White Bryony


Bryonia dioica – I spotted the greenish-white blooms of this wild flower as I approached a hedgerow dividing two fields, one of my favourite places to visit. Only a couple of blooms had been teased out by the spring sunshine, but there was plenty of fresh buds, and creeping tendrils were pushing their way through the grass and other lush vegetation, beginning the climb upwards. The fig-like leaves have five deep cut lobes. The red berries of this plant are quite poisonous. Double-click images to enlarge.


White Bryony Bryonia dioica

White Bryony Bryonia dioica leaf

© Peter Hillman ♦ 9th May 2020 ♦ Local hedgerow, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Rising Up


Viola arvensis – It’s almost euphoric when you are ambling through an expansive field and suddenly spot one of these tiny beauties rising amidst the sea of grasses. Double-click image to enlarge.


Field Pansy Viola arvensis

© Peter Hillman ♦ 22nd April 2020 ♦ Local field, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Under A Strip of Bark

Discus Snail Discus rotundatus

By my plant pot full of moss I have a strip of bark leaning against some heather. Occasionally I will lift it to see what is sheltering in the dark and damp place it helps create there. Clinging to the underneath of the bark I found a 5-7mm (around 1/4 inch) Discus Snail (Discus rotundatus). For such a small creature it has such amazing detail and colours.

Double click if you wanna get closer…

October 2019 © Pete Hillman.

That Plant Pot Again

Philodromus

This is but a small plant pot, and I know you may think this odd, but I just grow a clump of moss in it all year round and nothing more. It appears to attract some varied wildlife (especially if you lift it up and look underneath it) and this Philodromus sp. crab spider was one of them. I spotted it yesterday whilst working the garden, and it appeared to be in a bit of a state of confusion, poor thing, as it kept going round and around the top edge of the pot.

Double click if you wanna get closer…

October 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Moss Becomes A Jungle

Clubiona sp.

I was photographing another species of spider on a plant pot (a lot seems to happen on this plant pot for some reason?) and this one came along. I think it is a young Clubiona sp. and it was so small it was getting lost amongst the moss leaves.

The darn thing would not keep still hence it is not as sharp as I would like.

Double click if you wanna get closer…

October 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Neuroptera

Common Green Lacewing Chrysoperla carnea

This is the Common Green Lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea), which I discovered in my garden the other day. They are good at devouring greenfly, so can be one of the gardener’s best buddies. It belongs to the order mentioned in the title ‘Neuroptera’ – which contains the ‘net-winged insects’ such as lacewings, antlions and mantidflies.

One of the fine ‘lace’ wings on this one are slightly damaged as you can see, but it is still quite a beautiful insect. I especially like the pale green colour and yellow stripe running from head to tail.

Double click if you wanna get closer…

October 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Cereal Leaf Beetle Oulema sp.

Cereal Leaf Beetle Oulema sp.

Cereal Leaf Beetle Oulema sp.

Cereal Leaf Beetle Oulema sp.

x3 images. I found this little critter lounging on the edge of a plant pot.

Double click if you wanna get closer…

Rear garden. October 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Something Cheesy

House Mouse Mus musculus

Now … where did I put that cheese?

House Mouse Mus musculus

Ah-ha … I have sniffed it and now I spy it!

House Mouse Mus musculus

Yum-yum in my tum …

House Mouse Mus musculus

… but I think I prefer the seed the feathered things drop from above …. squeak!


Here I have tried to capture a few moments in the life of a House Mouse (Mus musculus) … or mice … as I have seen a few of them under my birdfeeder where they have been grabbing the white heart sunflower seeds the finches drop.

They were quite funny to watch. I sat in a garden chair barely a couple of arms lengths away, and every time they appeared from beneath the flora I tried to snap them they ran for cover! They knew I was there, watching them, but I think they were curious about me and it became a bit of a game with them. Eventually they appeared in the open and they did their thing … which was eat … and eat some more …

September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Arrival of The Daddy Longlegs

Tipula oleracea

Of x2 images. Yep, it is that time of the year you will find these large flies attracted to the house lights, and before you know it you will have these gangly flying insects bouncing manically off your kitchen or bathroom ceilings and walls as you either try to swat them or catch them. I tend to catch them in a plastic container, let them out the window, and if I am not careful they will fly straight back in again! One of the delights as autumn closes in and the nights draw in.

Tipula oleracea

Tipula oleraceais is probably the commonest cranefly found in Britain, and with its blunted end this is a male.

Front garden. September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

 

A Little Red On Black

Pine Ladybird Exochomus quadripustulatus

This is a new species for me in the garden. It is the Pine Ladybird (Exochomus quadripustulatus). It is quite small between 3 to 4mm long. It has a distinct rim around the base of the wingcases. Although it is mainly found where Pine grows, it also likes Hawthorn which I happen to have in the garden.

September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

 

Small Black And White

Anoecia corni
Anoecia corni

There was a bunch of these tiny critters hanging around on a wall out the front.

September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Blending In

Hairy Shieldbug Dolycoris baccarum

I discovered this Hairy Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum) on my Water Mint this morning.

Feel free to click the image to enlarge and click again to get even closer …

September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Coming To Rest

Comma Polygonia c-album

I love seeing these Comma (Polygonia c-album) butterflies in the garden, and occasionally they briefly settle for a moment or two.

September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Black & White

Large White Pieris brassicae

It appears it has been quite a good year here for butterflies, which is really good news. This Large White (Pieris brassicae) made a fleeting visit to my garden before fluttering off over the fence to elsewhere.

