Thursday 27 August 2015

This week's finds

Still getting some sun between the showers so bugs and butterflies are still around the garden.


There have been a few holly blues spending some time here. They were usually looking for nectar sources.  One, pictured left, liked the veronica, while another, right, seemed to prefer heather.

I have pictured a few bugs on the blog this year. Up to now, they have all been adults but I've found some nymphs lately. The first one, left, is a very early stage of the hawthorn shieldbug, acanthosoma haemorrhoidale. The nymphs go through about five stages called instars. They moult their skin at the end of each stage. The nymph here is tiny (only 2-3 mm long) and is probably a first instar.

Below is another nymph. This time it's a much later instar, probably fourth, of the common green shieldbug, palomena prasina. It appears to be feeding on the pollen of a cosmos flower but that may be misleading as they are meant to live on sap from trees and shrubs.

Monday 17 August 2015


A bit worn out from all the gatekeeping! This butterfly took time out for a drink of nectar from the August heather. Lucky for the insects, there's a heather in bloom nearly every month of the year in this garden.

Sunday 16 August 2015

Woody's back!

This woodpecker is living up to his name. He is pecking lots of holes in this dead birch tree. Some are big enough for him to get right inside the tree. Others are smaller and shallower. Is he creating nest holes or are the holes just ways of getting to the wood boring beetle larvae that must surely inhabit the decaying wood? He (or another male) made a deep hole last year but did not use it as a nest.

Friday 14 August 2015

Two more bugs

Another invasive foreigner here. This is the rhododendron leafhopper, graphocephala fennahi. It was introduced into Europe from the USA in the early 1900s. This one is an adult.

Both adult and nymph feed on the sap of rhododendron bushes. So it is one of the very few pests of rhododendrons. Some people would say we could do with a few more!

The pond skater, gerris lacustris, is another bug. These insects are carnivorous, preying mainly on other insects which fall onto the water surface. They rely on surface tension and non-wetting legs to walk on the water.

Sunday 9 August 2015

More darters

Freshly emerged overnight, two female common darters were still sitting on the bushes near the pond at midday today. From the evidence of their exuviae, left on the water iris stems, there must have been a third somewhere!

Saturday 8 August 2015

Bug and butterfly

I found this bug yesterday in the garden. It's a red legged shieldbug, pentatoma rufipes. The nymphs live on oak trees so it's not surprising really since there are oak trees overhanging the garden.

Today's visitor was a common blue butterfly. Apparently they are becoming scarcer so I'm pleased we still have them here.

Where do I Walk?

Mainly around the National Trust land at Washington Common and Warren Hill in West Sussex. I also spend some time around my old Steyning walks and other interesting places in West Sussex.