Friday, February 10, 2017

The shorter days are coming to an end...

It's early January 2017 and here we go then, another year of blogging begins right here. This will be year seven. What can I offer at this slack time of year? Well, let me see, how about a couple of garden finds...

Assuming this is a cocoon of some description (I think it is) I really have no idea of what could have constructed it; it is just 3mm long and found on cranes-bill.

Then there was this teeny springtail that was under a broken pot in the garden. As a clue to its size, the photo below is taken at x5 and uncropped...

Looking through some old pictures from 2014 I found this one that was also taken in the garden. This time with the point and shoot camera...

Mullein moth larva

8th February 2017

Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus
Off she went with a trumpety-trump...

Yes, I am afraid that I began this update around a month ago and am only just now finding time to complete it. Never mind, that's life I guess, enough frivolity; let's crack on shall we...let's talk turkey!

When I saw this monster of a turkey at Heaven Farm in deepest Sussex recently, I couldn't resist a photo or two. Did you know turkeys have wattles, caruncles and snoods? In fact, I read the following on Wikipedia: In anatomical terms, the snood is an erectile, fleshy protuberance on the forehead of turkeys. Most of the time when the turkey is in a relaxed state, the snood is pale and 2-3 cm long. However, when the male begins strutting (the courtship display), the snood engorges with blood, becomes redder and elongates several centimetres, hanging well below the beak. Blimey! I hope he didn't fancy me.

Meanwhile, back in the garden, another tiny pupa...

This one was again only about 3mm long but this time, found in the soil. I may keep this one to see what eventually emerges.


I have a number of emperor moth pupae that are overwintering as these fragile looking, papery, pear-shaped cocoons. I am hoping that these will be of mixed sex so that I get the chance to observe both adult moths at close quarters...

Late April onward should see the moths emerge if all is well. Not long now.

I now have another skull to add to my collection! This one is a badger and came to light on a walk through Ashdown Forest. A couple of phone pictures (I have been lazy about using the macro through this winter)...

And one of it beside the red fox skull...

And I think that about wraps up this bitty little update. The longer and brighter days are just around the corner though and so I am hoping that the invertebrates will soon be returning. I have already seen a couple of bees on sunny days. 

I will leave you with a photo of this beetle larva I spotted under bark whilst looking for flat bugs. I am undecided as to exactly what it might be, not large enough for a stag beetle but perhaps one of the longhorns?

Until the next time...

Oh! One last thing: I am pleased to be able to report that Magnet magazine have asked me to write for them for another year and my latest article has just been published...

The online version that can be enlarged for easier reading is available

 HERE (page 22)


  1. Ooh just discovered this update. Didn't get an e-mail...
    Anyway, excellent blog again with great pics! Love those Emperor moth cocoons in particular.
    The detail in the photos of the turkey is fabulous as ever!
    Did you keep the beetle larva? Does look like Cerambycidae. Be interesting to know!
    The only skull I have is from a cat... Mum dug it up in their garden some years ago. Someone's beloved pet no doubt. Thinking about, I also have a few mice / voles from owl pellets, and a unknown (small) bird skull actually. Fascinating to see the fox and badger like it though, especially side by side.
    M x

    1. So many mistakes... and why do I only ever see them after publishing??? Lol!

    2. Hi Maria,
      Erm...I don't know why you missed out on a notification e.mail. I have checked the settings and they are going out okay. Everyone I have asked got theirs too, so, only thing I can think is that it may have been rejected as spam in your e.mail?

      Yes, I am getting excited about those cocoons now, not long to go! I didn't keep the larva this time, so I uess we will never know for sure. Awe...a cat skull! Intriguing. I don't often see owl pellets but do remember dissecting them as a kid. I know it's a bit creepy having skulls to some peoples way of thinking, but I find them fascinating.

      Thanks for your comments and interest as always...


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