Friday, April 27, 2012

How to write a good blog...

I just wanted to begin a bog entry with that word! I've been reading about the 'correct' way of writing a blog and apparently, you should always get right to the point of the blog and always be decisive, never hesitant.
I've always fought against people telling me the right way to do things, after all it's all subjective? It's my blog? One person's right way might not suit the next?
Oh bugger! Now I've broken the other rule about not getting to the point!
Best crack on then, whilst you're still there..

You'll now be rolling around laughing at my pre-amble no doubt (if not then humour me) and so whilst I'm tickling your funny-bone, I couldn't resist a quick photo when I passed this sheep when out walking t'other day...

What I've always wondered about sheep is:why is there only one word to describe singular and plural? I'm trying to think of another British animal that has the same for both? 

Eriocrana subpurpurella
The weather is still unfavourable in the main but we've been lucky enough to get a few hours of sunshine here and there, and that has been the time when I've been out with the camera and I've been able to find a few interesting things. The early moths are a welcome sight and this golden winged beauty was a nice find. Good numbers of these are appearing around oak trees now-it's a species that I usually see around the first week of April. But as with the cuckoo, that was also later this year and the damselflies which I've yet to find, it seems we may be a little behind here.

An even better find at the same location was the moth pictured below;this moth is the same species but the more uncommon form 'fastuosella' that has these wonderful dark blue, metallic blotches on its wings.

Eriocrana subpurpurella f.fastuosella

My ladybird sightings have consisted of almost exclusively 7-spots but I did see this 24-spot recently. These are one of our smaller ladybirds at around 3-4mm and are vegetarians. I've also read that it's unusual because it seldom has wings. It has a fine covering of hairs that makes it appear duller than most too.

A 24-spot Ladybird

Last year I photographed one of these that had just emerged and had yet to gain its spots: all ladybirds emerge without spots and then acquire them in the first few hours.

A freshly emerged 24-spot Ladybird

Whilst checking Jack-by-the-hedge for brassica bugs, I found this little sawfly-I'm not sure of species on this one but possibly Dolerus species? This one is a natural light shot.


Here's another of those 'can you identify' type pictures to ponder...

Any ideas?

Here's another big clue-does this help at all?

If you're still unsure as to what the top photograph is, then take a look at these profile shots...

Yes, these are Alderfly eggs. I visited local lakes a couple of days ago to look for early damselflies (non to be seen) and spotted these eggs in huge numbers. They were on most of the reeds beside the lakes and each batch contained, I guess close to one thousand ova. They must be expecting a high rate of predation once the larvae emerge and drop into the water. I know that they can take up to two years to mature and so I guess numbers will deplete during that time, otherwise we'd be overrun with these insects.

 Amazing how regimented they are

A side-on view 

A close-up

Like many aquatic insects, the adult life of alderflies is short – just a week or two from the time they emerge in late April to the end of June. By contrast the larvae live underwater for around 2 years, or occasionally three.
 The dark brown adult alderflies, which carry their wings folded in the shape of a tent over their backs, emerge from ponds, rivers and lakes in spring and early summer to mate and lay their eggs.

This last photo shows the alderfly actually in the process of egg-laying.

Even though my bug-hunting days have been few and far between through April, there is so much to see on the good days now that for once I have quite a bit more that I could share with you. However, nobody wants to spend too long reading a blog and so what I think I'll do is call it a day and then perhaps add another entry in the next few days. Call it a second instalment-it consists of photographs that were all taken over the same period and so will supplement this entry nicely. 

Until the next time then...


  1. Those Alderfly eggs are really cool! Good for you finding them among the reeds :)

  2. Thank-you Cathy. I'm always amazed at just how regimental they are too.


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