Not Just Any Duck

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.

Small Wonder

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

The Unknown

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

Kentish Snail

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

Netted Slug

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.

Pergamasus

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

Spotlight on The Grey Dagger Acronicta psi 

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 

The Dangers of Courtship For The Male Garden Spider Araneus diadematus

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

In Autumn Colours

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.

Time For A Change

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.

Phalangium opilio

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

One For Halloween

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.

Variegated Centipede

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.

999 Species

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

Something Alien

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

Becoming

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.

Snake Drama

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

Amazing Builders

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

Hunting & Hunted

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

Growing Bigger

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