Monday, September 05, 2011

To everything- turn, turn, turn...

As summer eases itself into autumn/fall, things are beginning to change. The days are shortening, at least the amount of light each day is a little less. The hedgerows are alive with berries and fruits and the green of high-summer that blanketed the countryside is starting to fade.

All is not lost though, for associated with the loss of the emeralds comes all manner of delights that will soon form a new canvas to be admired; and what a palette it'll be.


Rain on autumnal leaf.

I didn't plan to get all poetic there! I do love the autumn months though; frosty mornings, spiders webs hung with dew, the patterns of warm breath as it meets with the cold air. Crisp, fallen leaves underfoot, the riot of colour amongst the ancient woodland trees. shafts of sunlight through increasingly bare branches, fungi, fabulous sunsets.....

Setting sun behind Union Mill at Cranbrook.

Sunset-complete with mini-whirlwind.

Autumn skies

The changing season hasn't adversely affected the bug-hunting (yet) in fact, the first few days of September have been quite productive.
As I'd hoped, the numbers of dragonfly have increased dramatically with more sightings locally over the past weekend than probably the rest of the summer.
Mostly Common Darters it has to be said but there are a few of the larger Hawkers getting about now and even one or two Emeralds.

 Common Darter Dragonfly

Some of the shield-bugs that I've been seeing as nymphs I'm now sighting as adults. A few of them will soon be changing colour too as they acquire their winter coats. The Forest Bug (Pentatoma rufipes) that is a fairly common bug that can be seen locally on many deciduous trees, will probably be with us feeding on fruit and any caterpillars it happens to find until it becomes dormant from November through to next spring.

Pentatoma rufipes.

Another interesting creature that, as its name would suggest, becomes prevalent at this time of year is the harvestman. Harvestman (Opiliones) are closely related to spiders; unlike spiders though, the do not have segmented bodies and cannot spin a web,
It catches it's prey with hooks on the end of it's legs; it can also shed a leg to escape capture. They will eat small insects, snails and worms.

Interestingly, fossils have been found in Scotland that are in excess of 400 million years old and they show that the basic structure of the harvestman has changed little.

There is no song associated with the oak bush-cricket but they are fully winged.The cricket is nocturnal and not usually to be seen in the daytime (although my photo was taken mid-morning) and becomes more active at night when it can be attracted to lights and even found in houses or under street lights.This bush-cricket is restricted to woodlands of all types and hedgerows although it may also be found on garden shrubs.

 Oak Bush-Cricket (male)

The best time to spot these little crickets? From now until wintertime.


Lastly for this blog entry; I'm raising some Comma Butterfly larvae that fingers crossed will pupate to emerge as adult insects that I'll then be able to release into local woods that have had a poor year for these striking butterflies. It'll be my small contribution to the local population for years to come if all goes to plan.

I plan to update the blog on my efforts to raise these caterpillars but for now I'll leave you with this splash of colour that is a comma larva photographed on hop, with bright red geranium flowers forming the backdrop.

Comma Butterfly larva.

A Comma Butterfly

Until the next time then...

Footnote: I apologise if some of the text in this entry is poorly spaced, it is down to blogger and not me! I've tried to correct it but been unable to.



  1. I am sure that the Comma butterflies will emerge as you are looking after them so well...........

  2. I hope so too Lizzie. I'm doing my best but it isn't easy ensuring they all survive. So far so good though.

  3. I love all the colours in your shots! I wonder is the Harvestman the same as a Daddy-longlegs?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Apologies...I messed up on my answer!

    Anyhow, was trying to say that yes, Harvestman to us in the U.K. and Daddy-longlegs to you in Canada and the U.S. Whereas, we call the Cellar Spider a Daddy-longlegs over here....are you following this?

  6. Thanks, it did look like one ( your detail is amazing)... I am pretty sure I don't need a picture of your cellar one though... they sound bigger and darker...

  7. Some amazing images here John, I like the layout of this blog, must do something with mine.

  8. Thanks Gill-good to know you're there :-)
    It's a real challenge to make myself do the updates, there never seems to be enough time-but rewarding when it's done (hopefully interesting too).


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