Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Friday, 26 May 2017

A 7 legged friend ....

Whilst idely looking around the garden walls and fences yesterday evening I noticed a tiny spider that looked relatively well marked and interesting, so I tried to get a couple of shots. I was sure it was a Theridion sp., and the closest I could get was blackwalli. A quick posting onto a Facebook spider group and I got a quick independent suggestion of the same.

Theridion blackwalli (male)

This prompted me to have a look for other arachnids, and I quickly found a couple on the same wall.

Odiellus spinosus

Tetranagtha sp. (female, probably T. montana) - one of the long-jawed orb-weaver spiders

No sooner had I walked back into the house when I noted another arachnid in the kitchen - albeit a spider that was one-leg short of a full set!

Philodromus dispar (male)

Thursday, 25 May 2017

From the garden trap - Choccy

Had a few nice garden-trap moths over the last couple of nights, nothing new or particularly exciting but just nice to see in the garden again. The main one being ......

Chocolate-tip, only the fifth garden record, first since 2009

Waved Umber, just about annual since 2010
Why are these nearly always tattered and torn!?

More standard fare included ...

Shuttle-shaped Dart

Spectacle - couldn't decide which shot so have two

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

I've got the (long) horn

Nipped out to one of the local sites that I used to bash during the 2013 1000 in 1K square challenge, but I haven't been there for a good three years or so now. The site was more overgrown in some repsects, with wide grassy/weedy margins and decent-sized hawthorn hedgerows - but the main 'meadow' parts were slightly sad as they'd been recently mowed leaving swathes of cuttings all over the place. Also, a large dead ash tree that I'd previously gathered a few beetles from is now inaccessible, buried in nettles.

I managed to net, pot and photograph a few bits though, with a handful of PSL ticks like Dasytes aeratus, Pachyprotasis variegata and Nomada fabriciana (none of which I've pointed the camera at!).

I did point the camera at some of the more obliging beetles though .......

Anaglyptus mysticus - love this species!

Cantharis rustica

Cantharis figurata

Wasp Beetle

Cantharis nigricans

Cantharis somethingorother (haven't worked this one out yet)

Freshly mown down and not as good as it could be meadow

Large inaccessible felled ash tree

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

So near .....

My garden bird list is relatively pathetic, given that I've lived here for 23 years! Most of the reason is that I am generally not at home peering up into the sky for flyovers in the day, and otherwise we have no habitat nearby that would be likely to hold anything that I haven't already seen in the garden. I'm also not adept at listening out for migrating waders at night. New garden birds ticks are therefore few and far between. And today I nearly had one - but not near enough.

I was driving down the lane to get somewhere else (something for another day) and there, quartering a field that was being 'mown' by a tractor was a superb Red Kite. I backed up and parked, jumped out the car and walked down a bit, and then watched it for a good five minutes or so as it drifted around and occasionally dropped down to grab something. It then steadily departed to the west as I ambled back to the car. I then realised that it wasn't going due west, and appeared to be veering towards my house! A quick U-turn and I was back on my driveway within two minutes, but sadly no sign of the Kite as I looked out in vain.

This is the second raptor I've watched down the lane and wished I was in my garden - a good few years ago I watched a Hobby flying around that was quite probably viewable from my garden had I been there!

So my garden bird list 'most hoped for additions' are now: Peregrine, Red Kite, Raven, and maybe one of the local Yellowhammers will eventually hit the estate in a cold winter! Could also do with a Tawny Owl finding somewhere nearby to hoot.

The garden moth-trap has been picking up this week, and I think I might have just about cracked indoor photography with a couple of bright 'daylight' bulbs. Here's a couple from last night.

Orange Footman, only the third garden record

Bee Moth, male

And here's one photographed on a tripod outside in near darkness last night with a bit of flash. I added this to the VC55 list back in 2002 and it's now numerous here and throughout the vice-county.

Argyresthia trifasciata

Monday, 22 May 2017

Bumbling about ....

... in the garden. Got home from work with sunshine still bathing the garden, and noticed a fairly relentless procession of Early Bumblebees to a potted (I think French) lavendar. So I decided to have a go at the always-frustrating photography of active bees. I pretty much failed, but in the process I did manage to record five bumble species in the garden without too much effort. Common Carder and Buff-tailed evaded the camera, but I managed to snap these (amongst a lot of blurry duff shots).

Early Bumblebee

Tree Bumblebee

Garden Bumblebee

Sunday, 21 May 2017

European Tour

Champions League - a competition I could never have imagined following Leicester City through. As it happened I managed to get overseas for three games: a group game in Denmark in November 2016 v FC Copenhagen, and two games in Spain, v Sevilla in the last 16 in February 2017 and v Atletico Madrid in the quarter finals in April 2017. Whilst away I managed to point the camera at a few of non-football bits, at least in Copenhagen and Madrid - the Sevilla trip was restricted on time.

Hooded Crow - Copenhagen

Den lille Havfrue - Copenhagen

Inside the Rundetaarn - Copenhagen

Lovelocks at Nyhavn - Copenhagen

Nyhavn - Copenhagen
Scarce Swallowtail - Madrid

Little Egret - Madrid

Plaza Mayor - Madrid

Some sort of Slider/Terrapin - Madrid

Eqyptian Goose - Madrid