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.
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.
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 Philodromussp. 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.
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.
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.
… 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 …
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 oleraceais is probably the commonest cranefly found in Britain, and with its blunted end this is a male.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
Feel free to click the images to enlarge and click again to get even closer …
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 …
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!
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 …