Glory-of-the-snow


Scilla forbesii – A bit late for this one really, as the flowering period is now over. But one of the early spring flowering bulbs. Double-click to enlarge image.


Glory-of-the-snow Scilla forbesii

© Peter Hillman ♦ 27th March 2020 ♦ Front garden, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Common Green Lacewing


Chrysoperla carnea group – I am always taken by the delicacy these insects possess. These are very much respected in the garden as they eat large numbers of aphids and mites. If you wish to learn more about these fascinating insects please click on the link below. Double-click image to enlarge.


Neuroptera: The Lacewings


Common Green Lacewing Chrysoperla carnea group

© Peter Hillman ♦ 9th April 2020 ♦ Rear garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Not A Bottle Cleaner


Orchesella villosa – Please do not mistake this for a bottle or pipe cleaner. It is a springtail, and boy do they spring when you uspet their day. At least this species has a nice short name. Amazing what you can find by just lifting a small plant pot. For more info on Springtails you can travel there via the link below. Please double-click both images to enlarge.


Collembola: The Springtails


Orchesella villosa

Orchesella villosa

© Peter Hillman ♦ 7th April 2020 ♦ Rear garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Growing Up


White-lipped Snail (Cepaea hortensis) juvenile – A new generation of snails are appearing in the garden, ready to munch their way through it. This little one has such a delicate and elegant looking shell. Double-click to enlarge image.

White-lipped Snail Cepaea hortensis juvenile

© Peter Hillman ♦ 12th April 2020 ♦ Rear garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Beautiful Blue


This is a Panola … a cross between a pansy and a viola. I planted them last autumn in some pots to give the garden a little winter colour, and they are still going beautifully.

I like to challenge myself in photography, and I try to aim to refrain from cropping where possible, but I know that is not always possible to do, but I managed it here. My aim was not only to capture the heart of the flower and the detail not always seen there in normal naked eye viewing, but also the vivid colours. I refrained from using flash, and captured the image outside of harsh sunlight. In post-processing I altered the white balance slighlty to get close on the original colouring as I had under exposed fractionally. I also reduced any noise, and sharpened using the high pass filter rather than smart sharpen, as I wanted it to be subtle. Double-click image to enlarge.

Panola

© Peter Hillman ♦ 12th April 2020 ♦ Local wood, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Cuckooflower


Cardamine pratensis – Also called Lady’s-smock. When I first eyed this lovely flower on my allowed ‘once a day’ excercise walk, it took my breath clean away, I was so bedazzled by its beauty. This is a sure sign that spring has arrived. x2 photographs. Double click images to enlarge.


Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis

Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis

© Peter Hillman ♦ 10th April 2020 ♦ Local field, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Crucifer Shieldbug


Eurydema (Eurydema) oleracea – Also called the Cabbage Bug, this is a new visitor to the garden for me. Another one of the shieldbugs/stink bugs, but this one has a red colour form, too, which I have not seen. Double-click image to enlarge.


Crucifer Shieldbug Eurydema oleracea

© Peter Hillman ♦ 6th April 2020 ♦ Rear garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


On The Run


Xantholinus sp. – This is another case of ‘nature sometimes comes to you’. I found this tiny rove beetle … yes it is a beetle … in my bathroom sink just seconds from going down the plughole. I found a nice piece of moss for it outside, and as it was doing a run for it I managed this shot. Double click image if you wanna get closer …


Xantholinus

© Peter Hillman ♦ 5th April 2020 ♦ In bathroom, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Nature Sometimes Comes To You


Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) – I found this little beetle on my bedroom windowsill. They are around 2-3mm (1/8in) long. Double-click image for a closer look.


Varied Carpet Beetle Anthrenus verbasci

© Peter Hillman ♦ 16th March 2020 ♦ Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Hairy Snail ?


I found this juevenile snail today. It is teeny-weeny small. But the startling thing I discovered about it when I got the photos on the PC was that the shell had fine hairs on it. Apparently this helps it stick to the leaves when feeding. Double-click image for a closer look.


