Tuesday, 30 July 2013


Great crested newt

Not much in the way of crests on this one but really fantastic to find one. 
They have lovely yellow spotted tummies and yellow spots on their toes. 
This one had made a home under a water butt.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Dragonfly wing

There really couldn't be anything more beautiful or perfect, or complex.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


I thought I'd missed my chance - I saw a pair of kestrels squabbling and went after them. I knew one had landed nearby I blundered along only to spot it taking off from a fencepost almost next to me - camera, of course, wasn't ready - drat. Then it landed in a tree, drat again:

I persisted and eventually it settled in full view. When it took off, then hovered, I was ready with the camera. Only when I downloaded the pictures I knew I was exceedingly lucky. What a great day. 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Blackcap mix up

Great to learn something new every day and realise when you'd been getting things wrong. Below is a blackcap, a male. The females have brown heads. What I'd thought had been a Blackcap is either a Willow tit or a Marsh tit. They're apparently very similar and hard to tell apart. 

Real Blackcaps are quite a bit bigger and have longer beaks. 

Here's a Marsh tit, or, er, is it a Willow tit?


What could be better on a hot day? Cherries straight off the tree.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


There are many more insects about now because of the heat. Clouds of midges, craneflies and flesh flies, who are remarkably hairy, as you can see below. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

Tortoiseshell butterfly

I found this butterfly yesterday. It was so bright and perfect it must have just hatched out. Great to see a few more butterflies about now that the weather has warmed up. There have been so few in comparison to this time last year. 

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Horse fly

I spent a hideous amount of time sitting in traffic jams today. 
So I thought I'd treat everyone to a horse fly.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Carp fry

Lots of beautiful silver baby fish shimmering in the sunny ponds in the park. They were very quick and quite hard to catch. I put them all back when I'd taken some photos. I'm assuming they're baby carp. Although to me one fish looks much like another. 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The toad

I found a surprisingly quick and nimble toad yesterday who didn't hang about when I approached him with my camera. He scuttled off under some potato plants. He seemed a long way from any water. I'm assuming he stays in shady damp spots in this hot weather to avoid drying out completely. He certainly looked healthy enough. 

I'm also trying to get shots of tadpoles with legs developing. Everything seems so late this year. 
This one had MINUTE legs - barely visible - I put a circle round them to point you vaguely in the right direction. I'm going to have to be patient.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Armour plating

Well, the Comma butterfly emerged - which is the bit I didn't manage to catch, of course (see blog for 18th June). And I've saved the empty chrysalis. 

On closer inspection it has little metallic projections on the edge. 

Why are those there? Why did they evolve? What are they actually made of? 
The closer I look at things the more questions I have. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


I was quite lucky today. My macro camera was refusing to focus on this Azure Damselfly, it is too thin and the camera just wanted to take a photo of the grassy background. Luckily it was cool and damp this morning, it slows the insects right down so the damselfly sat patiently on the blade of grass as I held a piece of paper up behind it. Great to have a sharp shot in the end.

I think it is an Azure Damselfly, could be a Variable Damselfly. They're really hard to tell apart.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Pond dipping

Good morning, for it is. This weekend I did more pond dipping. I found an amazing selection of little things. From backswimmers and boatmen to newt larva and dragonfly nymphs. The more I looked the more, smaller things I saw moving about in the water. Some organisms seemed to be no more than digestive tracts. Such fun and especially good if it's not raining.

Wish I owned a microscope.