Monday, September 29, 2014
Sunday, September 28, 2014
This is the caterpillar of the pale tussock moth (see link for earlier post showing the moth). The colours are striking and serve to warn predators that they are distasteful to eat. At this time of the year they are about to spin strong double shelled cocoons and then hibernate over winter before emrging as adult moths in May and June. There is always something new to see!
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Autumn is here even though it is warm and sunny. Early in the morning the mist lends a mysterious feel to the lane. Meanwhile stinkhorns are out. When they first emerge the head is covered in a glistening grey green slimy skin. It has a very pungent smell which attracts flies. This one was covered in blue flies, many of which flew away at the approach of the camera lens, but enough remained to illustrate how effective this method of spore dispersal is.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
link) bombing around. They can travel faster by spitting on the surface of the water. They also make ripples that are relatively huge given their diminutive size. Below a water cricket has been caught by a spider that appears to be able to walk on water.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Sunday, September 07, 2014
Saturday, September 06, 2014
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
The little stream that rises at the duckpond in Venterdon runs the length of the valley below Old Mill where it takes a meandering course before gathering pace and running through Luckett into the Tamar. Today golden ringed dragonflies were patrolling up and down the path that runs on the northern side of the stream. It was bathed in warm sunshine. Himalayan balsam (that has spread like mad in this area) lines either side of the path, and bird's foot trefoil and eyebright grow on its floor. This creates a natural space for jousting. The males fly up and down, and when they meet engage in high speed agile aerial combat. In WW2 fights between fighter planes were always referred to as dog fights; dragonfly fights would have been more accurate. After a fight the combatants land to take a breather and allow some close up photography. At the same time a couple of male common blue butterflies were also engaged in territorial warfare. In previous years this path was lined by more familiar plants like valerian and hemp agrimony. I am not sure how much of a problem Himalayan balsam is, but it would be a mighty undertaking now to get rid of it.
The close up shows the amazing pixellation of the dragonfly's compound eyes.