Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 without a shadow of a doubt...

I blogged for the first time ever on December 18th 2010 (I think it was) and here we are 5+ years later still doing it. Alright, it has been erratic and sporadic at times but then, so has my life.

What will 2016 hold? Who knows, the only certainty is that it will once again be different from the preceding year(s). It has started differently without a shadow of a doubt.

What does a shadow of a doubt look like do you think?

Alright then, shall we crack on with the first update of a new year? Please say yes or.......oh, you did! good show...

Whilst reminiscing about the, what would it be, close to 2000 days since I wrote that first blog entry? Perhaps I will indulge myself and share a few of my favourite photographs. Of course you may have different ones altogether. Or possibly none at all... 

But as Mother Teresa famously once said: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Scathophaga stercoraria is the name of my first insect find of the year. I might be forgiven for using only the scientific name in this instance? Why so? Because the more common name is the Yellow Dung Fly, and we don't want to start a new year in the s...surely not!

March to November is what my book says. In truth, I have found them in February before, but even so, January seems very premature. I have more shots to share as there is a bit of a way to go yet before bugs are once again abundant and I have to pad this blog out somehow...

You could forgive me for not using the common name for that fly, but can you forgive me also for informing you that it was my first insect find of the year when really, this one was...

I'm sharing it still on the camera because the photo is, how can I best describe? Pants! Yes, that's it...Pants, with a capital P. It took me by surprise, it was a very dull day, I only had the camera and no flash with me, it only allowed me a couple of quick shots before it was off, I had to use f5 and 1600 ISO to get enough light, I.....blah, de blah, de blah......Oh's the bl**dy photo...

There...I did warn you it was pants. (I must apologise for the 'p' in my pants, I forgot to use a capital that time.) All the same, what a treat to find Corizus hyoscyami in mid-winter like this. I know they are listed as being around all year and do overwinter as adults, but I have never seen one in winter until now. (Yeah, and then you messed up on the photo JJ!) 

Maybe it's time for the first mystery find of 2016? Well that's what is coming next anyway, so ner, ner, ner, ner...

When I was sifting through some leaflitter (don't you?) I came across this little object; at first I suspected it was just a seed, or maybe a key. I almost rejected it but then noticed that it felt too soft and squidgy for either of those. I gently pressed it. Not as gently as I thought I had actually, because as I did so, this happened...

And so I am ashamed to say that this has now changed from a 'what is it' to a 'what was it'. Assuming it was some kind of larva?

And the second mystery object is?

All I can tell you is that it was found on a pine tree and is hard to the touch. Insect construction, or plant material?

And the third object(s)...

My own guess for these would be, let me see, something like hoverfly eggs from last year that failed to hatch? Although I am not sure if hoverflies lay eggs in this random pattern. The shape is reminiscent of ones that I have found before though.

In my local woods the other day, I found a hazel tree that still had some green leaves...

I turned over a few leaves and found these orange ladybirds...

Those are just phone grabs by the way, because that's all I had with me.

And so here I am at 10.30 on a cold January evening in 2016 just about to wrap up.

Oh hang on...I didn't complete that sentence. Just about to wrap up another blog entry, leave cyber world behind for today, shower and hit the hay for another night of fitful sleep and weird dreams. Just before I do though, I will share one last picture. This again is from the garden and is a springtail that I spotted apparently eating its own moult; I had no idea they did this...

Until the next time...

Apologies to my overseas readers who won't get this reference because you will have a different name for the above vegetable? Apologies also to UK readers who probably won't get the reference either, 'cos it's pretty lame!


  1. Happy New Year JJ!
    Very envious of your C. hyoscyami find! Wow! And might I ask, exactly what is 'pants' about that shot? I think it's terrific and the detail is superb!
    Think the larva in the leaf 'pupa' (?) was Diptera.... not sure which though. Will see if I can find out more.
    The second mystery I think is plant material from the pine, but don't know what! Have seen it before but not delved further to know more.
    3rd ones look more like pupae than eggs to me... another one I shall have to investigate! Lol!

    Congrats on 5 years of blogging and thank you for keeping us all entertained with the brilliant photos and text too!


    1. Hello Maria,
      Awe thanks once again for such a lovely (and fast) comment Maria. Happy New Year to you too and thanks for the e.card ;-) Yes, I suspected diptera for that first larva given the appearance and habitat but had no ideas beyond that.

      Oh pupae you think! How interesting. I assume they are not viable though given the colour and time of year. I was trying to remember what tree they were on, I think it might have been low branches of alder, or maybe ash ;-)

      Thank-you for the info about the pine too.

      Yes five years already and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the support you have shown across the years. Very much appreciated Maria.

  2. Took me a while, but just 'got' the reference at the bottom! Lol!!!

  3. I wasn't going to comment this time but I have to say GROAN, JJ! I looked in because you had spring onions on the feedly photo and it didn't make sense. I do actually want to know what that amazing beautiful leaf like butterfly is?

    I've seen Yellow Dung Flies mating in January so ner ner ne ner ner if we are being childish. Well done finding some bug activity. :-)

  4. Hi Mandy,
    Well that amazing leaf butterfly is...a Leaf Butterfly (Kallima inachus) and is Indian I think. Oh you have seen dung flies in January too eh? are in France right!Doesn't count ;-) Now you are gonna tell me it was in the UK you've seen them?

    Oh the spring onion thing was just that I had several pics lined up for that and soon as I saw the email version of update, realised I had added the wrong one, so corrected it...

    Thanks for your comment as always Mandy.

    1. It was France so don't worry! And "That spring onion" doesn't really work, does it? ;-)

    2. Ha...seee...France is diffident!!! Erm...Mandy? Are you still looking at the emailed version of the blog by any chance? Are you just too LAZY to view the ACTUAL blog entry ;-) ;-) ;-) Because it IS a shallot not an onion there...the spring onion was only ever online for about a couple of hours. a TOP horticulturalist, you may be able to tell me that it still isn't a shallot, in which case I shall definitely owe you and apology and subsequent to that, I will just hide my head in the sand. ;-)

      JJ x

    3. No no no, I am here right on your blog looking at your shallot. Which it is. I just meant that a spring onion doesn't work for the wording in place of a shallot. It took me a while to get it (the amended one) too. :-)

      I don't get your emailed blog, I look at the blogs I am following through a feed reader then come on the blog to comment. And I have learned to my horror that the first version sent out when you press the Publish button is the one it stays as in feed readers - they don't update when they are amended (at least in Feedly), so I am VERY careful about avoiding that button until I am absolutely sure now! xx

    4. Oh that's interesting Mandy. Thanks for the tip!


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