Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Salticus...

Probably my favourite spider, Salticus senicus again in the garden this afternoon. They can be found hunting on external walls and sometimes inside the house too. They are active hunters that don't spin a web but prefer to seek out their prey and boy are they well set up to do that - just check out the eyes on this one. Two extra large forward facing eyes, which detect the slightest movement. It makes them look more intelligent than your average spider and you can certainly interact more with them - real little characters.

Salticus scenicus: R. Harris
Salticus scenicus: R. Harris

Monday, 14 July 2014

Misumena vatia...

In the UK we have quite a few of the 62 European Thomisidae spiders and they all frequently get labelled under the common name of 'Crab Spider'. The Thomisidae are further split into sub-families but there's a lot of conjecture over whether they should ever have been split in the first place. This little fella is Misumena vatia, the commonest and most noticeable of the bunch and the only Misumena in Northern Europe. Always worth checking flower heads at this time of the year as they are frequently found sitting in ambush, waiting for an insect to walk close enough to grab with their specially adapted forelegs.

Misumena vatia: R. Harris
Misumena vatia: R. Harris
Misumena vatia: R. Harris

Here are a few other spiders from the garden over the last few days:

Araneus quadratus, male: R. Harris
Enoplognatha ovata: R. Harris
Pholcus phalangioides: R. Harris

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A Dorset Frog...

There's so much to do at this time of the year if you're into other branches of natural history and that's just as well as birding is very quiet at the moment. Luckily I like loads of other subject areas too and I find it hard to pick and choose what to do with any time I have. As the weekend looks set to be unsettled I made a snap decision to take a couple of hours off first thing and do a bit of botany. So early this morning I set off on a fairly short drive into Dorset to try and connect with the Frog Orchids Coeloglossum viride that are putting on a good display this year. I found 12 plants, including one that had sadly been trodden on. There were also hundreds of Pyramidal orchids, lots of Common Spotted orchids going over and a couple of Greater Butterfly Orchids well past their best but great to see so many wild flowers and insects thriving. Also lots of Corn Buntings singing away in the sunshine. Great start to the day.

Frog and (sad) Pyramid: R. Harris
Frog Orchid: R. Harris
Some were scrawnier than others
Flower close-up
Frog Orchid: R. Harris
Frog Orchid: R. Harris
Frog Orchid: R. Harris
Field Scabious: R. Harris

Pyramidal Orchid: R. Harris


And a few from yesterday:

Dwarf Spurge: R. Harris
Grass Vetchling: R. Harris
Grass Vetchling: R. Harris
This very obliging Pisaura miribilis or Nursery Webb Spider living up to its name, guarding the young spiderlings enclosed in their tent like web.
Pisaura mirabilis: R. Harris
Pisaura mirabilis: R. Harris
Pisaura mirabilis: R. Harris

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Devon & Dorset...bits and bobs.

Thanks to Andy Grinter for a visual round-up of Portland from a couple of days ago. Very much the sights of summer - he managed to see the long-staying Hooded Crow too but couldn't get a photo of it:

Spotted Flycatcher: Andy Grinter
Marbled White: Andy Grinter
Silver-studded Blue: Andy Grinter
Six-spot Burnets: Andy Grinter
Small Skipper: Andy Grinter
Meanwhile Dave Helliar has been looking at some of the locals around Chard and the Devon coast:

Above and beyond the call of duty Dave - not sure I'd
have let this Cleg  fly bite me for a photo!
Young Skylark: Dave Helliar
Young Skylark: Dave Helliar
Liocoris tripustulatus: Dave Helliar
Digger wasp Sp. with caterpillar host: Dave Helliar
Digger wasp Sp. with caterpillar host: Dave Helliar
Large Skipper: Dave Helliar
Small Skipper: Dave Helliar
Small Skipper: Dave Helliar
Thanks to Dave and Andy for supplying their images.