after a long journey through space the red admiral has landed at tranquility base (notice strong curvature of horizon on this small rocky planet). And this was only after fighting off several wasps to feed on a fallen apple. This was clearly one of those "don't mess with me" types of butterfly.
and much to our surprise the martins are raising another brood. They won't have much time to fatten up before they return to Africa.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
a 14 spot ladybird (very small, less than 5mm long and therefore not one of the dreaded variations of the harlequin ladybird) foraging in the seed head of angelica, the flowers of which are very popular with a range of flying bugs (see below)
Friday, August 27, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
all of these harlequin ladybirds were on one large piece of hogweed in the meadow today. They are displacing the native two spot ladybird and were not even mentioned in my 1985 edition of the Illustrated book of Insects
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
as the summer draws on more and more of our wild flower seed mix is coming into flower, and with the flowers come a wide range of insects, some too small even for macro photography and I am not buying a microscope for Spot (most useful to find his brain I suspect)
Sunday, August 15, 2010
we set off a hen pheasant this morning, and much to our surprise we discovered that she had been sitting on a clutch of about a dozen eggs buried deep in the meadow vegetation. It seems very late for a pheasant to be laying eggs as the hunting/shooting season has just started. I hope she returns to her nest before too long. The dogs were very keen on trying them out.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
a crab spider (Misumena vatia) not very well disguised on some buddleia, waiting for some unsuspecting bee or butterfly to land. Apparently they can change colour at will, and are usually yellow and live on goldenrod. This one seems to have got it wrong.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Sunday, August 08, 2010
and a brilliant small tortoiseshell (bottom), a wall brown (middle) nowhere near a wall but unusually still for this restless butterfly, and an odd shaped fly with a dog on its back (top).
10 August 2010
Thanks to my friends at Wild about Britain, this fly has been identified as chaetorellia jaceae, a fruit fly that lives on knapweed and related species and is used in other parts of the world as a form of biological control for these plant species where they have become invasive. As a group these flies have very elabotrate mating rituals, and often these sorts of colours to act as bayesian mimicry to put off their predators.
later on 10 August 2010
or is it Chaetostomella cylindrica ? This is the definitive fly for a dog's blog.
the knapweed is out and makes a tangled carpet of purple interspersed with tall bunches of fragrant meadowsweet, red sorrel, and the brilliant yellow of bird's foot trefoil. All of these plants act as host to a wide range of insects and the meadows are full of a vast number of them, butterflies, moths, bees, hover flies, grasshoppers,crickets,all busily fuelling up for the serious business ahead.
you may wonder why we have posted two blurry pictures but if you look closely you can just pick out two blurry orange blobs. These are male and female silver washed fritillary butterflies caught during their courtship dance. I have read about this, but today I saw it for myself for the first time. The male barrel rolls around the female while she flies along in a relatively straight line. If she is suitably impressed she lands and he releases pheromones from the linear scales on his fore-wings, and if she remains impressed they mate. It was so soul satisfying to see this private little ritual.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
In a pleasantly reassuring way the yearly cycle of our lives continues. Many hours of hard work and loving attention go into the annual flower show which although much smaller than many years ago is still well supported. Followers of Spot's blog will be pleased to know that several of the pictures from the blog did quite well in the photography classes. The top two photos show people getting their exibits ready (and tasting them it would seem), and the bottom photo shows the lunch ladies who work extremely hard in the village hall to get lunch ready for all the judges and stewards and organisers and dignitaries (of whom there are few).
and (one of ) the prize winners was ...
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Sunday, August 01, 2010
the show included a spectacular display of raptors, including a griffon vulture, bald headed eagle, a sea eagle and an eagle owl.
5 August 2010
and by way of a post script for Tara, an even closer close up of that American icon.