Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A mystery resolved...

Phew! Who knows where the time goes? Sandy Denny didn't seem to know and neither do I but at last I have a few moments spare to update the blog...

I love finding anything that gets the old grey matter working and leads me on a hunt to identify whatever it is I have discovered. Mystery objects I call them, and for the most part, that's what they remain. That is unless of course some kind soul puts me right by suggesting what turns out to be the correct identity.

Over the past few years, I have happened upon tiny jewel-like objects, hanging by the thinnest of threads; often with a tangle or knot at some point (something I still have no answer to) and usually, beneath a leaf. 

They don't seem to be confined to a particular plant or shrub and I have found them in January, May and August.

The main two culprits according to popular choices from people far more informed than I am about these things, seemed to be spider and caterpillar. I think I recall that the last example had more in favour of a cocoon of some kind.

These are the two previous photos that I could find of this intriguing creature.

Well now thanks to one of those 'right time, right place' moments-I can share this amazing footage. I don't hesitate to call it amazing because it does amaze me at just what is possible with digital photography. This is filmed at x5 mag and at a speed of x8 just to condense it into a reasonably usable length for the blog.
Actual size is no more than 3mm.

I did miss some of the action whilst I was setting up the camera on a tripod and finding some lighting, but captured this behaviour that was certainly a first for me.

One of those moments when I just sat and watched, spellbound.

It clearly shows exactly what is constructing this pendant and is in the throws of doing just that...

I took loads of video of this over about a 30 minute period and it still wasn't complete when I stopped. I don't actually know exactly how long it all took but when I checked the following morning, there was no sign of movement. This time I have kept the completed cocoon in the hope of seeing what eventually emerges.

I can report the first sighting of a moth for 2014 since my last update-a small one flew in to the house attracted by a light left on a couple of days ago and as soon as I have the photo from my camera, will add it here, hopefully with an i.d.

On the 9th of February I was out walking and spotted a very sleepy queen wasp on a tree trunk that had ventured out into a brief spell of sunshine.

It was so lethargic that I managed several shots that I then stacked into the following images...

There has been a small green caterpillar on a geranium outside of the front door for ages; I have been keeping an eye on it and it was definitely there yesterday but gone this morning and so I guess, unless it re-appears sometime soon, that it may have been predated?

I was thinking this might be the caterpillar of the angle shades moth but I haven't seen them feeding on geranium that I can remember.

This bruiser was hiding under a leaf in the garden that I only discovered when the recent strong winds were blowing the leaf-litter everywhere and this one landed upside down. Possibly yellow underwing? They can be quite variable.

I really think this snail I recently photographed needs some music added-maybe The Magic Roundabout?

Until the next time then...


  1. Long wait for us for your post this time but totally worth it. Cocoon building is amazing!! Even after I watched the video three times, I still cant believe its possible to capture that.
    So much of hard work for that little life too to advance to next stage of life..

  2. Thanks for your comment and interest. Yes, I have had lots to distract me from photography for a while now but finally made it back here.

    It IS an amazing thing to see isn't it and I was so pleased to capture this behaviour...I have another 13 minute video as well!

  3. WoW JJ, That video is just SO captivating, and even better Full Screen !! I'm amazed how well you can see through it.....was it a different color by the next morning? Will it darken over time as in those other Beautiful photos you include? Wow too, over 30 minutes and still going! Thank you SO much for sharing this with us.....something I have Never even come close to seeing here...

    1. Thanks ;-)

      Well, that was the first thing I checked after looking for movement the next morning but amazingly it didn't really darken for a couple of days-I will try and take a shot of it and post in my next update, so that you can see it now.

      Thanks again for your comment.

  4. How extraordinary! Absolutely mesmerising to watch! Thanks for such an amazing insight JJ!
    Love your wasp portraits. So beautiful! The detail's incredible as ever.

    Must say, love the Magic roundabout and revolving snail. Such a brilliant bit of music. Used to love watching it when I was little.

    Still a bit slow here with the Inverts (plus I'm getting impatient now...). Seems to be gradually getting warmer though so hopefully more will be active soon. Mind you, still can't rule out a cold spell before spring!


  5. Thanks as always Maria. I was really pleased to get this footage as it solves a mystery up to a point and I'll hopefully be able to complete the story soon.

    Yeah...gotta love that Magic Roundabout theme... have to say that there does seem to be an extraordinary amount of invert action locally for this time of year and so, won't be long for you too hopefully. I did see some you'd added to ipernity and promise to catch up there very soon ;-)

    Good luck with the shield-bugs this season anyhow.


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