Juvenille Snail

© Peter Hillman ♦ 3rd April 2020 ♦ Rear garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Common Yellow Dung Fly


Scathophaga stercoraria – flies, like spiders, are not everyones cup tea, I know … but here is another fly, this one I discovered resting on fern. Double-click image to enlarge.


Common Yellow Dung Fly Scathophaga stercoraria

© Peter Hillman ♦ 22nd June 2019 ♦ Local woodland path, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


A Rare Male


Goldenrod Spider (Misumena vatia) – I see the female plenty of times around the garden, but hardly ever the male. This one must have been real hungry perched on the edge of a petal trying to grab passing flies.


Goldenrod Spider Misumena vatia male

Goldenrod Spider Misumena vatia male

© Peter Hillman ♦ 20th May 2018 ♦ Rear garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


The Strange


Heterotoma planicornis – I always think the early stage of true bugs look kind of strange, and this nymph is no exception. The adults grow up to around 5mm (just under a 1/4in) long, and they look quite strange, too. See last image. Double-click image to enlarge.

Heterotoma planicornis nymph

Heterotoma planicornis

© Peter Hillman ♦ 30th June 2019 ♦ Rear garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Puppy Dog Eyes


Pseudeuophrys lanigera – Me and Mike Powell (you should really go and check out his fabulous blog ‘My Journey Through Photography’ right now!) We know some folk get a little creeped out by these things … but who could fail to be moved by the cute little puppy dog eyes on this very small jumping spider? Double-click images if you really want to.


Pseudeuophrys lanigera

Pseudeuophrys lanigera

© Peter Hillman ♦ 18th May 2018 ♦ Living room ceiling, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


What The Bees Leave Behind


Daisy (Bellis perennis) – You can’t help but notice these pretty little daisies springing up all over now, little oasises for the spring insects for them to feed from. The way the pollen has been scattered around the centre of this one, I would say somebody has already been here.


Daisy Bellis perennis

© Peter Hillman ♦ 26th March 2020 ♦ Front grass verge, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


The Odd


Orchesella cincta – This is another one of those tiny springtails I go on about in the odd post. I can’t help it, but I find them fascinating. This one has a nice yellow band around its third abdominal segment, and, quite unfortunately, one missing antenna. It’s amazing to think you have a whole little community living right under a plant pot and most of us don’t even know it. I don’t think this one quite realised the pot had gone. Double-click image to close in on it …


Orchesella cincta

© Peter Hillman ♦ 1st July 2017 ♦ Back garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Garden Spider


Araneus diadematus – This was a relatively small Garden Spider which was hanging around on a fence panel at the bottom of the garden. I am always taken by the intricacy of their webs, but it looks like this one has had one or two problems. Double-click image for a closer look.


Garden Spider Araneus diadematus

© Peter Hillman ♦ 21st June 2019 ♦ Back garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


The Best Bed For A Bug In Town


Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina) – Looking through my living window yesterday evening I noticed this bug had got the most comfortable and fashionble bed for the night, cosily nestled right in the centre of one of my Camellia blossoms. Now that’s what I call sleeping in style. Double-click image to get closer, but please be quite so as not to wake him.


Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina

© Peter Hillman ♦ 24th March 2020 ♦ Front garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Spring Has Sprung


7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) – I have seen quite a few of these around the garden, and no doubt the sunshine and elevated temperatures have enticed them out of hibernation. Good news for the garden. This one was in the hollow of a curved leaf. Double-click image to enlarge.


7-spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata

© Peter Hillman ♦ 24th March 2020 ♦ Back garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Deuterosminthurus pallipes forma repandus


Warning: serious tongue twister here. Despite the very long name, it is a very small springtail which owns it. In this microcosmos even the fine leaf hairs can be an obstacle for it to negotiate. Less than 1mm long (3/64in) long, barely seen by the naked eye, but so very cute … in my eyes, anyway. It goes without saying – double-click image for a closer look.


