Wednesday, 26 July 2017

A Week Of Wildlife Firsts In The Garden: voles, dragonflies and a cucumber spider

It's raining here today, which has effectively put paid to any wildlife spotting potential in the garden, apart from soggy and disgruntled birds on the feeders. But that is OK, because this week I have clocked up three new species we haven't had here before.

The first, I was a little worried about. Even for short-sighted voles, sitting out in the broad daylight in someone's garden while you feast on seeds and grains isn't terribly normal behaviour. This little chap is either a baby or not well. He's also a Bank vole (the long tail is diagnostic) and although we get field voles in the garden this is the first bank vole I've seen. I had a similar experience last year with an infant mouse who sat in the middle of the patio utterly unperturbed by me or the dogs, to the extent I was able to pick him up and move him somewhere more sheltered. He was fine and eventually scampered off quite happily, so it doesn't always mean they're sick.


The second Rather Wonderful that occurred in the garden this week was a Cucumber Spider, again a new species for the garden. This is a female. She's set herself up on the Leucanthemum where, as you can see, she is doing a roaring trade in flies. I think she's Rather Wonderful. Leanne, I'm wondering whether Olly might jump allegiance when he sees her?! I think she is Araniella curcurbitina, although she could also be A. opisthographa as they are indistinguishable in appearance and size. Either way, I'm very chuffed to have her in the garden. They aren't big creatures, only about 4.5mm in length.



The third new species was this magnificent Golden-ringed dragonfly, Cordulegaster boltonii. This is a male (no ovipositor and a bulge in the abdomen tell it apart from the female). It's also an adult as it has emerald eyes (the juveniles have brown eyes). It's an insect of streams and small rivers with acidic-running water, and although I've seen them in woods 6 or 7 miles away we've not had them here at home before. There is a small stream running down our lane so I can only assume it's come from there. Either way, it's a beautiful insect and I'm charmed to have one at home.


In Other News, I'm still waiting for the all-clear from the Physio to get back to running and am feeling fat, unfit and slow as a result. In order to cheer myself up, I've adopted a new TV boyfriend. I realised I'd gone off all my previous ones and it was time for a change, so I've succumbed to predictability and, in common with most of the rest of the women in Britain and somewhat unimaginatively because I haven't time to watch more than an hour's worth of TV in the evenings at the mo, have opted for Ross Poldark. A cliche, I know, but not an unpleasant one, so there we have it. Last night I went one better and had a dream that Prince Harry was my boyfriend. For some reason we were sitting on a sofa in Bell street in Romsey as hundreds of people went by, none of whom recognised him. When I told M he roared with laughter.

How are you all? Any interesting wildlife or dreams recently?

CT :o)



39 comments:

  1. I shall never look at a cucumber in the same way again! Isn't it lovely to have such diversity of wildlife? Nothing particularly exciting in my garden, but very happy to see a few butterflies and dragons which have been missing of late.

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    1. Aren't they fab? I love her green colour.

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  2. Just going for a run then I'll come back and read this. Meanwhile I have a plea. Can anyone identify my strange flower. It's on my zen blog.

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    1. I've had a look and drawn a blank. Not sure what it is. Those are black seeds though not part of the bloom as I first thought.

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  3. Not surprised M roared with laughter:). Yes I'm rather attached to Rarse... myself. That's how we say his name in this house..I know we are a sad lot! Cucumber spider eh, well I'm still getting lots of crab spiders so I'll have to watch out for one of those. Saw several Jersey Tiger moths yesterday, so colourful. Didn't realise they got their name because they are so common in the Channel Islands. Hope you get the all clear soon. B x

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    1. I know- aren't dreams bizarre and wonderful?! I like the way M wasn't remotely intimidated having a prince as competition- there's a man whose comfortable with himself!

      I shall call him Rarse from now on too. I am happy to share him, especially as you are my friend and seen as you've just done your first Parkrun, too :o). Xx

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  4. Fab wildlife, especially that spider, he does indeed look exactly like a cucumber. I had a very distinctive dream last night, I remember thinking about it this morning, but now it has completely evaporated. Isn't it odd how dreams do that. Sorry you're not running at the moment, I hope you're able to get back to it very soon. CJ xx

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    1. Apparently writing dreams down trains the brain to remember them. I'm dying to know what yours was now! Xx

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    2. Further to your TV boyfriend, you also need a book husband. Have just seen this on Twitter. Mr Darcy and Atticus Finch have been mentioned so far. Shall have to give it some serious thought. CJ xx

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  5. Wonderful post today.
    I love Voles ! So happy to see one on your blog. I hope he is not sick an just young.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. He'd gone later so I think it was just a baby.

