Sunday, 22 January 2017

Orange Tip Challenge

See if you can achieve what I have failed to do - find an Orange Tip pupa in the wild! It may be on garlic mustard (Jack-by-the-hedge) or else on some nearby stems. Whenever I have bred them through at home the caterpillars have always crawled off the garlic mustard onto sticks that I'd provided for the purpose but I'm aware of at least one attempt to pupate on garlic mustard in a garden in Beds in 2016, though that one was quickly predated by something.

Here is what you are looking for, with a shiny penny and a dirty thumbnail for size comparison. This was bred through last year and is patiently awaiting spring in my garden...

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Scarlet Tiger

I wasn't expecting my first encounter with an adult Scarlet Tiger to be in my own Bedford garden. Something flew up as I opened the back door and I was puzzled by this odd "butterfly" until it landed on the hedge and saw what it was. Gosh I thought and rushed indoors for my camera, at exactly the same moment as a courier knocked on the front door, desperate to offload a parcel for someone several doors down. By the time I'd got rid of him the moth had flown up to the top of the tall hedge, requiring a ladder to get even this under-side shot before it flew away.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Parkwood LNR

A delightful visit to Parkwood LNR, Brickhill this afternoon resulted in my first Emerald Damselfly sighting of the year:

Also seen were a couple of Large Red Damselflies,

1 male and 2 female Broad-bodied Chasers,

and an Azure Damselfly and Black-tailed Skimmer. One of the ponds also had a male Smooth Newt swimming in it.

There were also a couple of fresh Commas showing off their new wings:

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Silver-washed Fritillary

My first (male) Silver-washed Fritillary of the year, in Marston Thrift today...

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Melampyrum cristatum "discovery"

An unexpected surprise at Moleskin today - Melampyrum cristatum. There were no prior records for this 10km square in the Flora, and it wasn't known to the County Recorder, but the NBN Gateway shows that the National Trust recorded it there in 2012 and 2015.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Ruddy Darter

I'm currently holding pole position for the first Ruddy Darter of the year, at the small lake south of Marston Thrift car park.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Ledra aurita nymph

The extraordinary camouflage of a Ledra aurita nymph on my apple tree.

I also took some photos on my desk hoping for better shots. It was just after this one that I discovered that the nymphs can jump a considerable distance, taking 10 minutes to discover where it went! (It was safely restored to my apple tree after the photo-shoot).

Old Warden Tunnel

No sooner had Rory put out an email saying that no-one had reported Black-tailed Skimmer yet than I go an see one while doing my butterfly transect. The colours are a bit funny as I had the exposure set to manual and it was a bit over-exposed...

Also flushed a couple of owls, one paused long enough in the gloom to be snapped with the ISO wound up and identified as a juvenile Tawny Owl...

before flying off in a blur of feathers...

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Pogonocherus hispidus

That looks like a tiny longhorn beetle I thought, squinting without my reading glasses at something crawling on the inside of my kitchen window. Aiming my big macro lens at it confirmed the ID as Pogonocherus hispidus (not the very similar Pogonocherus hispidulus which has an extra spike in the centre of the trailing edge of the elytra).

In then flew out of the door, which is presumably how it arrived.

Monday, 30 May 2016


Male Orange Tip on Russian Comfrey at Roxton. Wouldn't be the same in black and white!

Sunday, 29 May 2016

100 Acres

A quick trip to 100 Acres to vent cabin fever when the sun finally came out in late afternoon. There were only a few insects around in the blustery conditions but a very cooperative female Banded Demoiselle kept returning to the same vantage point allowing some close-ups:

The males were much more wary, but I was able to grab a single image which wasn't too bad:

... and a 7-spot ladybird

Herb Robert

Some common flowers are simply taken for granted and over-looked. Here's a Herb Robert in my back garden...