Monday, 20 June 2011

It's the week Wimbledon starts so, of course, the weather has been utterly hideous. As a result I've had little desire to sit in the garden in the pouring rain. But here are a few snaps I did manage when the rain wasn't chucking it down.



French marigold

The beginning of a new pitcher plant

Drama Queen Poppy

Heading towards the stock flowers

A bee on the wild geranium

Leaf-cutter bee (Megachile centuncularis)

I'm hoping for better weather but I'm not betting my cat biscuits that it will appear anytime soon!
Until next time.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Magic Monday

Not a vast amount to report today. Everything is springing back into life after the days of rain we've had. However, our first chirruping adult grasshopper was spotted, and one of our toads from last year reappeared in the pond.

Common field grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus)

14 spot ladybird (Propylea quatuordecimpunctata)

Common Toad

Until next time,

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Leaf-cutter bee

Never has there been a time when I've been a little in two minds about wanting a species of bee to visit the garden. More the merrier has always been my attitude - until now. If you'd seen how much damage this leaf-cutter bee has done to the leaves of the climbing rose, you may also be in two minds. But, on balance, I'm very glad to see this bee visiting the garden. It is undeniably fascinating to watch it at work, ploughing through the leaves of your favourite plants. I'm just thankful they aren't here in large numbers. It's been such a cold and grey day today that, when not much else was flying, I was quite surprised to see it out and about.

Leaf-Cutter Bee (Megachile centuncularis)

Until next time,

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Wasps and a not so busy bee

Over the past couple of days I've not had much time out in the garden with my camera. Frank assured me that he had credible intelligence which suggested that we should expect an invasion from a troop of anarchic badgers. So, I've actually been doing some proper work - guarding the garden from advancing mustelids. A busy bee I may have been, but I did get a chance to grab some quick pictures of some of the garden's regular visitors.

This wasp was back and forth most of the afternoon to collect water from the natural wells within the teasel. He'd fly off and return again a few moments later.

Out of the pool and into the evening sun

We have an old uprooted tree stump out in the garden. Despite it gradually being eaten away by its many visitors, we instinctively seem to use as a very rustic seat. It's a regular haunt of my current favourite visitor to the garden, the blue mason bee. I often find it, and many other small insects, sitting on it as they bask in the last of the late evening sun.

Blue mason bee (Osmia caerulescens)

There are also a lot of tiny wasps out in the garden this week. They seem perfectly fond of the tiny flowers on the Herchura.

Until next time,

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Weird and colourful Wednesday

What a strange, but interesting, day I had in the garden today. I saw a few things that I'd never seen before. I saw one thing that I'd probably be happy never to see again, at least not under a magnifying glass. This day may have been a bit gruesome in places, but it was also a very colourful day indeed.

This is, by far, my favourite UK spider - a zebra spider. It's a small jumping spider with exceptional eyesight.

Salticus scenicus

Salticus scenicus

And this is another spider being predated by a solitary wasp. It wasn't the most pleasant thing I've ever seen before my own breakfast, but it was fascinating. How the wasp managed to fly with the weight of the spider in its mandibles, I don't know.

This very colourful insect is a ruby-tailed wasp. It's sometimes thought of as 'the kingfisher of the insect world', and it's not hard to see why. This particular one was less than 1cm long but, nonetheless, because of it's striking colour it was easy to spot. As far as I know, this tiny wasp feeds on nectar, so spiders need not fear. However, it's sometimes called 'the cuckoo wasp' because it lays its eggs in the nests of solitary wasps and bees. We seem to have a lot of mason and mining bees in the garden, and solitary wasps, so it's no wonder that we also have the ruby-tailed wasp out there as well. I will try and get some much better pictures of it but I was itching to show you the pretty colours!

Ruby-tailed wasp

And whilst we're on the subject of unusually bright colour - check out this fly's eyes. Again, it was a tiny fly, but I couldn't help but notice the ummissable eyes. They seemed to follow me around the garden, and they genuinely were that colour. In fact, they probably still are that colour, unless the fly has since been eaten by something, obviously!

And this fly is either praying that it doesn't get eaten anytime soon, or applauding the sheer oddness of it all!

It's never dull in the garden, especially when the sun shines!

Until next time,