Archive for November, 2008

Starlings

Posted in garden, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , on 29 November 2008 by bramblejungle

I thought hanging a fat-filled coconut on a natural-looking stick pruned from the field maple last year would attract bluetits and other small birds. It did – but the local starlings saw it too, and spent the morning fighting over it. Red-listed by the RSPB because of declining numbers, starlings are still common in gardens, and voracious eaters!

Starling

Shield bug

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 15 November 2008 by bramblejungle

That’s “stink bug” if you live in the US – I gather they produce a foul smell to deter predators, though I’ve never picked one up to find out. At first I thought this brown specimen was a forest bug, but the folks at British Bugs tell me that the green shieldbug sometimes changes to this colour in the autumn, presumably as camouflage amongst dead leaves. A good reason not to be too tidy in the garden!

Shield bug

What do you do if it’s still raining?

Posted in garden, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , on 13 November 2008 by bramblejungle

If you’re a snail, you keep climbing. The garden was full of them tonight – here are three:

Snail 1
Snail 2
Snail 3

Autumn colours

Posted in garden, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 7 November 2008 by bramblejungle

Yes, another garden spider; I just liked the colours of the pale late-season spider with the reddish light filtering through Virginia creeper leaves.

Autumn colours

Life-cycle

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , on 6 November 2008 by bramblejungle

On Monday evening I found a caterpillar on the shed door-frame.

Caterpillar

Three days later, here it is again:

Chrysalis

I can’t be too sure until it becomes a fully-formed chrysalis, but I’m guessing it’s one of the voracious caterpillars seen munching their way through the garden in October

All-weather defoliant

in which case it should become a small white butterfly like this in the spring.

Butterfly on philadelphus

The arachnid season continues

Posted in garden, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , on 4 November 2008 by bramblejungle

It’s a mild, damp night, and I made my usual after-dark tour of the garden with the camera-mounted lamp (my neighbours think I’m crazy – they’re probably right). There were more woodlice than I’ve ever seen, in all sizes, up walls, fences and trees; a few snails, a couple more harvestmen, two or three earwigs, a centipede – too quick to get a photo but I’ll try again later – and all the spiders that had presumably gone into hiding during the cold snap. Here are the ones I liked best:

A crevice spider living up to its name, hiding in a crevice

Crevice spider

A big hairy house spider

House spider

A velvety grey spider. Is there a mole spider?

Velvety spider

and a garden spider, huge with eggs

The next generation

Beetle

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , on 2 November 2008 by bramblejungle

The threatened snow didn’t materialise, though we had a few unseasonably cold days and frosty nights. Today we’re back to normal with a warmer night following a wet day, and the trees and walls are covered with woodlice of all sizes, along with a few spiders, harvestmen and earwigs, and some slugs and snails in the remaining foliage. The only newcomer was this ground beetle on the fence.

Beetle

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