Friday, 20 September 2013

After The Rain Comes The Sun And All The Insects Come Out To Play

As strange as it may sound, the UK is forecast a heat wave starting tomorrow and lasting through till October. So for all of you who have already put away summer clothes and brought out winter ones, you might be a bit warm as of Sunday!

The weather has changed here this afternoon - it has been positively warm - and as a result, lots of flying people of the insect variety have been buzzing about making the garden sound like summer again.

I took the camera out to see who I could find and quickly realised it was a Day Of Shield Bugs. There were five in various locations, with three distinct varieties:






After chatting to the Shields I performed a Rescue Mission for a (Cardinal?) Beetle, who was Very Close To Death and half-drowned in the same water bucket that did for the caterpillar earlier in the week. I have now taken Seagull Suzie's very sensible advice and placed a bamboo cane in said water bucket which will hopefully prevent any Future Insect Casualties. 

The Cardinal was Very Sweet, dried out on my finger then decided he liked it so much there he wasn't in a hurry to get off. I eventually persuaded him into the Delphiniums, where his red wings went rather nicely with the green leaves and petrol blue petals...


I had barely finished this rescue before I had to perform another, this time involving a Slender Groundhopper who confused himself with an amphibian and hopped right into the pond. Here he was wrestling with some sticky duckweed that had turned him upside down beneath the water. I watched for a second, uncertain whether this had been his idea or the duckweed's, and quickly deduced that the duckweed was in fact drying to drown him. This Wasn't Very Kind, so I scooped the Groundhopper up with my finger and gently eased the sticky weed off his legs. He rewarded me by boinging off onto the grass the second he was free. He must have realised this would Appear Ungrateful, because he then posed obligingly for a photo for about two seconds before pinging off elsewhere and disappearing pretty comprehensively.




After that I nearly trod on this froglet and only didn't because his ginormous leap saved him...



And then I found this HUGE caterpillar on the patio. Turns out he is a Buff Tip pillar (a type of moth we get here that looks like a snapped off silver birch twig), and he measured 55mm in length! The hairs are a warning that he is poisonous, so I handled him with Extreme Care, just in case it was people-poison as well as other-creature-poison..


After the pillar I found this bee inside a sunflower. Have you ever seen anyone so comprehensively covered in pollen? I am greatly surprised he wasn't sneezing...


After this bee I saw some More Sensible Bees feeding on the sedum. Every flower had a bee on it, which was Very Pleasing.


And then I found a Very Small Moth on the Michaelmas Daisies which are just starting to come out. In fact, there were lots of Very Small Moths, all identical and all Equally Mysterious. They are some form of micro, but they will have to wait for Christmas and the probable arrival of my Micro Moth Bible for an ID.
 

I wandered back to the Delphs to look for my beetle, but he was Nowhere To Be Seen, so I settled for a pic of the flowers instead. These were grown from seed (a little late this year) so I'm very pleased they have decided to flower.


Back in the Veg Patch and I spotted yet another Shield Bug sitting atop some sorrel...


And down on the drive a wild flower I Do Not Know The Name For, so if you can furnish please do. I've a feeling it is something Really Obvious that I should know but I've searched my brain and my books and t'internet to no avail :-(


I also found this Toadstool on the drive. It's That Time Of Year. I love fungi (to look at and photograph rather than eat- this aversion to ingestion stems from the time I ate a mushroom pizza when I was a teenager and spent the night hallucinating. I am assuming it was a magic mushroom that someone thought would be hysterically funny to chop onto a pizza and that the fairies weren't really there, but it has rather Put Me Off eating them). We get lots here (mushrooms, not fairies) with the damp conditions, so I shall get myself a decent fungi book and enjoy going exploring and looking for them as the Autumn comes in.


On a subject not related to mushrooms or fairies, earlier in the year my Robin (Blackberry) sadly died. I don't know the cause, perhaps old age, but we were very close and I have missed him all summer long. He used to sit on a particular branch on a particular tree at dusk and sing his little heart out. I went outside every evening to listen to him and not having him around this summer has felt like something important was missing. BUT, I am very pleased to be able to report that there is a New Robin in the garden, and he/she has decided to become my friend, to the extent that he/she is often not far away when I am in the garden, and even better has started sitting in the tree and singing.




I love Robins. A garden isn't a garden without a Robin in it. And talking of which, our house wouldn't be home without Teddy, Faithful Accompanier of all Garden Perambulations...


I'll leave you with a story M told me about Neil Armstrong, which you may or may not have already heard. There is some disagreement over whether or not it is real, but frankly who cares? It doesn't diminish from the enjoyment of the tale, which Made Me Smile, so I thought I'd share it with you all in honour of the approaching weekend.

