Tuesday, 21 May 2019

All The Small Things

I'm still fighting through the tail end charlie of this viral thing, so no running for a week :o(. Hoping to get back to it soon. Poppy is desperate! In the mean time, as soon as I was well enough to get up and out, I've been enjoying pottering around the garden seeing who I can find. May is a wonderful month for life in the land, and the garden gets better every year as it matures into it's home for wildlife role.

The chap in the photo above is a red cardinal beetle. He looks fearsome but he's very friendly. There are two of them sharing the nettle patch by the compost heap and I'm hoping they're a pair.

As I was chatting to the beetles, a flit of something small caught my eye and a butterfly alighted on the dogwood. The wings immediately snapped shut to reveal the spots and dots of a blue butterfly, probably a common blue. I got a surprise when she opened them to reveal not the blue I was expecting but chocolate brown. A female common blue, freshly minted...

The honeybees continue to gorge on the ceonothus while avoiding the crab spider who lives there. We usually get a swarm in May but so far nothing.

In the pond, large red damsels continue to eclose. Their colours are dimmed for a day or so after emerging before they mature into a deep ruby red colour with flashes of burnished gold on their tails.

And here are some shots of the common/ azure which I'm hoping Mr Tense will ID for me :o)

These two little chaps are tiny micro moths. They are very endearing and waggle their antennae at me whenever I go to see them. They are on the marsh marigold leaves on the pond at present.

 And this is a bee species unknown to me. Any thoughts?

And another bee I don't know...

The first green shieldbug of the year is living on the roses...

Docks bugs are everywhere in the vegetable patch, along with a female nurseryweb spider who will have her babies there later in the summer....

I counted three 22-spot ladybirds yesterday which I was pleased about as we get hundreds of harlequins...

And this rather handsome hoverfly who I think is xanthogramma pedissequum, who has the rather marvellous common name of superb ant-hill hoverfly because the larvae feed on aphids within the nests of ants...

And this one is a footballer hoverfly...

Ted is busy keeping a weather eye on everything.


There are three Brians on the cuckoo flower. Slightly worried about this as they are close together and orange-tip larvae are cannibalistic. They grow enormously everyday, putting on a couple of mm at least between measurements. At the moment, they are pretty well camouflaged.

I'm building my strength back before I go running again by gardening- this morning's labours were potting out the seedlings. Does anyone else have trouble growing sweet peas from seed? I have a grand total of 4 plants :o(. And don't get me started on black-eyed susans!

The blue tit chicks have fledged from sparrow terrace, but there are still babies in the roof nest and in the house on the wall. The woodies have left them alone this year. Mrs GSW paid a rare visit to the feeders this morning and for once allowed photos....

The second and much smaller crab spider, misumena vatia, is still on her oxeye daisy, having miraculously survived middle son back from uni for a flying visit over the weekend and playing violent croquet in the garden with his father. I shouted mind the spider! every few minutes :o).

I've saved the best till last. As I was typing this post, a loud buzzing came towards the open door. Not looking up and assuming it was a hornet I told Pop to leave it be and carried on typing, only for a large green person to fly in through the door, circuit the room noisily and fly out again. Now, I am very partial to beetles, and it's impossible to have favourites among them, but rose chafer beetles are one of my most favourites among the favourites I don't have. 

I darted outside and watched her bimble about the patio. She's looking for somewhere to lay her eggs, I thought, grabbing hold of Pop's nose to stop her snapping as the beetle came in low. She flew away over the trees and I thought that was that, but a few minutes later she was back, and this time she landed on the Brians' flowers where she remained for a good twenty minutes eating pollen and nectar before flying over to the sage pot which has fibrous chunks of rotted manure in it (exactly what a rose chafer likes) where she burrowed down to lay her eggs. Magic. I took 56 photos, but managed to whittle them down. It's not everyday your quite possibly favourite beetle comes to visit.

Just imagine, baby beetles will soon be in the sage pot!

Hope all are well and enjoying the lovely weather if you currently have it, as we do here. We are one A Level down, several to go.



  1. Loving being outside in the sunshine, I have trouble with sweet peas, which is a pain as I love the flowers. Our main issue is the pigeons eating all the tender shoots, they are a pain.

  2. I hope you're soon rid of this virus once and for all. May is turning out to be a beautiful month and it's wonderful to see so much life just on the doorstep. As always, it's a joy to see your stunning photographs. X

  3. It's very hard work keeping an eye on all that wildlife - poor Ted, he does look exhausted! That beetle is beautiful, just like a jewel. We have good weather here too at the moment, sadly I'm decorating the study but I'd much rather be in the garden. Hurray for finished exams, how many more to go? xx

  4. What a lovely selection of insects! The damselflies are Azures and one of your mystery bees looks like some species of ichneumon wasp. I am suitably green with envy of your Rose Chafer beetle sighting :o) I hope you feel better soon.

  5. Hope you are 100% better soon but you are not idle. Such a lot of wonderful wildlife in your garden.

  6. A lovely selection of little critters. Would love to see a common blue, only Holly blues in our garden. Hopefully you are now back to running strength and Poppy is getting her exercise. B x

  7. What wonderful photos, you have EVERYTHING in your garden! That beetle is a thing of beauty. I like the idea of violent croquet, I can imagine that going down well here. We already have violent badminton, violent cricket and violent pogo-ing. Hope you're back to full strength very soon. CJ xx

  8. I am so sorry to hear you haven't been well and hope you are back to normal and able to run soon. Lovely to see all the wildlife in your garden. Sometimes when I grow sweet peas I chip a bit off the seed and then leave them in a pot in damp kitchen paper and put them in compost when they start sprouting.

  9. Wow your garden is such a hub for wildlife- it's so lovely now that the evenings are so light as you can get out there after work too.

  10. I have not seen this ladybird. Happy weekend to you.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them. CT.