Sunday, April 19, 2015

Green, Light Emerald, White with an Orange Tip...

The first thing I need to say right at the start of this update is that I have had several enquiries about the Blue-tits and so let me tell you about them; I have to report that they have stopped visiting the nest-box over the past few days. It seemed to happen suddenly and not only that, but I haven't even seen them in, or around the garden. 

Perhaps the noisy neighbours are to blame, or even the local cats that seem to be constantly on the prowl close-by? There is also the possibility that something has happened to one or both of them. It's really disappointing as I was looking forward to having them and observing the nest building and raising of chicks. I did my best to encourage them and will do the same again next year. I might re-site the box though.

Shall we start with some spider pictures then? Oh yes please JJ! You know how much we all love spiders...

Click on any photo for a larger view on black
Diaea dorsata

Diaea dorsata

Diaea dorsata

This is Diaea dorsata, the Green Crab-spider. A reasonably common spider in the southern half of the UK but scarcer as you venture north and not recorded at all in Ireland. It is strongly associated with woodland, where it can be found on trees such as oak, yew and conifers. This one was actually on hazel. A short-lived spider, probably a year at best.

My first sighting and photo of an Orange-tip Butterfly
Moving along then, as I appreciate that there are a few poor souls who find spiders pedestrian subjects. Something much more mainstream here with my first sighting of the early spring butterflies that surely nobody could object to?
The photo above was my first 'snap' of the species and demonstrates my technique of getting what I like to refer to as an 'insurance shot'. I usually try to just get something on the camera's sensor as a record of the sighting, and then move in for what I hope will prove to be a better series of shots if I am lucky...

Anthocharis cardamines (Orange-tip Butterflies)

I caught these two soon after, doing the jiggy-jiggy thing. Blimey, only just emerged and they're at it already.
 Before the orange-tips arrived, there were already good numbers of small tortoiseshell butterflies on the cuckoo-flower...

Aglais urticae (Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies)

Peiris brassicae (A Large White Butterfly)
I have been looking after three Large White pupae over the winter and one has now emerged. The other two are pretty close also. This photo (above) was taken around 30 minutes after it eclosed.

This picture is of the chrysalis as it looked a few hours before the butterfly emerged. I just love how much detail you can already make out. You can see the eyes, wings, antennae and even how the proboscis lays flat at this stage and only curls up once the insect has emerged... 

I took the opportunity to get a close-up photo as well whilst it was waiting for its wings to inflate fully...

Let's move on to the case of the invisible caterpillar shall we? Here it is(nt)...

C'mon, you have to agree that the camouflage here is pretty amazing? What's even more amazing for me is the fact that I managed to see it at all! Once the macro has been focused on it, the true detail is revealed in all its glory...

Shine some light on it and suddenly, it doesn't seem to be half as well camouflaged? Yes, this is the same caterpillar that you can(t) see in the previous photograph. I think this is Campaea margaritaria,a Light Emerald larva.

On the subject of moths, I have run the moth trap three times now and had about the same amount of moths! Hopefully now that the weather is improving, my count will increase. I did get this early caddisfly on one night recently...   

Stenophylax permistus

Stenophylax permistus

I think this one could be the species I have named it as but of course, as always, I am willing to be corrected by anyone who knows differently. 

I always love to find something new to me and so when I spotted this next critter, I really was hoping that it wasn't the click beetle that it seemed to resemble..

Orchesia undulata (A False Darking Beetle)

According to the Royal Entomological Society Book of British Insects, this family of beetles (Melandryidae) are all associated with fungi and most are confined to ancient woodland. Nearly all are scarce species, with Orchesia undulata perhaps the most frequently found. It also seems that this beetle was first discovered in the UK in about 1907 and locally at that, in West Kent. 

Meanwhile, in the garden I came across another little beetle sitting pretty on the lavender. This one is the Pea Weevil (Sitonia lineatus) which is a pest of both beans and peas apparently. Not that it worries me as I have neither...

A Pea Weevil (Sitonia lineatus)

I guess I should think about winding up this update then as it's getting rather long already. Perhaps I'll leave you with one more beetle, this one is the rather shy and retiring cereal leaf beetle...

Until the next time...


  1. I was already envious of the green crab spider as I've never seen one of them, and then you have to show us the perfect photo of the Orange Tips mating! I've seen the Speckled Woods here at it already but they seem to do it on the ground in amongst the grass so I can't see the details ;-)
    The Large White shots are fantastic but I appreciate you had an advantage before it could fly, but still a first class macro. I'm missing my bugs (insects), I know there are plenty around but can't go crawling around looking for them. So it's nice to be able to see what is about from your posts. I can see the caterpillar on the stem but only when I zoomed in on it! Great post, JJ. :-)

  2. Stunning photos JJ, especially the green crab spider, amazes me how you manage to find all these insects, still a little cold here and need more flowers and blossom out for food sores, or I need to wear some better glasses:)
    Amanda xx

  3. Just love that spider! Was just thinking that I'd never seen one, but perhaps we're that little bit too far north... The first shot of the orange-tip with that light is sublime! Another brilliant and interesting blog JJ, thank you!

    1. Possibly Maria...not sure of the full range of this one. Anyhow, thank-you yet again for your lovely comments and interest in the blog updates...


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