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
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
This is Dicyrtomina saundersi, a springtail, and boy do they jump if they feel threatened. This is an uncropped image. I have experimented with extension tubes for the first time ever this morning, and have found using the 36 mm tube in combination with my Raynox 250 they work pretty well. Normally I would have… Read More Getting Even Closer
You may be wondering what an earth this blog title means? Well, coincidently for me, this is another of those species which has yet to be given a proper name! This is a globular springtail of around 1.5-2 mm (around 5/64 in). It has to be the prettiest and perhaps the cutest I have seen,… Read More Katiannidae genus nov.1. sp. nov.2
Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina) showing its autumn colours. It will go darker, turning to a deep bronze as winter takes hold and then will hibernate during the coldest period. In spring it will gradually turn back to full green.
This is the Common Shiny Woodlouse (Oniscus asellus), caught in the act of moulting, leaving behind ghostly exuviae. As I observed, it was like watching a car slowly backing out of a garage as it withdrew from the phantom casting.
This species of millipede looks rather similar to a woodlouse, and this can often lead to some confusion in identification. Its common name refers to its habit of rolling into a tight ball to protect itself from predation and to prevent itself from drying out. It is greyish-brown to blackish in colour, with about 11… Read More Pill Millipede Glomeris marginata
This is another new species for the garden, and they all appear to like my shed wall for some reason. This is a lovely female. A long-legged harvestman with an indistinct and variable light gray or brown body pattern. The saddle has one or two restrictions along its length giving it a waisted, or double-waisted… Read More Phalangium opilio
Quite a large dark millipede with a length of up to 60 mm (about 2/34 in). They take 2 to 3 years to mature, and can live for several years after first mating. It can be seen all year round, and is found in gardens, woodlands and anywhere with rocks or rotting trees under which… Read More White-legged Snake Millipede Tachypodoiulus niger
Dicyrtomina saundersi is its name, and not an insect (although previously considered to be) but a springtail. There is a kind of ‘spaceman’ like figure in the pattern towards the head, and a distinct dark barred patch towards the rear of the abdomen which helps separate it from similar species. It looked directly up at… Read More Cuter Than Cute – For A Bug
This is the caterpillar of the Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata). Sporting some spider netting pants, he appears quite relaxed.
Philoscia muscorum has a dark stripe along the centre of its back. One of the ‘famous 5’ very common British species of woodlouse most likely to be seen. Seen all year round, it forages for dead organic matter on which it feeds during the cover of night, hiding under stones, bark or logs during the day.… Read More Common Striped Woodlouse
Rabbit Hutch Spider (Steatoda bipunctata) – The first image has a kind of creepy smiley doll face. Commonly found near or in human habitation such as outbuildings or sheds, and probably rabbit hutches.
Odiellus spinosus – Its been a good year for harvestmen, and I have seen quite a few different species around, but I haven’t seen this one in the garden for some years now. This one has 3 distinct horns of similar length which, together, is called a ‘trident’, and has a dark oulined ‘saddle’ on… Read More Autumn Is A Time For Harvestmen
Lithobius (Lithobius) variegatus – This is a fairly large centipede growing up to 30 mm (1 1/4 in) long. It hides during the day under bark, stones, rotting logs or decaying vegetation, emerging at night to hunt other invertebrates by injecting them with venom. Found mainly in rural areas in woodland and moorland.
Common Harvestman Paroligolophus agrestis – This was quite something to see, a tiny springtail, Deuterosminthurus pallipes, hitching a ride on the back of a harvestman.
I have now recorded 999 species on this website, from plants to animals, fungi and even a cyanobacterium. I have stopped short of making this post ‘1000’ as the 999th species convinced me to use it as a marker milestone. Not surprising it happens to be an invertebrate, an arthropod, and an insect at that.… Read More 999 Species
I caught this one on my back decking peering in through my patio window before it decided to jump on top of the fence.
Daddy Long-legs Spider Pholcus phalangioides I always have these in the sheds, and garage, and they will also appear in the house. I leave them be in the sheds beacause they are not hurting anyone there or causing any bother, but in the house they have to go outside. If you do see one of… Read More Something Alien
Common Frog (Rana temporaria) – I found this one hiding under a rock near the garden pond. It was smaller than my little fingernail. As you can see it still has its tail, but its limbs are developing, and it can hop a short distance, although a little clumsily. Early days yet.
Grass Snake (Natrix helvetica) – Strolling along the canal, the light ever changing as slate grey clouds block the sun, threatening rain again, and seeing me with my camera, a friendly fisherman calls out, “There’s a frog being eaten by a snake over there!” I pass under a nearby canal bridge built during the Industrial… Read More Snake Drama
Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) – On a stroll along the local canal I spotted the nest first and the bird second on the opposite side of the bank. I was taken by the construction of woven stems which form this nest, and how it was built on a section of submerged tree. There are jokes about ‘birdbrain’… Read More Amazing Builders
Blackbird (Turdus merula) – This beautiful young blackbird visited my pond this afternoon as I was watering the garden, and was so bold it stayed a while and allowed me to get quite close. Good job, too, because I only had my macro lens fitted. The last day of May and the last photos of May… Read More A Bold Young Blackbird
It is coming up to 4 years this June that I have been blogging on WordPress. I have done a species tally of the ‘life’ featured on this site, and it is around 874 species, featuring all forms of flora and fauna I have been most fortunate enough to encounter on my life’s journey so… Read More 874 And Counting
Common Frog (Rana temporaria) – Life in the garden pond can be quite a challenge. As featured in a previous post, I watched damselflies hunting flies, snatching them out of the air. Now, as newly emerging damselfies are leaving the water where they have been as larvae for the past year or so, I have… Read More Hunting & Hunted
Daddy Long-legs Spider (Pholcus phalangioides) – These have been regular tenants in my sheds and garage (they are evicted from the house on sight) for as long as I remember. I think they are one of the strangest of spiders around. If you disturb them in their web they go crazy and shake and wobble… Read More Hanging In The Shed
Common Frog (Rana temporaria) – I can’t believe what a frenzy of activity is going on in the garden pond at the moment. It is teeming with tadpoles and all of them are scraping algae from the rocks, so much so some of them are virtually picked clean. They have grown so much bigger, too.… Read More Growing Bigger