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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Probably my last buggy post of the year

These pictures were all taken in early November, when I noticed that my 'Ivy tree' out the front of the house was absolutely buzzing with insects when the sun was shining. I didn't manage to capture any butterflies on it but I could see out of the window that some were flying either towards or away from it, so I had to take my camera out for a bit of a look see. Ivy only flowers when it's in a sunny situation so whilst I've got tons of it growing in the woodland, it isn't of much use to the pollinating insects as it rarely flowers in that situation. But because it flowers so late in the year it is an important food source for late flying bees, butterflies, hoverflies, wasps, flies, well basically anything that will eat pollen and nectar. And the critters who will eat those insects..... mwahahahaha!

An Eristalis sp. hoverfly - there were loads of these about.

Clockwise from top left: Honey bee, an extremely tiny unknown hoverfly,
an unknown solitary bee and an Eristalis hoverfly.

Ivy flowers.

Dock Bugs (Coreus marginatus) are still around, although I'm a bit unsure as to where it's
hiding its head as its antennae appear to be coming from under the seed head!

Droplet hanging off one of the flowers turned seed head.

As usual, where there are flying insects there are spiders.......

Suitor no. 1 in the middle didn't get lucky - he's a bit stuck in the web. This doesn't seem to
be putting off suitor no. 2 on the left. I think these are Metellina segmenta and as you can see,
the female is quite different from the males. 

'Ivy Tree' growing over an old tree stump which we cut off about 5 foot high.

It was just as well I hadn't totted up my 2014 garden butterfly count as on 30th October I finally saw a Small Copper butterfly, but just like the dragonfly photo here, as I was creeping closer and closer trying to get better close up photos, both insects flew off - due to cats suddenly appearing and wandering past them! Aaarrggh!

I've still seen some butterflies this month but only on the sunny days, including a Clouded Yellow in the middle of the month, and another Western Willow Spreadwing (a damselfly) on the 11th November, which is quite amazing.

Very end of October - a Speckled Wood on the left, a Ruddy Darter (I think)
top right and a Small Copper bottom right.

The pond level kept getting higher and higher and finally submerged
the wildflowers that grew in the pond bed during the summer months.

"We want to go in the veg patch!"

Or maybe not - they suddenly realised Bertie was in there
creeping up on them on the other side of the fence!

A few starlings zoomed in on - so many of them around right now.
I hadn't noticed the one bottom left so I didn't chop him off on purpose!

Harry sunning himself in what at that time remained of the pond bed. (It's full again now)

Of late I've been busy going to the hospital five days a week - but at least I'm getting out and about because the countryside is looking glorious. Mid November seems to be the optimum time for great autumn colour and this year seems particularly magnificent. I think that with the rain coming just in time after the dry September and then mild weather with only one frost and no other cold nights since then has helped. I can't get photos as we are driving along main roads so it's impossible to stop (not that I have a camera with me or really the inclination or time to take photos), but it makes what could be a monotonous journey rather enjoyable. I've had to content myself with taking photos at home, and did get a bunch more photos a few days ago. There are still quite a few flowers left and the occasional bees and hoverflies making the most of them, and fungi springing up all over the lawn. There's always something interesting when you stop to take a little time to look. And I'm making sure I get fresh air and a good walk around every day no matter how grotty I'm feeling!

Friday, 7 November 2014

More autumn colour

Here are some photos I've taken over the last couple of weeks of the continuing colour in the garden. We had our first frost yesterday and a low of 1.1C (brrrr!) so the dahlias are blackened, but the nasturtiums and other not frost hardy plants have survived - for the moment - although I don't see any more frost forecast for the next week, just lots more rain. So at least I can look out of the window at some of the remaining flowers! 

This was on 25th October when my Forest Pansy still had lots of
leaves on it - now there are only about a dozen left.

A lone Coneflower opens amongst a mass of dead stalks and seedheads!
What a brave little flower.

I think I like this time of year for the Hydranges best - they still have
that great fading colour with the first hints of skeletonised petals.

Lacecap Hydrangea with the Mophead in the background.

Liquidambar with a crane fly.

The veg patch is a weedy mess even though I did manage a bit of hoeing - but if I get the
angle right you can't see too many of them and the kale looks great with dew on it.

It's also a great macro subject but I didn't have anything dry to kneel on
so couldn't get too close to those droplets this time. :-)

Some trees which don't have particularly pretty colours can still look great
when the sun is shining on them - this is my purple leafed sycamore.

Of the fruit trees, this peach, and also the cherries can look quite colourful.

The best of course are the non-natives like my Liquidambar.
If you look full screen you can see a sunbathing fly and a hoverfly.
This isn't a bug post, but they are often there....

What a difference between its dropped leaf and the boring brown ones!

The top of the Liquidambar is much redder than the rest of the tree, and blow me down, I had no
idea there was a damselfly in this shot (bottom left) until I zoomed in on my monitor -
4th November and it's a Western Willow Spreadwing. Not bad!

I do have some critters to share as there are still a few insects around. Hopefully I'll get my act together to post them soon, as from Wednesday, my treatment starts. I am facing 5 weeks and 3 days of radiotherapy 5 days a week! On those days I take chemo pills; thankfully these are taken at home so there's no hanging around having it via drip at the hospital. Having to go there so often is going to be pretty tiring and time consuming, never mind the potential side effects from the treatment. I'll keep you posted even if I don't have much in the way of photos to share. I suppose one good thing is that this particular chemo drug is not one that makes you lose your hair....although it might thin. Well, we'll see. I had quite fancied a wig..... :-)

Hope you are all well and again I'll try now to catch up with your blogs and see what you have been up to! :-) xx