The Nature Nerd

Today my list of chores has remained undone, the Royal Wedding has remained unwatched, the gardening will have to wait for another day – it was just so wonderful out in the meadows, that is where I have spent the day. Here are some of the things I have seen:

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This is a Red Mason Bee taken from below to show that they carry the pollen on their tummies rather than in pollen sacs on their legs which is what Honey Bees do. I had to be in a semi squat position to get to the right height for this photo and my leg muscles were screaming, so I was pleased when I finally managed to get a bee in focus.

Today there were two male Broad Bodied Chaser dragonflies at the new pond, leading to frequent noisy, aggressive pitch battles over the water. When they were not fighting, they were perched up next to each other waiting for a female. What absolutely magnificent creatures:

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Down at the wild pond, there was this delicate Damselfly:

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I know very little about Damselflies but I have looked this one up and I think it is a female Red-eyed Damselfly, although the book has her very much more green than this one is.

Also at the wild pond, several of these white moths are fluttering around in amongst the reeds:

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This is the Small China Mark moth – a male. Waterside vegetation is where he lives and his food plant is Duckweed – well, we have a lot of that.

Two butterflies put in their first appearance of the year today. The Wall is a species that is in huge decline and we have only seen a couple a year here, so it was lovely to see this male today. He was staking out a compost heap and was there all day awaiting a female.

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Here is the underside of the Wall’s wings:

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This Small Copper Butterfly is much more common, both here and generally:

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The Bird Ringer came by today because the Blue Tit babies in this nest were now big enough to be ringed:

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Ten baby birds in the nest are now sporting a lovely silver bangle and are safely back in the nest with the adults going back in carrying caterpillars:

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A fortnight ago I photographed this Cucumber Spider that had made a web within the leaf of a Wayfarer tree:

Araniella cucurbitina or opisthographa
Araniella cucurbitina or opisthographa

Well, things have moved on in this spider’s life. It has managed to catch itself bee in its web and is now building a nest for the next generation:

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I really don’t like spiders, but I am trying to get to know them and understand them more which may help. It hasn’t so far, though.

I talked about Green Longhorn Moths yesterday, but there was a mini swarm of seven of them on some Ivy today and I got some more pictures and they are so ridiculous they deserve another mention:

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While I was photographing the Longhorn swarm, this thing also passed through:

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Eeek – not in focus!

All I can say about this is that its a parasitic wasp, of which there are thousands of species. Things I don’t know and my books can’t help, such as this wasp, I put on ispotnature – a website run by the Open University where you can post your observations and there seem to be many knowledgeable people on it who identify it for you. Nothing so far this time, though.

If we were trying to support and encourage Wood Pigeons on the bare earth strip, then we would be so pleased with whats going on there:

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Although we are definitely not trying to encourage them, their presence on the strip might be what catches a Turtle Dove’s eye as it flies over. And it means that there is not a build up of feed from week to week which might bring disease. I sign off for now with another lovely shot of the Grey Partridge today:

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