house to… Read More What Lies Under A Piece of Bark
x3 images. Double click to enlarge. This is the 600th insect species I have uploaded on Nature Journeys, and what a bright and beautiful one it is, too. It is a fly, a hoverfly called Epistrophe grossulariae. It prefers woodland edges, meadows and wetalnd areas where it will feed on the nectar from flowers. The… Read More The 600
1x photo. Double click to enlarge. At 1 mm (3/64 in) or less in length these small mites called Euzetes globulus are hard enough to focus on and photograph, but you add in that they are always on the move it multiplies the challenge. Thankfully these are slow movers compared to other mites, which give… Read More Face On
x2 photos. Double click to enlarge. Species Musca autumnalis. A sexually dimorphic species where the males have bright orange and black patterned abdomens and the females are light grey and black. These are obviously all males. This species gets its common name from its habit of landing on the faces of cattle or horses where they… Read More Face Fly
x2 images. Double click to enlarge. These are actually called ‘Moth Flies’, or ‘Owl Flies’ or even ‘Drain Flies’. This one is Psychoda surcoufi. This is very small with a wingspan of 2 mm (5/64 in). They belong to a family of flies called Psychodidae. You can see why they are called ‘Moth Flies’, for… Read More Not a Moth or Even An Owl
x1 image. Double click to enlarge. This attractive fly is called the Broad Centurian (Chloromyia formosa). It is a sexually dimorphic species where both male and female have a shiny green thorax but the female has a blue-green abdomen, sometimes with a violet sheen, and the male has a bronze abdomen. This is a female. Look… Read More Fabulous Fly
x2 images. Double click to enlarge. This afternoon I noticed quite a congregation on the back patio. Small Black Ant (Lasius niger) emerging into daylight for the first time in their lives for their nuptial flight. Unfortunately not long after the heavens opened and put a proper dampner on things as the rain fell by the… Read More Emerging Into A New World
x1 image. Double click to enlarge. Another one of the Hemiptera – true bugs – but a small but delicately beautiful member of the Tingidae family commonly known as lace bugs. this one is called the Hawthorn Lacebug (Physatocheila dumetorum). A small bug at around 3 mm (1/8th inch) long.
x1 image. Double click to enlarge Lacewing larva wearing its debris overcoat. They often cover themselves in all kinds of natural debris, even the bodies of victims, to help disguise itself. These will eat up the aphids in most gardens.
x8 photos. Double click to enlarge. There are almost 70 species of Hemiptera (True Bugs) on this site, yet there are almost 2,000 species in Great Britain. Turn over a leaf or having a look amongst them will turn up all kinds of true bugs, adult and nymph stages. They are a very diverse group… Read More Under Leaves, Over Leaves
x8 images. Double click to enlarge. Here are a selection of ‘freshwater’ shells found near the edge of a local canal. The Asian Clam is a rapidly spreading invasive species which was unknown in Britain before October 1998. Originated in China, Korea, south-eastern Russia, and the Ussuri Basin. The first time it has been recorded… Read More No Seashells Here
x3 images. Double click to enlarge fully. A close relation to the spiders and harvestmen, this mite is one of the Anystis sp. – known as the whirlygig mites. One of the slightly larger mites I have come across, it moves very rapidly across surfaces, hunting invertebrate prey. Notice how far back the eyes are.
x4 images. Double click to enlarge in full. I don’t tend to post many slugs on this blog, although I have photographed quite a few, because I realise they are probably not everyones favourite animal. Yet I think this particular one with its gold speckling which are chromatophores (pigment cells) catches the eye and stand… Read More Turned to Gold
x2 images. Double click to enlarge fully. I found this very bristly and brightly coloured moth caterpillar on my green recyling bin. It is called the Vapourer (Orgyia antiqua), and it feeds on various broadleaved trees and bushes.
x4 images. Double click to enlarge. These extraordinary growths are caused by a miscroscopic mite called Eriophyes tiliae, and it is commonly known as the Red Nail Gall Mite. They appear on the upper surface of the leaves of Large-leaved Lime (Tilia platyphyllos) and the hybrid Common Lime(Tilia x europaea). I found this tree in a… Read More The Leaves Have Been Nailed
Buff-tip Phalera bucephala, a moth mimicking a broken twig.
x2 images. Double click to enlarge. This year seems to have been a good year for the emergence of the Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) from the garden pond. I observed quite a few in the garden, and this one was resting on my garage wall.
x1 image. x2 focus stacked. Double click to enlarge. This is the Cucumber Green Spider Araniella cucurbitina sensu lato.