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!
Archive for November, 2008
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!
On Monday evening I found a caterpillar on the shed door-frame.
Three days later, here it is again:
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
in which case it should become a small white butterfly like this in the spring.
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
A big hairy house spider
A velvety grey spider. Is there a mole spider?
and a garden spider, huge with eggs
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.