Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Fairhaven Lake I

I went to Fairhaven lake last week to see if I could find a Puss Moth caterpillar on the Poplars. I couldn't, but I think I saw (bit feeble I know but when I looked a second time it had gone) a Poplar Hawk Moth caterpillar.

There were loads of these bright orange eggs on the Poplar leaves. Shouldn't be too hard to identify!

As I was going across the Moss Road yesterday a predominantly blue hawker flew up to the windscreen I also saw one Corn Bunting and a small mouse like creature. The other evening there was a horde of Rooks feeding on the field. I am intending to watch them some time to see where they roost.
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Fairhaven Lake II

No Puss Moth caterpillars but this Soldier Beetle Cantharis pellucida

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Monday, 23 July 2007

Spider Update

This shows the pattern on the spider's back a bit better (see below). I am hoping this will aid identification.
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Spider Update etc

This spider was after the tiny caterpillers abseiling from the crab-apple tree in the front garden. It has a broken cross pattern across the abdomen.

I noticed some grasshoppers (or crickets - update to follow) in the rough patch of grass the other side of the road by the garage where we keep the cars occasionally. I am not sure if these two specimens are of the same species or not. The top one seems to have more prominant pale-edged folds on the shoulders and the eyes look to be a different colour and angle. Update: This is a Common Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus.

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Sunday, 22 July 2007

Red Lily Beetle (Doh)

This Red Lily Beetle Lilioceris lilii was doing what it does best on our lilies yeaterday morning during a brief respite from the torrential rain we have been 'enjoying' recently. Lily beetles 'squeek' when distressed. If you are a very sad person or simply very fond of lilies you can hear a lily beetle squeek here. There is more interesting info about them here. For an interesting description of research into Lily Beetle control have a look here.
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Friday, 13 July 2007

Mould 'Experiment'

Lisa's 'experiment' with mould on her drink finally came to an end yesterday when I poured it down the sink (except for the crust which was solid and had to be taken out and chucked in the bin - lovely.)

I'm sure you will agree the experiment was a great success. I think she was really testing how long she could get away with it before I got rid of it.

I don't think it will be easy to identify the mould. Maybe we might have evolved a new life form given a little bit longer - we'll never know.

It was surprisingly solid by the end. Lisa had been upturning it with a spoon every day or so.
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A Moth & a Spider

This moth appeared on the outside of the front room window just as I was about to clean the inside (as you can see it needed it). Its wingspan was around the diameter of a 5 pence piece. Update: This is a Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyl sometimes known as the Twenty-Plumed Moth. It feeds mainly on Honeysuckle flowers.

This tiny spider crawled accross the sill a few moments later.
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Ansdell Station 11.7.07

This Cinnabar Moth caterpillar was feeding on Ragwort as is its wont as we set off for Manchester on Wednesday.

The station has some great habitat. This is just a small scruffy part of it. There is some really interesting Cinnabar info here.
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Sunday, 8 July 2007


This creature looking very like some sort of froghopper was lurking amongst the daisies this morning.
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Compost Bin Visitors

These three characters were crawling around our compost bin this morning.

I'm pretty sure this is a fruit fly, Drosophila.

And this looks like a baby Rose Aphid. I promise there will be something here apart from creepie-crawlies soon (probably).
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Saturday, 7 July 2007


This fly (not a house fly I don't think) and many others like it flocked to the compost material from the kitchen I left on the table outside the back door...

...and this is what attracted it - mould on a banana. There's no accounting for taste!
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2 bugs to identify...

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Hoverfly aerobics...

This hoverfly had a jolly good workout on the convolvulus this morning!

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Thursday, 5 July 2007

Testing, testing....

I had a look at a guide to close-up photography a couple of days ago and decided to do some test shots in the garden this morning, adapting the info to make it easier to start with. I actually really like hand-holding in available light but results are really hit and miss and virtually never really sharp (see pics below). Anyway this shot was my first fly using this technique and i was gobsmacked - it worked!!! (This shot is full frame - the others on this page have mostly been cropped.

This fly dusted itself with pollen on a campanula before alighting on this red flower.

This and the shot below are of the same very obliging hoverfly who didn't seem to be at all bothered by my close approach!

So I don't forget I used the flash on Auto hand held in the other hand to the hand held camera. I set the lens to the approx extension I wanted and then swayed in and out to get the focus. The flash was set to F11 and the camera to F22 to start with and I altered things as I went along depending on how the exposure looked on the preview. I tried to regulate the flash to subject distance in relation to the lens by resting the flash against the camera plate. (Or I just altered the distance and direction as and when.) The good news it it seems to work ok, but it is very fiddly and is by no stretch of the imagination a standardised and reliable system. Will try to get that sorted soon...(but don't hold your breath as it's not playing to my strengths, really!)
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Testing II

Two flies and a bee to identify...

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