Friday, June 02, 2017

Scatological shenanigans...

It's hard to believe it is almost a month now since my last update. As somebody once said though "Time flies, it's up to you to be the navigator". I prefer this Woody Alan quote myself: "Time is Nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once". Enough time wasting anyway, on with the motley! 

"Thou art not a man, thou’rt but a jester!
On with the motley, and the paint, and the powder!
The people pay thee, and want their laugh, you know!"

Well I am not sure I can provide laughs, but this moth might at least make you smile?

I know there are people who will already know the name of this particular moth; but for those who don't, if you had to name it, what would you choose? Well, if you said The testicle, you would be right. Oh! No, sorry, I ballsed-up...if you said The Spectacle, you would be right! Probably one 'toilet humour' joke, is one too many, so let us dump the jokes and move along. 

By the way though: did you know the great composer Mozart was fond of toilet humour? Yes, it's true. Example: when Margaret Thatcher was apprised of Mozart's 'scatology' during a visit to the theatre to see Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus, director Peter Hall relates:

She was not pleased. In her best headmistress style, she gave me a severe wigging for putting on a play that depicted Mozart as a scatological imp with a love of four-letter words.
 It was inconceivable, she said, that a man who wrote such exquisite and elegant music could be so foul-mouthed. I said that Mozart's letters proved he was just that: he had an extraordinarily infantile sense of humour ... "I don't think you heard what I said", replied the Prime Minister. "He couldn't have been like that".
 I offered (and sent) a copy of Mozart's letters to Number Ten the next day; I was even thanked by the appropriate Private Secretary. But it was useless: the Prime Minister said I was wrong, so wrong I was!

Copyright free photo (not my image)
T'other day, I came across an owl pellet. An owl eats  small rodents, birds, and bugs as a part of its nightly diet, its stomach cannot digest the fur, bones, teeth, feathers, and insect shells from that food. These “extra” parts are formed into a tight pellet inside the owl and are then  later regurgitated

I think from using this guide above, I am happy that the pellet came from a little owl and I have seen them at the location. These pellets are always fun to dissect and examine to see just what the owl has been feeding on, and so I did...

It looks as though click beetles are a favourite! Four almost complete beetle were inside the pellet. You have to wonder what nutritional value they offer, being so small and so intact looking when they exit the owl? Don't you? Well I do!

More pellet contents

Could this be the remains of a shieldbug?

I'm not sure; could just be the rear end of a ground beetle, as they seem to be another favourite dish for this little owl. What about this next one though, any ideas?

This year seems to be proving a good one for the little 24-spot ladybirds. These are vegetarian ladybirds and are covered with a layer of fine hairs (who amongst us isn't?) and they measure around 4mm. Their colouring is described as russet...

24-spot Ladybird (Subcoccinella 24-punctata)

24-spot Ladybird larva
The larvae are quite spectacular, and not at all like the adult beetle. I used flash on these photos but it was giving me some trouble on that day and sometimes was not firing at all. Here's one when it failed to fire: I actually quite liked the effect and so kept the shot to share...

While...(I was going to write 'whilst' then, but according to the Cambridge Dictionary 'While is much more common than whilst, and whilst sounds more formal', so I didn't) anyhow, while I was out photographing the ladybird and larva, I came across something I rarely see; mostly I suspect because of its size at just 2.5 - 4.5mm. This is a Delphacid bug and looks like this...

I wouldn't like to speculate about species, as there are so many similar ones.

This update does seem to be featuring mostly tiny creatures, but I can assure you that it isn't planned...JJ planning??? This one turned up in my moth trap recently (along with a number of moths that may have to wait for another update. It measures just 3mm and as far as I can tell, seems to be a species of powder post beetle. They are wood boring beetles and get their name from the fact that the larvae feed on wood and can, in time, reduce it to powder.

This beautiful beetle was also in the same moth trap; in fact I had 3 that night...

May-bug or Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha)

I continue to rescue wildlife from the bird bath in the garden. Mostly insects and often bees...

I haven't a scooby-doo about the identity of this one, but what a beauty. Those eyes are amazing. I only wish I did know, but my skills at identifying bees rival my prowess at sport! A couple more finds then and I think that will probably suffice for this update...

A Brown Lacewing - Wesmaelius subnebulosus (Neuroptera

Leptopterna dolabrata nymph

Alabonia geoffrella (Common Tubic moth) 


  1. Stunning post and photos..
    Amanda xx

  2. Many thanks Amanda. I always appreciate your visits and comments...;-)

  3. Cracking series of shots as usual! Interesting to see the owl pellets. Have always love 'dissecting' them. Fascinating when you find little ones and skulls.
    Now I'm pretty much useless with bee ID too, but I believe some of the Osmia species have those stunning eyes.
    Sorry I've got so behind with your blogs. Hadn't realised...

    1. Hi again Maria. Yes, I was hoping for more little skulls in that pellet but still enough to interest me.
      Oh! Osmia? Okay, will take a look at those, thanks.

      Never any need to apologise over commenting on my little blog Maria ;-) I know you comment on SO many things and you have been a stalwart over the years, for which I thank you.


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