Whilst walking on the moon Armstrong is supposed to have said "Good luck, Mr Gorsky!" after the "one small step" quote. When questioned what he'd meant by the remark afterwards he always declined to answer. Then one day he told journalists that as Mr Gorsky had died he therefore felt able to explain his words.

"When I was a kid I played baseball in my backyard. One day I hit the ball over the neighbour's fence. When I went round to get it I heard my neighbour (Mrs Gorsky) saying to her husband "Sex! Sex! You want sex? You can have sex the day the kid next door walks on the moon!"

Wishing you all a lovely weekend, and here is a sunflower to start it off on a Good Note. 

CT :-)

 

16 comments:

  1. I had put all my summer clothes away but won't mind getting them out again if it means warm weather again! Your garden was full of wildlife this afternoon and the pictures are so good. Sorry to hear about Blackberry but glad that you have a new friend. Does Teddy take much notice of him? Daisy was fascinated by some very tame chaffinches today. Sarah x

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    1. A final fling of summer before winter comes would be very much appreciated wouldn't it? Ted is very good with the small flying people of our garden (except wasps), but he is OBSESSED with pigeons and spends much of his life either staring at them or chasing them! x

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  2. I hope the weather forecast is right! Plenty to do..
    It's true, it wouldn't be the same without a robin. Got a glimpse of a pheasant today too...

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    1. Ah, has Mr Pt been absent then? Thought I hadn't seen him on your blog for a while. I have missed him and look forward to seeing more of him over the winter/ next spring :-)

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  3. Love all the different Shield Bugs - I sometimes find them in my moth trap :)

    I think your tiny micro moth may be a Nettle-tap moth but there again there are a lot of similar species!

    Sorry to hear about Blackberry - remember how sad I was when my little robin who fed from my hand for years suddenly disappeared. Glad you have a new one to keep you company :)

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    1. Ooh goody! Thank you- I've just looked Nettle-Tap up and I think you are right. What a fab name for such a teeny weeny moth.

      There is something special about Robins. Much as I love all our garden birds the Robins seem to be the ones to form bonds with humans most. Did you eventually find a new one too? I am also missing Mrs Sparrow, who has buggered off since the last batch of her children were born. Mr S is still around though so I'm hoping she'll be back next spring :-)

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  4. I love Robins too CT. Yours is very dapper looking compared with our who are looking distinctly scruffy.

    Love the shield bugs and I'm so pleased you still have so much life in the garden. Things were starting to shut down here but it's warming up this afternoon so perhaps they'll be back for that heatwave!

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    1. I also love shield bugs and particularly liked the third one down (dark green and black). I've never seen one before and can't find him in my books so I don't know who he is. They are such fab little creatures :-)

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  5. There seem to have been a lot of shield bugs around this year. And I am glad your garden has been re-robined, too. All gardens need the approval of a robin presence.

    I shall be thinking of you this week as you start your degree. And I am sure Teddy will like doggy crèche. Actually, I am very impressed there IS a doggy crèche. What a forward thinking establishment! X

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    1. You can never have too many shield bugs or robins I say.

      Thanks for good wishes re Uni. I shall tell you all about it x

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  6. Love the Shield Bug images-I don't think I have any! I thought I was the only one who rescues half drowned creatures-it doesn't matter to me what they are I just can't leave them drowning. Your sunflower bee is a joy to see, I wonder will it spend some time cleaning and gathering the pollen off itself? Lovely to hear you have a new robin for company, they are delightful birds and so inquisitive. Great pictures of the garden flowers, froglet and grasshoppers too.

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    1. I can't leave creatures drowning no matter how big or small :-)

      I too loved the little polleny-bee- never seen anything quite like it, it really made me smile.

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  7. Love all the bugs - especially the pollen-covered bee! Garden Robins are really special, aren't they? I had a little Robin that fed from my hand once - and then vanished after months of appearing every day. I thought the worst, then I wondered, because it was around this time of year, if it had migrated (as some do). I felt a lot happier thinking this!
    Good luck with Uni this week. Can't wait to hear about it!

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    1. Hi Wendy :-)

      Hope you've had a good break? How lovely to have a Robin feed from your hand. And thanks for good wishes re uni, will let you know how it goes x

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  8. What a lovely lot of things! I couldn't find a name for your 3rd shield bug type thing when I looked briefly. Very handsome though! I have never seen a bee so covered in pollen!! Incredible! I saw our robin the other day which was lovely :)

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    1. He's rather splendid the third shield bug isn't he? I loved that bee too- he/ she was so intent on the pollen he/ she didn't notice the camera at all :-)

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x