Archive for February, 2009

Springtails again

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags on 26 February 2009 by bramblejungle

These tiny but fascinating creatures seem to be everywhere – they (apparently) play a big part in breaking down dead vegetable matter to produce compost, and are indicators of the health of the local ecosystem; there’s loads more info on the collembola website. They have the disarming ability to jump vertically many times their length, by means of a built-in spring mechanism: I spotted this one because it leapt out of the leaf litter by my foot. (It’s not as scary as the photo suggests – only a couple of millimetres long!)

Springtail (Orchesella cincta)

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Tiny things…

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , , on 24 February 2009 by bramblejungle

These warmer evenings have produced a bit of emerging wildlife: innumerable spiders (though the garden spiders haven’t hatched yet), thousands of woodlice, and some new (to me) species:

a caterpillar (larva of a moth, perhaps the square-spot rustic)
Caterpillar
a springtail (I didn’t know these existed – apparently they are there by the thousand but so small you don’t see them),
Springtail
a centipede twice as long as I thought centipedes were meant to be,
Centipede
and an unidentified weevil that I suspect I’d rather wasn’t here at all.
Weevil

Buzzard

Posted in "red kite", birds, flight, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 21 February 2009 by bramblejungle

Jane commented on how similar the two birds in the last post are: she’s right, and for a while I thought I’d posted the wrong shot as a buzzard (there were 5 birds up there, I think 3 kites and 2 buzzards), but I’m fairly sure it has a dark head and no yellow beak. This is a distant shot of what I think is the same bird, showing a tail that definitely doesn’t belong to a red kite. I could still be wrong: click the “buzzard” photo to go to Flickr and view all sizes for a bigger version.

Buzzard (2)

Raptors

Posted in "red kite", birds, flight, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , , , on 21 February 2009 by bramblejungle

I haven’t seen buzzards here all winter, but today’s sunshine brought out a pair of them, along with several red kites (all too high for good photos, so I’ve included a red kite shot from last week for comparison):

Buzzard

Red kite

Warm night

Posted in garden, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , on 15 February 2009 by bramblejungle

Well, warmer anyway. Since it’s not freezing, I though I’d see if any of the local bug-life had emerged. Apart from a few woodlice, all I found were spiders, mostly the “missing sector” sort that have been hanging around the windows, plus these two:

The Crevice spider (aka Walnut Orb Weaver) that had been hiding in a crevice since 4 November had spun a new web, presumably expecting flying food to arrive:

Walnut orb weaver

and this magnificent Window Spider was on a window frame (where else?)

Window spider (amaurobius fenestralis)

Sorry if you don’t like spiders – they live here.

More greenfinches

Posted in birds, garden, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , on 14 February 2009 by bramblejungle

There seems to have been a sudden increase in greenfinch numbers – maybe some that migrate south for the winter are back in time for spring.

Greenfinch (f)

Greenfinch

Posted in birds, garden, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , on 8 February 2009 by bramblejungle

We have plenty of greenfinches around – you can hear them all the time – but they don’t visit the bird-table very often, and (unlike robins) don’t seem to like cameras much; I was lucky to see this one on a fairly exposed branch.

Greenfinch

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