Friday, September 08, 2017

Dung beetles and a pat on the back...

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house."  Nathaniel Hawthorne

And so the autumnal change in our weather has seen changes in the garden too. The resident frogs, which I feared had perished following a prolonged dry spell, have returned...

The recent rains saw these two Woundwort Shieldbugs apparently waiting for the ark...

But I think throwing bread onto the lawn for the birds may have to be put on hold for a while...

Is anybody old enough to remember this game I wonder?

Well frustrated is just how I felt when I spotted this next creature. Having been watching and waiting for weeks now with no luck, suddenly, on the coldest, wettest, dullest day for ages, one appeared in the garden for a few moments...

Macroglossum stellatarum - A Hummingbird Hawk-moth

I had no time to add the flash unit to my camera (although I did try) and so this one usable shot was taken with a high ISO and small f/stop to compensate for the appalling light conditions. Meanwhile, the Comma butterfly emerged whilst I was in town shopping! At least I did manage to get it to maturity by removing that parasitic wasp though (see last update if ya don't know what the feck I am talking about)...

And this next picture is of the Small White, soon after it eclosed...

I also found this tiny, but delightful ground beetle in the garden one day. It measured around 4mm in length...

Asaphidion curtum - A Ground Beetle

Let's move out of the garden then; this huge, lumbering beetle crossed our paths whilst out walking the dog recently. I think from memory it was in a place called Woodchurch...

Now I did research the identity of this one and...should have written it down somewhere because I now cannot remember! Erm...Scarabaeidae and possibly
'Geotrupes stercorarius'? This is a natural light shot which shows the blue hue well: I also got a shot or two using flash. Notice how the detail increases by adding flash, but the colour alters too...

From Woodchurch to Rye. I got to spend time wandering around, what turned out to be a very windy nature reserve in Rye, with a pal from sunny Scunthorpe earlier this week. Again, conditions weren't great for photography, but I did get to photo this charming little Wheatear. Well done to Steven for suffering and indeed surviving the worst of our weather 'down South', you deserve a pat on the back Sir!

The wonderful thing about the 'bug' community here in internet land is that I get to see and share the beauty of nature with like-minded folk from across the globe. I get many requests for images and information, and in return, people are very generous about sharing their finds and experiences with me. My final offering today is this short video of a beautiful, dancing, monarch butterfly caterpillar, from my friend Stella, who spotted it searching for a pupation site in the USA recently...

Please note this video will not show in email version of update:



  1. Stunning photos as always, have to say the Sheildbug photo is my favourite. So pleased you got to see a Hummingbird Hawk-moth even though you are not happy with the photo, I still have not seen one since I was a child, I was embraced to mention it as I thought it was a Humming bird but knew we didn't get them in this country.
    Two of my caterpillars have turned into pupa this week, even though I have put some sticks in the tank they are on the bottom, not sure if this is ok, will keep watching... not sure how long they will take to hatch ?
    Amanda xx

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Well you are not alone in thinking that those moths were actually humming birds, I have heard this from other people ;-)

      Remind me what your caterpillars are? Actually, perhaps it is on your own blog, I will take a look. They do vary quite a bit. My Comma took just less than 2 weeks to emerge for instance. Yes, they do need somewhere to climb up so that they can dry and expand their wings. Good luck!

    2. Thanks JJ, as far as I know they were brown-line bright-eye moth caterpillars.
      Amanda xx

    3. Oh! Okay, well I think in that case, they are one of the many moth larvae that overwinter as a pupa...;-)

  2. Cracking blog again. Goes without saying that the woundwort SB pic is also my fave.
    Lovely to see the wheatear. Not seen many this year!
    Not everyone's favourite mammal, but I also love ratty! :-)


    1. Yeah...thought you may like the woundworts Maria...;-) I love having them in the garden and they seem to go from strength to strength. The wheatear was a treat on what was a V.windy day. Not seen ratty again, so hope he's okay.


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