Among the wisteria that grows over the pergola a small drama was played out this week. An ant got hold of a harvestman's leg. The ensuing tug-of-war went on for fifteen minutes. I was convinced the ant would win. It held the leg firmly in its jaws and dragged the harvestman ever forward with grim determination, heading for the leaf stalk where other ants waited. The harvestman seemed powerless to do anything but yield, slowly and inexorably, heading towards the inevitable demise.
Occasionally, there would be a brief remission, when the harvestman gained ground. Once, he managed to drop down beneath the single leaf that provided the setting for this drama. He hung, briefly suspended beneath it while the ant prowled on the top trying vainly to heave him back over. You can see this in the top right picture. The ant got his way and the harvestman was dragged over the leaf and on to the stalk. I steeled myself for the finale, thinking surely now he must give in, exhausted and unable to resist. But then suddenly the game changed, the ant let go and the harvestman scuttled for all he was worth over the leaf, across the stalk, under another leaf, dropping down out of sight of the ant who spent another ten minutes searching for him, futilely as it turned out.
I don't like to interfere, because everything has the right to life and how do you judge? But I have to admit I was rather relieved. It was such a valiant struggle.
In other news, leaf-cutter bees are everywhere in the garden at the mo. We have Willughby's (bright yellow tummys) and Patchwork. We've also got Wool Carder Bees (top right photo of the four below). The Leaf-Cutters are responsible for the all the sickle-shapes that have been removed from the leaves for nest-lining purposes.
Butterflies have also been visiting. Lots of Whites, a few Brimstones and, today for the first time, a female Common Blue :o)
And just in case you needed evidence of the benefit of keeping a patch of nettles in your garden, today I discovered Comma caterpillars of various ages on the nettles we've left up by the pond (top left photo in the set bellow).
The long grasses are also proving their worth, providing shelter for the Common Blue and also home to Speckled Crickets and Short-Winged Coneheads (the female of which you can see on the lily leaf in the bottom left below).
I can feel Autumn stirring in the land. The harvest is on its way here, with combines kicking up plumes of dust and golden burnished stubble fields open again for walking. And in the gloaming the air tastes of change. We ate our first blackberries from the hedges this morning while out for a walk with the dogs, and in the garden, the blackbirds are feasting on apples. It's warm here, but the land is turning.
Hope all are well?