Tuesday 17 August 2010

More garden safari !

I spent a few more moments on my garden safari today and here are a few of what was found.

Reminiscent of a Dogon grain silo the Poppy seed head is fantastic in its simplicity and  functionality.

Structural  degradation follows to ensure that all seed are of course spread.

The start of something beautiful? this year or next??

Early days feasting.

Growth hormones kick in!! just goes to show you should eat your greens!

Larval stage of one of the Shield bugs, but which one??

A 22 spot

Another one of those annoying flies that just defy ID!

Another day in the "Jungle" during the week perhaps!

Sunday 15 August 2010

Osprey at VP, plus a few other things

With the prospect of a holy uneventful day with forecast heavy rain a trip to VP seemed the most logical thing to do!!! At least there was the ability to stay out of the rain for the most part. It was a bit like watching a jelly set but that was soon altered with the first bird of the day being a juvenile Peregrine as it zoomed through going to the North. It seemed as if the Kingfishers had abandoned VP until today when a very obliging youngun stopped for a few pictures.

A fly through juvenile Peregrine at VP today 14th August 2010
On approach.
An obliging young Kingfisher, put in an appearance.
Posed for several minutes as it worked what the noise was.
Very Inquisitive.
An unknown species , unless you know?

A Goldspot Moth.
The last two are again from my foray into, what know resembles my back garden!

So even with the torrential rain, the day produced some nice birds. Not withstanding an Osprey going through VP at 15:45. Well exciting, indeed could even be back in the morning, or rather later today!!
Cheers, Paul.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

HEADLINES: Queen assaulted by unknown male !!!!

Sitting in the garden musing over the dearth of avian prey to photograph, I notice that the colonies of Black Ants were erupting in great numbers. It was the arrival, very close, of one particular new queen with attachment. This prompted me to wonder if they had coupled prior to take off or it was an act of supreme aerial jiggery pokery that resulted in the passenger? Well I can confirm that the mating flight is consumated in the air, by landing on the queens back and working down to the relavant postion. Once the deed is done the male will drop off and die with in a day or two.
On closer inspection of the colonies I could find or see no Queen's departing their selected blade of grass with a suitor bumming a ride!!! so I just enjoyed some of the ant,ics! getting attacked in the process.
Boy that's a long way down!
Pre-flight checks, sneaky passenger trying his luck.
Take off, going down!
Probably pre-seminated any take off pad was in order.
Landing was proving a hazard, not for the spiders though.
And then along comes a Staphy!! a real corker of a Rove Beetle (Staphylinus erythropterus) watching the long wings being re-folded into the carapace is always an intriging thing to see.
Some interesting mouth parts on this specimen indeed.

There were, as the evening drew in, many other species roaming my back jungle. But more of that later.
Cheers and a cup of tea..

Monday 9 August 2010

Couple caught having sex at local reserve !!!

Common Blue's mating, notice the difference between the sexes. The day promised much on the weather front, we were not to be disappointed in the least. Sunshine, some wind and the odd downpour kept us on our toes!! The number of Common Blue's was very good on the scrub along the hedge, along with Small Skipper, Silver Y, Small White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Peacock, A Holly Blue, Gate Keeper, Meadow Brown & a Dark gottaway???  along with a least seven Grass moths which I did not even attempt to ID. and a lot of Grasshoppers to round things of. The sickly Mink found in the car park area was not seen.
But as per previous years, the special on the menu, was the abundance of Wasp spiders this year. A reported maximum of 14! were found along the causeway, a few pictures of which follow.

With one Arachnid already wrapped up for later, this , Male Wasp spider ( Small Spider upper right) makes gentle and repeated strokes of the females rear end wary of every small movement she makes, ready to flee at a moments notice should his foreplay not be to her liking!!!. but his disolved insides might be!

The characteristic zigzag pattern is shown nicely in the web, but what looks a hasty repair to the right is not quite so good, the consideration is that these marking form a lure !

She bites!! very well.

 Another Female begins the digesting process making it much easier to consume the juicy soft parts!! Just visible, is one of the two yellow stripes on the underbelly.

This 5th instar nymph , a Meadow Grasshopper,(thanks Rob.) that abound on the reserve, is one of many species that exist in the UK.
And there's more to come of a few of the other finds.