Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Monday, 30 June 2014

More insects...

Popped over to Trinity Hill near Axminster at lunchtime for a walk today. Loads of large skippers and meadow brown butterflies flying at the moment along with a few other insects but otherwise very quiet.

Large Skipper: R. Harris
Large Skipper: R. Harris
Agelena labyrinthica - lurks inside a funnel of web
and rushes out to drag its victim back to
the safety of it before devouring it: R. Harris
Agelena labyrinthica: R. Harris
Pachygnatha degeeri, only 3mm long: R. Harris
Pachygnatha degeeri, only 3mm long: R. Harris

Common Blue Damselfly: R. Harris
Meadow Grasshopper: R. Harris


Local Red Kites...

There seems to have been quite a few red kites around the Chard area over the last couple of weeks, including a sizeable number noted in the same field as the white stork between Chard and Ilminster in mid-June. Dave Helliar has seen one or two local birds too, including this individual at the weekend near Tatworth.

Red Kite: Dave Helliar
Red Kite: Dave Helliar
Red Kite: Dave Helliar
Never tire of seeing these wonderful birds. Would be great if they started breeding locally again.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Spiders...

As we move into mid-summer many of our native spiders are maturing and becoming more noticeable. Here are a few seen on my patch in Chard this week:

Araniella Sp. possibly cucurbitina: R. Harris
Araniella Sp. possibly cucurbitina: R. Harris
Agelena labrynthica: R. Harris
Enoplognatha ovata, male: R. Harris
Scotophaeus blackwalli: R. Harris
Tegenaria Sp.: R. Harris
Tetragnatha extensa

A few other insects seen too:

Large Skipper: R. Harris
Strangularia maculata: R. Harris
Also the first Spear Thistles and Great Willowherb coming into flower now.

Spear Thistle: R. Harris
Great Willowherb: R. Harris


Monday, 23 June 2014

Local Round-Up - late June

Time for a quick round-up of what's been seen locally during the last week. Thanks to Dave Helliar for supplying photos of the Portland Hooded Crow, which has been hanging around the Bill area for over a week now plus a few butterflies too:

Hooded Crow, Portland Bill: Dave Helliar
Hooded Crow, Portland Bill: Dave Helliar
Silver-studded Blue, male: Dave Helliar
Ringlet: Dave Helliar
Marbled White: Dave Helliar
A few plants and insects from me too - surprising how many things you photograph over the course of a week just walking your patch:

Two-spot Ladybird: R. Harris
Seven-spot Ladybird: R. Harris
Harlequin Ladybird: R. Harris
Bombus pascuorum: R. Harris
Lesser Spearwort: R. Harris
Lesser Spearwort: R. Harris
Yellow Oxalis: R. Harris
Foxglove - if this was rare, you'd travel
a long way to see it! R. Harris
Foxglove: R. Harris
Mexican Fleabane: R. Harris
Orange Hawkbit: R. Harris
Orange Hawkbit: R. Harris
Enoplognatha ovata, male: R. Harris
Enoplognatha ovata, male: R. Harris
Agelena labyrinthica - this is normally all you see of them
as they sit and wait at the funnel entrance.
Agelena labyrinthica - caught this one in the open: R. Harris
Common Green Grasshopper - not so common anymore.

Sericomyia silentis
Scaeva pyrastri

Friday, 20 June 2014

Small, Green and Rare...

Probably the best way to sum up the Fen Orchid Liparis loeselii, one of our rarest and most difficult species of orchids to find. It's distribution in the UK has declined over the last 20 years being found now only in fens and wet dune slacks in two locations, one in Wales and one in Norfolk. I took a day off yesterday to go and search for it and after practically crawling around on my hands and knees for an hour, I found these two! Their cryptic colouration helps them blend into the surrounding vegetation and the tallest spike was only 6cm high. I did find another about 10ft away and to be honest, I didn't look too hard after that. I think I was very lucky indeed.

Fen Orchids: R. Harris
Fen Orchids: R. Harris
Fen Orchids: R. Harris
Fen Orchids: R. Harris
Fen Orchids - just about going over: R. Harris
Flower close-up: R. Harris

There were lots of other fantastic plants there too, including thousands of the following...

Early Marsh Orchid, spp coccinea: R. Harris
Marsh Helleborine: R. Harris
Marsh Helleborine: R. Harris
Marsh Helleborine: R. Harris
Pyramidal Orchid: R. Harris
Pyramidal Orchid: R. Harris
Bee Orchid: R. Harris
Restharrow: R. Harris
Ragged Robin: R. Harris
Meadow Thistle: R. Harris
Viper's-Bugloss: R. Harris
Viper's-Bugloss: R. Harris
Viper's-Bugloss: R. Harris
Unfortunately I ran out of time here - could easily have spent the entire day walking the dune system. Loads of insects out too including good numbers of Dark Green Fritillaries. But I had a another appointment that I didn't want to miss with another rare and most peculiar looking orchid. 

Lizard Orchid: R. Harris
Flower close-up: R. Harris
Does it look like a lizard...hmm?
Lizard Orchid: R. Harris
Lizard Orchid: R. Harris
Lizard Orchid: R. Harris
Lizard Orchid: R. Harris
What a day - great weather, great plants in great locations. You can't ask for too much more than that.