Deuterosminthurus pallipes forma repandus

© Peter Hillman ♦ 11th March 2020 ♦ Back garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Mottled Beauty


Alcis repandata – This was the one that nearly got away, but thankfully landed and rested on the side of the garden shed at the time. Quite an attractive moth beauty this, which can be extremely variable. A regular visitor to light sources.


Mottled Beauty Alcis repandata

© Peter Hillman ♦14th June 2017 ♦ Back garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Oak Eggar


Lasiocampa quercus – I came across this striking hairy caterpillar as it crawled over a sea wall when I was on a visit to Llandudno, Wales. They do not feed on oak as the English name leads us to believe, but its cocoon looks much like an acorn. The hairs may cause skin irritation, which is the caterpillar’s defense mechanism. They can grow up to 80mm (3 -1/8in) long.


Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus

Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus

Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus

The larva can take a year to grow in the south, and two years further north where it is cooler. They feed quite rapidly and change appearance as they grow which can make them hard to identify compared to other Eggars. It feeds on a variety of plants, including heather and bramble.

Double-click images to enlarge.


© Peter Hillman ♦ 24th April 2014 ♦ West Shore, Llandudno, Wales ♦ Nikon D3200


Brindled Pug


Eupithecia abbreviata – This attractive moth must have been bedazzled by my garage light and I found it on the door the next morning. Like most pugs they are only small with a wingspan of around 22mm (7/8in). It is an early spring species, and usually inhabits deciduous woodland where the caterpillars feed on oak and hawthorn. Double-click to enlarge images.


Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviata

Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviata

© Peter Hillman ♦ 11th March 2020 ♦ Back garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Self Isolating


Sonronius dahlbomi – Like others around the world I am having to self isolate here because of the Coronavirus. I draw an interesting parallel to these tiny leafhopper bugs. Over the years I have come across these brightly coloured bugs (they are only about 5mm (3/16in) long) on a narrow woodland path and always in one particular spot amongst fern and nettle. I see them nowhere else. It is an uncommon species and localised, and found mainly in woodland in central and southern England.

I have had online discussions with an expert on these insects and he too has found that this particular species always seems to appear in a tight-knit cluster and does not develop out from it, which is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps they feel safe and content where they are, and they have everything they need in their confined living space to survive, and will only move if threatened to do so. The bottom two images show the early juvenile stage. You may want to double-click for a closer look.


Sonronius dahlbomi

Sonronius dahlbomi

Sonronius dahlbomi

Sonronius dahlbomi nymph

Sonronius dahlbomi nymph

© Peter Hillman ♦ 9th, 22nd & 30th June 2019 ♦ Local woodland path, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Green Shieldbug


Palomena prasina – As soon as the sun appears these shieldbugs crawl out of their hidey-holes and bask in its warming rays. This one is still sporting its autumn camouflage suit, although I have noticed others are gradually changing back to green to blend in with the new spring growth. Double-click on image to enlarge.


Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina

© Peter Hillman ♦ 16th March 2020 ♦ Back garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Turnip Sawfly


Athalia rosae – I see a lot of these brightly coloured sawflies in the garden. They enjoy their leisure time and spend a lot of it just sitting about on lush green leaves in the flowerbeds. They grow up to around 8mm (5/16in) long, and love feeding on nectar from a range of flowers. The larva feeds on cruciferous plants where it can be a pest. Double-click the images if you wanna get closer.


Turnip Sawfly Athalia rosae

Turnip Sawfly Athalia rosae

Turnip Sawfly Athalia rosae

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 20th June 2019
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire


Ornate-tailed Digger Wasp

Cerceris rybyensis – That is a bit of a mouthful, I know. I spotted this feeding off the rich nectar of spindle flowers growing in my back garden. Double-click for a closer peek.


Ornate-tailed Digger Wasp Cerceris rybyensis

Ornate-tailed Digger Wasp Cerceris rybyensis

Ornate-tailed Digger Wasp Cerceris rybyensis
Ornate-tailed Digger Wasp Cerceris rybyensis

Ornate-tailed Digger Wasp Cerceris rybyensis

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 15th June 2019
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire


Frogs Are Coming


Common Frog (Rana temporaria) – This is an early stage tadpole, and I appear to have zillions of these teeming in my small garden pond at the moment. Note the branch-like appendages either side of the head … these are external gills, which as the tadpole develops will become wrapped in a pocket of skin to become internal. Amazing to think that this little fellow, if all goes well, will become a frog! Double-click for a closer peek.


