Saturday, May 05, 2012

I don't mind the wet weather, it's fine by me...

It's still a case of trying to dodge the rain to photograph and record invertebrates for now, as the sunshine of a warm March declined into one of the wettest April months on record.
 May has begun in similar fashion: but on one of the few sunny mornings we've had I ventured out to check local ponds for damselflies and was pleased to find several had emerged at each of the ponds.

A Large Red Damselfly

Different weather conditions suits different creatures of course and I've noticed this year that whereas previous years have seen the tops of nettles becoming home to weevils, they seem to be full of earwigs now. Something to do with the dampness no doubt.


This earwig, pictured above wasn't actually on nettle but unusually on a grass stem, overhanging the pond where I found the damselfly. It must have been there all night as it was soaked.

I took another shot from a different angle that had bluebells in the background and I quite like the effect.....

The other observation I've made is that some critters just don't seem to mind, or perhaps they're not even aware of, the bad weather. If you're brave enough to venture out with the camera, or perhaps in my case, stupid enough! There's always something to be found and photographed.It may not be what you were looking for-most times it isn't, but I can usually find something.

This attractive little beetle was sitting a'top a large grass seed-head and was making no attempt to shelter from the rain.
'Malachius bipustulatus' is the scientific name for this one, I can never remember that though (as with most of these complicated names) and so I prefer it's common name of Malachite Beetle.

Easily recognised by the twin red spots at it's rear and reasonably easy to see, even though it's only around 5-6mm by virtue of the fact it has the bright, metallic green elytra.

Malachite Beetle face-on close up

The other creature that loves all this wet weather of course is the humble snail. I've not seen any figures yet that say this is going to be a good year for them but if the numbers I've been seeing are anything to go by, they probably are.

The first shot here is a natural light photo, hence the paler, more subdued colours. As you can see in the photograph below the addition of flash, especially on a dull day, can result in a more saturated image. I possibly overdid the flash a tad here too as it's close to being blown. I wanted to share this shot though and frankly, couldn't be arsed to 'PS' the image!

Just hangin'

Returning to Coleoptera (Beetles) for a second. On yet another foray into what was once a woodland walk, but now resembles a paddy-field, I got my first sighting of a big red beetle that usually turns up in May each year. This is the Cardinal Beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis) that at about 15mm plus, is treble the size of the malachite beetle.

Sometimes called a red-headed cardinal beetle, for obvious reasons. There is also another very similar beetle that has a black head. I don't think I need to tell you what that one gets called?

A dorsal view of the cardinal beetle

On one of the numerous days when outside photography was not an option, I decided to do some work on tidying the garden shed (again) and when moving things around, out from behind a length of wood crawled this vine weevil.

As I'm constantly being told, vine weevils are very destructive in the garden and to be avoided at all costs.
Even so, I couldn't bring myself to destroy such a wonderful looking creature and my view is that there's a place for everything in this world and that includes vine weevils.

I just hope that it's happy in its new door's garden!

I'll leave you with that thought-until the next time.....


  1. Great stuff JJ. The head on shot of the cardinal beetle is fantastic, must watch out for these.I'm glad i don't live next door to you. All the best. Derek Cluskey.

  2. Thanks again for commenting Derek-hope to be back to flickr sometime soon and catch up with your own shots.


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