Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’


A Falkland Islands 5p coin found in my change here in the UK...

I always love finding alien coins in my change and this week’s discovery seems particularly fitting – a shiny 5p piece from the Falkland Islands, far away in the South Atlantic. I say fitting, because we are coming up to the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina.

But this is not a political post, nor is it a tribute to those 255 British and 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors and airmen and three civilian Falklanders who sadly died in that short conflict.

This is just about Falkland Island coins and the wildlife depicted on them.

That 5p coin features a Black-browed Albatross or (more…)

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A bust of Sir Peter Scott at the Slimbridge Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre

Over Christmas I thought I would miss my usual trip to the Llanelli Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre because of the miserable weather, but as it turned out we found a break in the weather on New Year’s Day and went instead to the Slimbridge Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre over the Severn Bridge in England.

This is the original (more…)

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View of Strumble Head Lighthouse, Pembrokeshire, from the car park...

I think this is the last post from my summer vacation and it’s a quick visit to Strumble Head, a rocky (more…)

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The orb webs of Araneus diadematus in a city garden in early autumn

I always thought the word gossamer just meant spider silk. But now I know where the word comes from, I see it specifically refers to the fine threads that blow and glitter on the breeze on sunny days at this autumn time of year.

The Middle English word was gossomer, perhaps from “goose summer”, a time of year when (more…)

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Phlogophora meticulosa or angle shades moth in the kitchen, September 28, 2011

Just a quick post to put on record two observations yesterday.

This moth flew into the kitchen last night, attracted by the light, and I managed to catch it in a glass. I was in the middle of eating, so couldn’t spend too long taking pictures before I let it go again outside. It was a lovely delicate pink and brown but refused to stay still for long.

I think I have now identified it as Phlogophora meticulosa or “angle shades”. These moths have such wonderful common names! Find out more on the UK moths or Butterfly Conservation websites.

Earlier in the day I saw this ladybird (ladybug) at the bus stop and took a picture with my phone. I saw some more of the insects nearby on a lime-tree leaf. I guess it’s time for the annual harlequin ladybird invasion.

The harlequin, Harmonia axyridis, was first spotted (no pun intended) in Britain in 2004 and has gradually spread north and west. Here’s an identification guide.


Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) and tiny grey insect at the bus stop, September 28, 2011

Can you see the teensy grey insect nearby? These were all over the metal frame of the bus stop, blending in well. Wonder what they are?

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A small white egg shell I found on the lawn this morning...

This morning I thought there was a small puff-ball fungus on the lawn, but it turned out to be this white egg shell, round-end up when I first saw it.

Knowing nothing, I first guessed (more…)

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A pair of urban foxes in a neighbour's garden

OK, I know it’s “a frog he would a-wooing go” in the old song, but I couldn’t think of anything else as a title for these pictures of a pair of urban foxes in a neighbour’s garden, basking in the morning sunlight after a wet few days. They look so devoted to each other.


If I had to guess, I would say the one lying down (left) is the female and the other is a male fox...

I don’t worry about (more…)

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Young robin (Erithacus rubecula) in the garden today...

The first young garden birds of the season are now visiting the bird table. We have so much leafy cover around that the young ones don’t need to show their faces until they are almost able to fend for themselves.

This is a shame – and the long-tailed tits nesting within sight of my window all disappeared together as soon as the chicks were able to fly – so I was disappointed not to see a host of baby “bum-barrels” at the bird table. They seem to prefer their own freshly-caught insects.

Anyway, so far we have two young great tits and one young robin…


Young (and noisy) great tit (Parus major) in the garden today...


Not so young, but a blue tit (Parus caeruleus)...


And another blue tit (Parus caeruleus)...


Although it's not the shot I was after, these blue tits feeding make a reasonable composition...

You can find more of my bird pictures here

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A long-tailed tit with a beakful of food for the babies in the nest...

A few weeks ago I blogged about the nesting activities of the long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus) in our garden.

Happily I can report that they are still there in the bush, undisturbed by a couple of recent short but noisy building projects nearby.

There now seem to be young in the nest, judging by the huge number of tasty worms and insects being airlifted in by a few relatives, constantly throughout the day.

To me the tits do resemble little helicopters as they wait their turn on a nearby Cotinus and then hover nearby before dropping vertically into the middle of the upright conifer bush. It’s probably their long tails that give that impression, especially when they are changing direction.

I am now watching out for the little ones to leave the nest…

Here’s my earlier blog post about the nest-building

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Snake's head fritillaries - including the white form, painted by Rachel McNaughton

It always annoyed me that a fritillary could be both a flower and a butterfly, but now I know where the name came from I feel much easier about it…

This week I took a picture of our often forgotten snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) in the garden.

Every year it’s the same. I almost pull it out because I think it’s just some self-seeded grass – in all honesty I would have, if it hadn’t been slightly out of my reach on a raised bed.


Snake's head fritillary in the garden this week...

Then suddenly it’s in flower, so delicate, its purple pattern so chequered. Clever, that. Although it looks better en masse in grass, as it is in Oxford’s Magdalen Meadows…


Fritillaries in great number at Magdalen Meadows, Oxford, pictured by Alison Ryde

Then there is the butterfly – in fact a whole bunch of fritillaries, in the family known as Nymphalidae, which includes nymphalids and browns as well as the fritillaries.


Marsh fritillary (Eurodryas aurinia) photographed by Brian Stone

You can tell the fritillaries because they have a chequered pattern and that’s the connection between flower and butterfly – (more…)

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