Sunday, 1 October 2017

Figwort Sawfly

When I found this (and another one with it) I thought  they were caterpillars. I love the frilly Pierrot-style it has!
I identified it by searching for 'wrinkly white caterpillar with black dots'.
Quite a pretty specimen I hope you agree. Figwort is a very common weed on our allotment site so no wonder these larvae are on site too.
The parents, like all sawflies, are carnivores feeding on various small flies. They look like wasps, with long dangly legs. In fact, I think this is an adult Figwort Sawfly, rather than the Digger Wasp I identified it as!



Sunday, 27 August 2017

Blue Shieldbug

I'm a fan of shield bugs generally. They're such a pleasing shape. Yesterday I was putting a mass of dried weeds into the compost bin and found this little beauty - Zicrona Caerulea!
He was easy to spot, but not so easy to photograph. I identified it through the excellent British Bugs website. It's a predatory bug so I'm thinking not that unwelcome on the allotment, as long as he predates the bad guys!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

(Cabbage) White Butterfly

This (cabbage) white butterfly appears to be waiting for our valerian to flower. He/she has arrived a bit early. I can't tell whether it was a large or small white, but i love the tints of colour on its wings.
I'm sure there will be plenty more around as plants begin to flower and plotholders start planting out their veggies!
Make sure your netting mesh is fine enough - it's amazing what these can sneak through to lay their eggs!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Commas and Spots

We've seen both of these on the plot before but I think they deserve a mention as they're both quite special looking.
First, there's the comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album); such an interesting shape which makes it so identifiable - not sure why it was so interested in the post where we feed the robins and blackbirds - a bit of a risky place to hang round I think!
Next is the 22-spot ladybird - such a tiny little bug.
It's a grass-eater, not a seedling eater so no problem with seeing them on the site.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Birds and the Vole

Not the most welcome visitor on the plot, but has to be one of the most beautiful.
especially when the sun reflects on his Spring plumage
And he's tracking down a mate, hence the interesting stance!
We're pleased to have seen more thrushes this year, eating lots of snails.
As always our little robin is also joining us.
And the magpies are watching for us to move away so that they can clear the food that we've put out for the robins!
The site is full of birds and their song but most don't pose as well as these 3 species. Oh, and there's also the occasional mammal - hello vole!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

New Year, New Bird(s)

We had been feeding the abundance of squabbling robins on the site, waiting for the magpies to arrive, when we heard a new bird sound.
We were delighted to see a green woodpecker (Picus viridis) in the ash tree.
That's the first one we've seen on the site.
Another new sighting was on the walk to the site today (so I'm sneakily adding it to this post). It was in a playground close to the allotments.
Friends have identified it as a fieldfare (Turdus pilaris). What an attractive looking bird; a member of the thrush family and a Winter UK visitor apparently. It wasn't with other fieldfares but we have seen a lot of other thrushes this Winter - making the most of the many mollusc that were around last year no doubt!
I bet they don't show up for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of the month though! 
https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Spider and the Fly (and the wasp)

Ok, it's not actually a spider, it's a harvestman (an opilione) but it looks similar... Well, it starts out life with 8 legs. But look at those pincers! (Actually, they're called palps).
This one Dicranopalpus ramosus has lost a couple of legs, it's an escape mechanism. It eats small insects, so welcome to stay on the plot.
This is just a greenbottle fly, but they're so photogenic I couldn't resist posting. The metallic look is so appealing, even if the fly isn't.
And I would call the wasp a friend, of sorts. They keep our greenhouse clear of flies. Though Jamie did get stung yesterday :-(
Here's this one tucking in, whilst holding on with just one leg!
They leave the wings of the poor prey to flutter to the ground as they zoom off to catch their next snack. Fascinating, though grisly, to see!