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  6. Never seen a cucumber spider but I've seen a little spider that looks like a corn niblet. Thanks again for the info about where I can look for my strange plant.

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    1. Let me know if you track down what it was. Interesting looking plant.

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  7. Diversity is wonderful indeed. Very informative post and liked the photos. Greetings to you!

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    1. Greetings to you too. Thank goodness for a rich diversity of life.

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  8. All three of your new finds I have never seen, so exciting when you get something new in the garden. Lovely photo's too.
    Hope you get back to running soon.
    Amanda 🐰🐰

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    1. We've been here ten years and I still find new things to learn about. Xx

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  9. Love the colour of the cucumber spider!

    As for the dragonfly, there seems to be a lot around this year, judging by my various timelines. Wonderful insects those Golden Ringers! Nevver seen one here, but they are about in the county.

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    1. I love the green colour too. So distinctive. And as for the dragon- beautiful!

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  10. Oh, what a sweet little vole; such a darling. We used to have them in the river but I haven't seen any recently. Beautiful spider and dragonfly too. I haven't succumbed to Poldark yet - am I missing out?! xx

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    1. You are missing out. It's a cracking yarn and he isn't too hard on the eye either. Time for iplayer :o) xx

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  11. Hey CT,
    I've just showed the cucumber spider to Olly, and he said (quote) "that's awesome!"
    I hope you get the all clear soon; I haven't run for a week, and I know exactly what you mean by feeling flabby etc. My new job and Olly now being on holiday has scuppered the running a little. I need to try and factor some time to get out, even if it's only for a few miles.
    Leanne xx

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    1. I've checked the distribution map and it looks like you get cucumber spiders in st Ives, so there's hope :o). Did a 1km run tonight, 30 seconds run, 30 seconds walk and the knee held up ok so keeping everything crossed for a longer run this weekend. What is your new job? Xx

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    2. Me and my sister in law have started our own cleaning business!! Shipshape Cleaning, no less. It's going really well so far. Lots of scrubbing to be had in St Ives. I'll have arms like Popyee before you know it

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    3. Hey! Excellent! Good on you. I have a friend who does the same thing and is always busy. Popeye arms will balance the strong running legs, eh? Xx

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  12. I have never heard of a cucumber spider before! Your TV boyfriends always make me smile! I think I will stick with Ross Poldark even with such fierce competition! Sarah x

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    1. I'll share him with you too, Sarah :o). I'm sure our husbands will understand! Xx

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  13. Golden-ringed Dragonfly as a garden tick! That is amazing, and I am rather envious. Whilst most of their lives are spent underwater as a larva (2+ years), adult dragonflies will wander away from water to forage or due to range expansion. They will return to water to seek a mate and complete their life cycle.

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    1. I was so pleased to see him. I'm not sure what their range is? I didn't they flew that far from water but I could be wrong.

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  14. How spectacular, three wonderful garden visitors.x

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    1. It's been a good week in the garden! X

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  15. Isn't that spider a wonderful colour. I've got a bit of a thing for spiders....some of them are beautifully marked. Thanks for the photos.
    Arilx

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    1. I agree they are a fascinating group.

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  16. I wonder if your cucumber spider is related to our flower or crab spiders. They also like to sit on yellow daisies (says my insect book) Ours come in pink, white or yellow - and able to change like a chameleon if they move to a fresh flower!

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    1. They're a different family. Our crab spiders are usually white but get a pink or green flush depending on the flowers they're on. I really love the fresh green of the cucumber spider.

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  17. I'm laughing out loud re your dreams! Excellent! To say your life is varied is an understatement!
    Wonderful photos and new visitors!
    Hope you can get back to running soon.... gentle walks might make you feel better!
    I'm nursing a cold - flu bug at moment! J asked if it was Man flu... I said very likely! To which he responded- it can't be you got out of bed! If it was man flu you'd be incapacitated! ��
    Love ❤️

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    1. Yup- no delusions of grandeur me!! I'm so sorry to hear you're poorly. Flu bugs and colds are miserable things. Rest up and let that lovely family of yours look after you. Xx

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  18. Ha Ha I truly enjoyed reading this . You know I'm such a nature nut. Oh and also please tell Prince Harry I said "Hello" If you two ever need a Cape Cod getaway feel free to stop by ! ;) Happy Trails from Honey Bee and Willow

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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