These ‘Whites’ can be quite a challenge to photograph, especially in bright sunshine. Auto camera setting never seem to work as the whites get blown out loosing the fine lines and detail in the wings, so I always drop exposure on full manual to try and compensate.

September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Playing Hide & Seek

Drone Fly Eristalis tenax

This Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax) was quite comical to observe, because it really was quite a shy fly. It was basking on a leaf near my pond, and as I neared it instead of flying off like they do most of the time it crawled behind the leaf and peered out at me. When I turned my back it was out again on the surface of the leaf! I approached again, and it snuck behind the leaf again, just popping its head out.

Feel free to click the image to enlarge and click again to get even closer …

September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Beautiful In Red

Rhopalus subrufus

This true bug is called Rhopalus subrufus, and a new species for me in the garden. It appeared to be attracted to my Water Mint. Looking closer it is quite a hairy species, and one of only four of this genus found in the UK.

September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Finding Shelter

Cabbage White

Of 2 images. I was sitting in my living room looking out the window when I caught a glimpse of this butterfly as it searched and settled for some shelter between rain showers.

Cabbage White

© Pete Hillman August 2019.

Turnstone

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Also called the Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), this was another first for me. There were many of these little birds on the seashore bulldozing the seaweed out of their way with their heads in search of invertebrates hiding underneath it.

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Feel free to click the images to enlarge and click again to get even closer …


East Cowes, Isle of Wight. September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

 

When The Tide Goes Out

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

When the tide goes out to reveal shallow pools and masses of clumped seaweed it is time for the waders to come and feed.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

This Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) does an odd little dance to agitate the water to stir up small fish and invertebrates on which it feeds.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Feel free to click the images to enlarge and click again to get even closer …


East Cowes, Isle of Wight. September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Small And Small

Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina) early instar

Feel free to click the images to enlarge and click again to get even closer …


Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina) early instar. Rear garden. © Pete Hillman August 2019.

Give It Some Mussel

Common Mussel Mytilus edulis

Common Mussel (Mytilus edulis)  Exmouth, Devon. August 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Getting Bigger

Common Frog Rana temporaria

I have noticed how big the young frogs are now growing in the garden pond. I spied four of them amongst the Water Mint and pond weed poking their heads out the water.

Common Frog Rana temporaria

Common Frog Rana temporaria

Common Frog Rana temporaria

Feel free to click the images to enlarge and click again to get even closer …


© Pete Hillman August 2019

The Alien

Garden Spider Araneus diadematus

… not really … just the Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus)

Yep … if you really, really wanna … feel free to click on the image to enlarge and click again to get even … (deep scary voice here) … closer …


July 2019, rear garden, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Burying The Dead

Common Sexton Beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides

I initially found this gloriously decorated beetle called the Common Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus vespilloides) on my kitchen windowcill. You may notice it has a couple of passengers hitching a ride on its pronotum. These are Poecilochirus mites which don’t actually harm the beetle, but grab a ride to the next burial site. These beetles have an important role of getting rid of carrion by burying beneath them for their larvae to feed. The cheeky hitchhiking mites hop off when the beetle has found a new carcass, and the mites then breed themselves, their timing so perfect that when the adult beetles are ready to fly the new generation of mites hitch a ride with them in search of another dead animal.

Feel free to click on the images to enlarge and click again to get even closer …


July 2019, rear garden, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

On The Shed wall

Common Froghopper Philaenus spumarius

Common Froghopper Philaenus spumarius

2 photos in this post …. feel free to click to enlarge and click again to get even closer on the images …

This is the very varied Common Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius) clinging nicely to my shed wall.


July 2019, rear garden, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Staying Alive

Common Frog Rana temporaria juvenile

I wondered where all my tadpoles had gone. Spotted a couple of little juvenile frogs today hiding under a piece of bark in my back yard. Below how it began life feeding on algae in the pond into the carnivorous creature above. It is one way to keep the slugs down. Nature is trully a wonderful thing!

July 2019, rear garden, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Join The Clubiona

Clubiona sp.

Clubiona sp.

Clubiona sp.

I found this little Clubiona sp. of spider under my green recycling bin hatch.

Oh … do not click twice on the top full face image unless you really want this nice spider right in ‘your’ face ….


July 2019, rear garden, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

All The Browns

Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina male

Out in the local fields these Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) are flourishing this summer. An odd perspective, I know, but sometimes all you get is all they want to show you before they flutter 🙂


Feel free to click to enlarge and click again to get even closer on the images …

July 2019, local field, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Zebra

Zebra Spider Salticus scenicus

These Zebra Spider (Salticus scenicus), always appear to be quite territorial, and I only ever see them around the outside of my shed and garage. And boy do these little jumping spiders jump!

Feel free to click to enlarge and click again to get even closer on the images …

July 2019, rear garden, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

A Drink Of Thistle, Thank You

Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola

Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola

Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola

Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola

Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola). The fields have been teeming with these lovely little ones. Many thanks to Brian from the brilliant blog ‘Butterflies To Dragsters‘ for accurately identifying this beautiful species.


Feel free to click to enlarge and click again to get even closer on the images …

July 2019, local field, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Around In Circles

Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus
Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

Thankfully it appears to be quite a good year for these butterflies, with me spotting quite a few out in the local fields.


July 2019, local field, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

The Crab, The Bee And Three Flies

Goldenrod Spider Misumena vatia

This mighty female crab spider (Misumena vatia) grabs itself a nice bee for lunch and these three little freeloader flies want their piece of it as well.

Feel free to click to enlarge and click again to get even closer … only if you really want to.


July 2019, local field, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.