Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Harlequin invasion

I wrote most of this blog a day before the BBC wrote an article on ladybird spottting, but I didn't get a chance to add the photos until now.

We've had a lot of ladybirds in the garden this year. They absolutely adore the tansy Tanacetum vulgare that we have in the wildflower border.

These are different colour variants of the invasive Harlequin ladybird:
H. axyridis succinea:

H. axyridis conspicua and H. axyridis succinea

I can't find a name for the red one below. Since the harlequin is so variable it's probable that there aren't names for all the colour variants, but if anyone knows differently please let me know.

We've also had 2-spots and 7-spots in the garden this year:

Worryingly I'm getting more and more used to seeing Harlequins and the native species are beginning to seem really small when I do see them.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Dragonflies every day

As many of you will know from various family blogs, Ian and I got married yesterday. There will no doubt be posts with photos from the wedding on various blogs, but I couldn't resist putting a couple of wildlife-related photos on here.

As readers will know I am particularly fond of dragonflies and from now on I will be able to look at some every day. After seeing a wedding ring engraved with fish I had the idea to have ours with dragonflies and Smooch Rings very kindly agreed to engrave them for us:

Ian, being a great lover of otters was not to be outdone so he had a cane hand-carved with an otter by the extremely talented Mark Davies:

Sunday, 3 July 2011

A poor year for dragonflies and damselflies

I'm afraid that I've neglected this blog terribly this year, but of late the garden has become full of lots of exciting little critters so I can't keep from posting any longer.

It's been a very poor year so far for dragonflies at Frog End. Although lots of damselflies emerged several weeks ago we haven't seen one for over a month and this female southern hawker is the only dragonfly we've had so far this year

I wonder if the harsh winter killed off a lot of larvae. Certainly the drought earlier in the year would have done - we were very sad to find that one of our favourite nature reserves for odonata - the Old Sludge Beds in Exeter had dried up almost completely by early summer.

I was very pleased that the hawker chose to land on the native flowers in our garden (this one's hemp agrimony) - whilst I do have hundreds and hundreds of southern hawker photos most show them perched on trees or bushes rather than flowers.