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!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Wren Calling

We've been watching the wrens for a while now. It seems to have been a good year for them.
This is a photo of its two young from a few days earlier. Sorry to say, it only seems to have one chick now.
This video, I know the vital part (the bird!) is blurred, but turn the sound up. This seems to be the parent searching for its chick, who was actually just a few feet away under some courgette plants! Or perhaps it's a warning signal?


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Common Blue Butterfly

Finally some hot weather and a few more butterflies are being seen on the allotment site. Mostly whites and tortoiseshells but I found this Common Blue (female) enjoying the marigolds in the greenhouse today.
She should be careful in there. We've seen wasps catch butteflies and proceed to eat the body, leaving the wings to fall to the ground :-(
As you can see they're actually a bit prettier when their wings are closed - but there is a blue hue to the body. Looks like a completely different butterfly, but it isn't.
What a beauty!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Soldiers and A Young Robin

An annual visitor, the soldier beetles are on site. They arrived a bit later and in fewer numbers than in previous years, but they're busy trying to make up those numbers.. As usual!
This young robin was hopping on and off the fence to find grubs and spiders, but was oblivious to the fact that we had put a pile of mealworms on the post right beside him! We'd even soaked them in water to make them easier to pick up! Tut, well, the magpies will enjoy them!