Tag Archives: Biology

PLAYING IN THE GARDEN


Rather than throw the honey jar away while there was still some in the bottom, I decided to leave the lid off and place it on it’s side on the Bar-B-Que. In truth I was hoping that it may attract some late night -flying moths.  However, after checking it at night for a couple of nights and finding nothing, I gave up the idea, but left the jar.

A day or two later the rain had stooped and the sun was briefly shining. I took a stroll down to the Bar-B-Que and was absolutely amazed at the number of Honey Bees and a couple of Wasps all guzzling as much as they could of the (now solidified) honey.  By the time I got there there were two dead Honey Bees and two live wasps amongst the tightly packed in ‘gang’! I watched it quite closely for a while and was surprised to see that both the bees and the wasps all ignored each other.

Honey Bees in Jar Honey Bees in Jar

 

The last remaining Wasp
The last remaining Wasp

 

 

The Garden at Night – 1


I may have mentioned before that the last thing I do at night is to take our mini longhaired Dachshund out into the garden. During the spring and summer when it was dry, she would spend more and more time sniffing about and mousing. So as not to rush her too much I started looking around the garden with my torch.  I have to say, for someone who is keen on Entomology, it was like someone had opened a door into a different world.  And when I think of how long it has taken me to realise this…..

So before long the torch was accompanied by camera and flash and extension tubes and goodness know what else to try and get shot of insects that were, in some cases getting smaller and smaller.  However, all things being equal I will hopefully starting posting some of the pix here.

Today I am going to start with, what is one the smallest orb spiders in the garden Araniella cucurbitina. These guys are so small the spread the web across a single leaf in many cases.  Hope you like it.

Small Orb Spider
Small Orb Spider

Sunday Times Feature on Litter


Hi all,

Ok, I have tried to make some sense of  the pics of the discarded Bra via a screen grab. I trust it works.

 

Screen grab of Sunday Times on line article on litter

 

A closer screen grab of the said Bra.

 

Now I should make it clear that I really don’t know much about the quality and costs of such under garments, but it looked like it was fairly expensive. How on earth could it have been forgotten?  What did the owner think when she got home and started to get undressed for bed? Surely she would have missed it then….if not sooner. Of course I am presuming that it was a her, could have been a him, then maybe he wouldn’t have missed it until he looked in the mirror.

:-0)

Gotta Feed The Kids


Firstly apologies for not being around very much lately, but that damned Shingles still has me by the armpit! I must say it is improving, but Doctor says expect another three weeks…cheers doc!

The shed door experiment failed miserably, the old scrumpy didn’t attract even a fly, so it’s back to the books. However, whilst in the garden I did notice a moth kinda hanging in a funny shape, from my outside lantern light. On further inspection I realised that the poor thing had been caught in/on a spider’s silk.  No sooner had I got close enough to try to identify the moth, than an Orb Spider came belting down from the top of the lantern to the moth, to ensure I didn’t nick it!

I must have spent the next 30 or 40 minutes just watching the clever creature, prepare the moth. It spent its time very carefully and meticulously wrapping the moth up in silk as if it was a joint of meat. It appeared to take for ages, and meanwhile I was trying to get shots of the process against the background of the bulb in the lantern. Then suddenly…almost in a flash the spider ‘ran’ up the hanging silk carrying the package with him. I was so surprised how strong the spider was that he could dash up the silk to its ‘lair’ carrying this lump.

Here are some pics, not as good as I would have liked but the lantern light was giving me problems….at least that’s my excuse.

Spider spots me looking at the moth and comes dashing down

Shot No.2

Orb Spider starts work on wrapping the moth

Shot 3.

Spider is making a thorough job of 'cocooning' the moth

Shot 4

Wrapping continues

Shot 5

Starting to finish of the wrapping, and preparing for the ascent

Shot 6

Being very meticulous and ensuring there are no loose ends

Shot 7

And now to get the shopping home

Shot 8

And finally, get the shopping home and into the larder.

Allowing the Garden to go back to the wild?


Three years ago we downsized to a nice small modern house. The only thing we didn’t particularly like was the garden. Mainly because for years we had always lived in properties that were close to nature. However, this property had a ‘Designer’ garden, with paviours, raised beds with chipped slate and a fountain! But nothing to attract insects etc. Now some people may like this and I am not knocking them, good luck to them but it’s not for us.
So this year I took the decision to just make a start, and to stop keeping everything so ‘tidy’.  I made a start on the raised bed with the fountain. Got rid of the fountain (it didn’t really work anyway) and the slate and just left it to see what will happen.  Consequently since the Spring this year weeds have proliferated including stinging nettles, Ragwort and some strange plants cropping up from the spillage of the bird seed from the bird-table!

Imagine my surprise when I spotted on the Ragwort  25 black & amber striped caterpillars. They are of course poisonous – mainly, as I am informed – because they eat the Ragwort which is in fact poisonous. The bright black & amber stripes warn other animals not to eat them. They are of course the larvae of The Cinnabar moth.

So, I think this is a good start, and each morning I eagerly rush out to the garden to inspect my new little family who are slowly devouring the flowers of the Ragwort. So far they are all still in place albeit slowing down a bit and moving down the plant to what appears to be a ‘resting’ place snuggled up on a nice broad leaf.

I intend to keep a watchful eye on the and hopefully photograph their progress. The photo below of the fully grown Cinnabar moth is from another day and another site, not in my garden, I have included it here because I think it illustrates nicely the metamorphosis.

Cinnabar moth larvae
The Cinnabar moth Larvae
The Cinnabar moth