Common Frog Rana temporaria early stage tadpole

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 16th March 2020
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire


Common Malachite Beetle


Malachius bipustulatus – I occasionally spot these on my local summer walks. They are only a small beetle at around 5-8mm (3/16-5/16in) long, but the bright red spots give them away. Kind of reminds me of that final scene in Jurassic Park. Double-click to enter the staring contest.


Common Malachite Beetle Malachius bipustulatus

Common Malachite Beetle Malachius bipustulatus

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 7th July 2019
Place: Local field, Staffordshire


Heart & Dart


Agrotis exclamationis – You can clearly see why they call this moth the Heart & Dart. Double-click for a closer look-see.



Heart & Dart Agrotis exclamationis

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 29th June 2019
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


Common Yellow-face Bee


Hylaeus communis – This is a small plasterer bee between 6-8mm (1/4-5/16in) long. The male, as shown here, has a very bright array of yellow facial markings. It is a common visitor to gardens, although this was the first time I had seen it here. Double-click for a closer look.


Common Yellow-face Bee Hylaeus communis male

Common Yellow-face Bee Hylaeus communis male

Common Yellow-face Bee Hylaeus communis male

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 16th June 2019
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire


Huddled Together


Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina) – Although these three are hardly green, for they have not long come out of hibernation and are still sporting their autumnal colours. I took these after venturing into the back garden today. The sun was bright and cheerful and very inviting, but it was very windy and cold, so I had to wrap up. I was only out there for around ten minutes before I was forced back indoors to rest. It is such a frustration when the mind is willing but the body just can’t. At least I managed to get a few shots off, and here is one of them … oh yes … the green bugs which aren’t green … but they will soon be with the advent of spring.


Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 12th March 2020
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire


Satin Grass-veneer


Crambus perlella – Out in the fresh summer fields I often disturb these moths and others of their kind from the grasses and low vegetation as I pass through. They don’t usually fly far and soon settle back into the growth. You do have to watch very carefully where they land as you can easily lose them.


Satin Grass-veneer Crambus perlella

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 7th July 2019
Place: Local field, Staffordshire


Two Fan-foots


At first glance these two fairly well-defined macro-moths from the family Erebidae – subfamily Herminiinae – look quite similar. But look more closely … see how their finely drawn lines are different? Double-click to peer closer …


The Fan-foot Herminia tarsipennalis
The Fan-foot (Herminia tarsipennalis)

Small Fan-foot Herminia grisealis
Small Fan-foot (Herminia grisealis)

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 6th July 2019 & 29th June 2019
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire


The Weird


Dock Bug (Coreus marginatus) early stage nymph. Wherever there is dock (Rumex) you are bound to spot a few of these living on it, feeding on the fruits and seeds. They pass through five stages before becoming an adult as in the last image. Double-click to get closer still …


Dock Bug Coreus marginatus early stage nymph

Dock Bug Coreus marginatus

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 7th July 2019
Place: Local field, Staffordshire


Tricholauxania praeusta


A small fly at around 4mm (3/16in) long. They are often seen sunning themselves on vegetaion, and they are fairly common and widespread. The larvae of these flies are important recyclers of dead plant material. Doubl-click for a closer look-see.


Tricholauxania praeusta

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 23rd June 2019
Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire


Codling Moth


Cydia pomonella – Although the caterpillar of this small moth can be quite a pest to fruit trees, the adult has quite some fine detail over all, and a lovely coppery finish to the bottom end of the forewings. Double-click for a closer look.


Codling Moth Cydia pomonella

Codling Moth Cydia pomonella

Copyright: Peter Hillman
Camera used: Nikon D7200
Date taken: 29th June 2019
Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire