Monday, December 07, 2015

"A cock only shows that he is a male when he becomes an adult.”





Not my image by the way but I thought it was cool.


Now before we get into this update proper, is there anything that needs my attention from the last update? I can't think of anything.You know it's strange but that 60's song by Herman's Hermits keeps running through my brain . You know the one... 'Silhouettes' I have also had a couple of numbers by The Shadows in my head too, and yet, I don't see a link between this and any unanswered questions from my last update. Oh well, I am sure something will click before I am done here.    



So what's new? Well, I have been compiling my very own set of stamps using some of my photos. Admittedly, they have been messed around with somewhat. Given a sort of impressionist style make-over, but it's only for my own amusement, so who cares...



Here's the robin photo that I used...
      


Just like that little froggie at the top of this post, I have been trying in vain to catch up. It seems the older I get, the more that time itself is like the dragonfly, just too fast. I did manage a half-day at Tonbridge Castle again recently though. I went to see the squirrels mostly, but came home with a couple of pictures that made me smile for reasons I will explain in a second or two. Meantime, the squirrels...



"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered". Oh hang on! That's not for a few weeks yet is it. Erm...and so it was that I found myself photographing the humble pigeon, which is fast becoming a real favourite of mine actually...


Did you know that it's incredibly difficult to tell male and female (or to be more correct, hen and cock) pigeons apart? I think this may be a male but could well be wrong. I read that one sure way is to check their.....bits...(genitalia) but firstly, who among us is going to attempt that? And secondly, the article I was reading elaborated further with this priceless gem...'Pigeons genitalia all look alike and so you will have to cut them open to see what you actually want to see'. Yeah right! "What we seem to have here is a mutilated female".

Aside from old peg-leg pictured above, it was the next two shots that triggered something in my oh so messed up brain...


It isn't a spot the difference competition. If it were, you would be right if you said that the difference is the one on the right has a slightly higher head position. And it is exactly that which got the old cogs turning. What if I turned the images into an animated GIF? Yeah, that might work. Then, find a banging toon that would provide what used to be called in the trade, a musical bed. Hmmm... okay,turn up the volume on your device and let's rock ...


video

Well you can't accuse me of compiling dull updates?



Now that we are approaching, nay, already a few days into winter, it's not so easy to find new subjects for these updates and so forgive me if I share just a couple of pictures from a few months ago. This is the rather exceptional caterpillar of the Puss Moth. The top one is the natural colour and the lower one shows how it begins to change just before it pupates...



Meanwhile,(yes I do realise that's my second 'meanwhile' for this update;you are allowed three before having to do a forfeit) on a rare good-weather day, I did spot this starling masquerading as a woodpecker in the garden...



When I said that I spotted it, I didn't mean literally, it was already fairly spotted. And when I was doing what I seem to do more and more lately, that is spend ages looking for something that turns out to be right in front of me; this time it was a ball of string, I was flabbergasted (in fact my flabber had never been so gasted) to find a tiny barkfly...




I can't pretend any longer that I have forgotten about this...


I'm not even fooling myself now, and as nobody correctly guessed the critter in question (please see last update if you missed this) I shall reveal all. I admit to 'doctoring' the image a tad but this is the full photograph...

Dicyrtomina saundersi

Yes, it was just a little globular springtail. Obvious when you know the answer huh? Don't fret though, I probably wouldn't have got it right and I already knew what it was!

Just so that all of the spider-loving readers of my little blog don't feel cheated, here's an 'and finally' story. I was making the bed this morning when I noticed something moving on the duvet cover; that something turned out to be a spider that probably lowered itself from the ceiling and spent the night sharing the comforts of a warm bed. I wondered who was hogging all the covers...


I'm not sure on species of this one but she's a beaut. Yes I know she's lost a leg...she's a seven-legged beaut!

Until the next time...


Saturday, November 21, 2015

American Pie anybody?





long, long time ago, but I can still remember how that music used to make me smile, and I knew if I had my chance that I could make those people dance and maybe they'd be happy for a while...

But then I thought, sod it! What have they ever done for me? And so I flung off my John Travolta white suit and settled down to write this blog update...

And you can stop laughing at the thought of JJ in a white suit thank-you! It's stemming the flow of my creative juices. 

Here we go then, it's Saturday November 221st as I write and...oh hang on, not 221st that would be ridiculous, 21st was what I meant. Looking out the window I feel that bug-hunting might have to be put on hold for a while? 


    video


                A couple of participation photos to begin this update. We'll start  with...



           You must name the species from the silhouette, good luck.Fingers on buzzers!

                               


Too easy huh...thought it might be. Try this for something a little more taxing... 


      

Me? Haven't a clue. Alright I have an idea about the second one, and of course I know what the first one is because there would be little point in me setting a quiz that I didn't hold the answer too. 


Weevily type weevil thingies next...








I suppose you'll be wanting me to identify these weevils for you? Okay, how's this. The first two are the same and the second one isn't. 


A little bit of...




I was able to keep a watch on the sawfly larva I found at a local pond as it was on a small alder shrub and never did move from the one leaf I first spied it on. It grew into quite an impressive thing before disappearing from sight overnight...

Cimbex connatus-A Large Alder Sawfly Larva (Hymenoptera)
An instance of my perceived weirdness now. What would most people do when they find a dead wasp in the window do you think? I'm guessing something a world apart from what I chose to do. Namely, use the opportunity to get a stacked image of the beast. Good fun but I wish I'd made a better fist of it. Not enough light!


What do I mean by not enough light? Let me re-phrase it, it was too dark! The longer explanation would be that I was trying to manage with natural light from the window only.However, I should have gone with my gut and not the camera's light sensor as I did. The lack of available (and even) light has resulted in a loss of clarity. 
That's okay though, life is a learning curve isn't it. If not then this is...



Actually, mine can be a bit more like this...



I have a problem. You see, ever since I ot this new laptop, the letter 'G' has been stickin . If you ive it a ban  it sometimes works, but  od! I  ets so frustrated banin  it.
Now I don't mean to be a  rouch, or a  rump about this. I am trying to be grown-up. Gosh! it worked that time, perhaps it is  radually improvin  ?

 onna i nore it and carry on re ardless...

A long, long time ago, but I can still remember, because it was January this year when I found this...



I thought at the time that it was a spider egg sac but wasn't sure and had no idea of species. Somebody suggested walnut orb-weaver possibly. Anyhow, I managed to find it again, it was early March and by this time the eggs inside and indeed, developing spiderlings were starting to show...





By the third week of March, they had emerged...



I think these could well be walnut orb-weaver spiderlings. Here's a single individual...









Well the first of these two pictures above is definitely slime mould but is the second fungi too? What else could it be?

I'll leave you to ponder that but please...don't lose any sleep over it? Meanwhile, here's an image I constructed from the patterns of a small tortoiseshell butterfly...


Until the next time...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"Don't crickets have funny knees?"


NOOOOooooo! What is this government we elected doing? 'There is no other way' we are told..'The welfare cuts are essential.' Yeah that's right you bunch of two-faced hypocrites, take from those who can least afford it and tell them to get over it, when at the same time you are wasting millions of pounds on a hair-brained scheme such as culling grey squirrels


Wake up to the facts! Grey's are not doing the apocalyptic damage you claim. For God's sake...man introduced them as they considered them to be 'fashionable' and it's man that must fess-up to being the one who has blood on his hands regarding the demise of the reds, now the government will give millions to farmers and land owners to cull the grey squirrels 'using whatever method they prefer.' This isn't about the reds at all. This is about the very same thing that drives almost every move this lot make, filthy lucre! In the words of Arlo Guthrie...'Kill...kill...kill!'

Sorry! I'm better now, really. I found my chill pills and necked the whole bottle. I am calmer than a sleepy sloth now...

Shall we crack on with a blog update? After all, it's what I came here for and I hope you did too...



Not a great deal of detail on this image of a sawfly larva now that I have restricted the resolution and it is actually a huge crop from the original too. However, I wanted to try and show the amazing mouth parts. I found this one right in the middle of a moult and was fortunate enough to be able to hang around and take a series of shots as it tried to free itself from the old 'skin'...




'Pycnomerus fuliginosus'....."pardon?"...."Pycnomerus fuliginosus", it's a small beetle that is also known as an Ironclad Beetle or a Cylindrical Bark Beetle." So what?" I hear you cry...............................................go on then, I'm waiting!
I'll tell you what...no, better still, an image that nicely illustrates what a joy it was for me to recently spot one of these intriguing beasties...




These two pictures show the recorded finds of this beetle in my area (West Kent) as well as the neighbouring county of East Kent. You can see, there aren't any...that's 'so what'.

Before I get too carried away, I guess I should share a picture or two of this tiny beetle...







What made this such a great find for me was that this particular creature belongs in the Antipodes. At least, that's where it originates from. An import from Australia, to put it plainly. Of course I am always aware that like so many other species, this is probably under-recorded, here's beetle expert Mark Telfer who I submitted my find to for confirmation of ID...


"I’m sure you’re right that it is P. fuliginosus. It has become well established and is quite a familiar sight to me. However, it hasn’t spread all that far – I’ve personally only seen it in VCs 3, 11, 13, 17 and 24 (S Devon, S Hants, W Sussex, Surrey and Bucks). I know it also occurs in Northern Ireland. I would be surprised if it is not established in Kent but I don’t know for sure."

 Moving right along...don't crickets have funny knees?........................ Well? 

I paused for you to ponder, to hypothesise, even a gentle explicate if that's what floats your boat. By the way, don't you hate, at least dislike, all those phrases like 'Float your boat'-'Blue-sky thinking'-'Push the envelope'- Tick the boxes'...Grrr!  Wish I hadn't used one myself now. Shall I erase it? Nah...if it comes outta my head, it goes in the blog! So then, a cricket with funny knees? Certainly...



Oh Feck! That's an earwig isn't it...let me try that again...



C'mon, you gotta admit that this Speckled Bush Cricket has odd knees? What are those 'fried-egg' shaped things all about I wonder.

Whilst we are...procrastinating about knees and genuflection in general, that is what we were doing wasn't it? I know I was. I was sitting here, hand on my forehead in contemplation of just whether it would be possible for a cricket to indulge in true genuflection, by bending its right knee to the ground. Probably not and even more than that, I doubt they are religious either?


Erm, oh yes...what do you think these little blighters are?



I can't even recall what plant they were on now and it was only a few days ago that I found them, maybe hazel? I was asking myself there by the way, not you and so don't feel obliged to answer, unless you know of course. I think they must be plant bugs rather than aphids or anything like that but who knows? I sure don't!

You see...this is how my brain lets me down, what has the above photo got to do with knees? Nowt is the one word answer. I...distracted myself there and my original thought pattern disappeared faster than a f**t in a fan factory...as they say in these parts. Let me try and drag it back kicking and screaming to the forefront of my overtired mind. I was about to say this...

"Did you know that ladybirds/bugs bleed from their knees?"




Yes, it's true. Startle a ladybird (not sure how I startled this one or even if it was me that did so) and it will ooze a foul substance from its knees. This process, that is supposed to deter any predator is called reflex bleeding. The 'Hemolymph' (the fluid in the cavities and body tissues of insects which transports nutrients) is both toxic and frankly, disgusting.

I have been photographing hoppers whilst out and about with the camera and here are just some that I have collected over the past few weeks...



Now that I see them here, I think there may be two versions of one of the pictures? Oh well, put it down to my poor vision? I am always seeing double.
Joking aside (yes, that was a joke) my eyesight can't be too bad or I would never have been able to find this extremely small springtail...


Almost certainly the smallest collembola I have yet photographed. I couldn't begin to hazard a guess at an identity at this tender age but I daresay there are people who will know.



Wanna see something you don't see everyday? Oh goody, 'cos I was going to post it next anyway...


These slender and slow moving insects are called stilt bugs. They belong in the Berytidae family. I think this could be Metatropis rufescens. I have only ever found two individuals and so assume they are not too common locally.

Edit: Oh no it isn't! Please see comments for correct ID (Thanks Maria) This is in fact a similar bug of a different family: Reduviidae  At least this means I probably have never found one of these before...

Well I think it's time for me to add the very last picture for this update and it brings us right back where we started, with a grey squirrel. I photographed this one at a local park a few days ago...



Don't just sit there....run, run...they are out to get you little squirrel!


Until the next time...