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!)
Archive for February, 2009
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)
a springtail (I didn’t know these existed – apparently they are there by the thousand but so small you don’t see them),
a centipede twice as long as I thought centipedes were meant to be,
and an unidentified weevil that I suspect I’d rather wasn’t here at all.
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.
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:
and this magnificent Window Spider was on a window frame (where else?)
Sorry if you don’t like spiders – they live here.