Thursday 26 April 2012

New Meet Your Neighbours Images

I'm still waiting for some warmer weather to appear but I've managed to photograph a few different species for the Meet Your Neighbours project in recent weeks (see the project website or this post to find out more). Here's a little selection:


A small Nomada Bee sleeping with its jaws locked onto a piece of conifer

A Sitona species Weevil

A female Tawny Mining Bee

A Green Lacewing

A Tawny Mining Bee on Flowering Redcurrant

and a nice copper coloured Ground Beetle (Poecilus cupreus) 

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Larch Ladybird

OK, I realise this is something of a niche post and unlikely to have widespread appeal...but anyone who is familiar with my photography will know that I often photograph ladybirds. I therefore confess to experiencing a modicum of excitement when I found a ladybird in my garden that I had not previously seen. I did have to look it up and found it to be a Larch Ladybird (Aphidecta obliterata). I'm no expert in Latin but I assume its Latin name refers to its ability to wipe out large numbers of aphids.

I found it in a conifer in my garden that is proving to be something of a magnet for ladybirds this year. There are literally dozens of Seven Spot Ladybirds in it as well as a few Pine Ladybirds and the occasional Harlequin. And now a Larch Ladybird.

It's much smaller than the Seven Spot Ladybird, only around 4mm in length, and not as glamorous either but it's still welcome in my garden.


it's characteristic marking is the W shape on its pronotum (the pale area above its eyes)

and finally a 'habitat' shot of it in my conifer

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Tawny Mining Bees

Well, spring seems to have gone into partial retreat and the cool temperatures have certainly limited the number of insects that I've seen. However, one small but particularly attractive bee has been busy in the brief spells of sunshine. At this time of year the Tawny Mining Bee is common in parks and gardens throughout much of the UK. The females dig holes, often in lawns, that can usually be spotted because of the mound of excavated soil that surrounds them. In these they will lay eggs which will emerge the following year.


A female Tawny Mining Bee on some heather in some recent sunshine

If you're patient you can watch them come and go from their holes. They're very industrious, not only excavating the holes but then laying eggs in them and stocking them with nectar and pollen for the newly emerged bees to feed on.

A female sat in the entrance to her nest hole

...and entering the nest hole

It is only the females that have the striking orange fur, the males are smaller and quite drab in comparison.

A male Tawny Mining Bee

but their pale facial hair does make the males quite photogenic!

Tawny Mining Bees are normally on the wing from early April until early June so they should be around for another few weeks.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

BBC Wildlife Magazine

My image of a night-time Garden Snail is published in the May issue of BBC Wildlife magazine.


This image is a good example of an image taken to fullfil a specific requirement of a magazine. It's not an image I would normally have taken, not least because I'm generally not keen on black backgrounds. But the magazine wanted an image of a Garden Snail at night with its tentacles extended - so that's what they got and I'm very pleased that they printed it. Incidentally, until I read the article I didn't realise that the small black dots at the top of the tentacles are actually eyes, albeit fairly primitive ones.

I'm also very pleased to have been offered an online gallery on the BBC Wildlife magazine website which should go live in mid May. Other galleries can be seen by following this link.