Wednesday 9 September 2015

Early Autumn ... a mixed bag

Hoverfly Syrphus sp. (I think) on the last of my Californian Poppies

I spent ten or twelve minutes in our garden with my camera this afternoon, having a look around to see what was about. There was a dragonfly, but it was on the wing and never gave me the chance to see it properly. I could hear a few birds rustling in the bushes, but the only one to break cover was a female Blackbird. There were a number of insects, as you will see ...

Hoverfly Syrphus sp.
Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus (I think)

Early autumn berries on the Hawthorn

Blackberries arriving over the garden fence!

The photograph above intrigued me. There is a Small White (Pieris rapae) caterpillar on my Nasturtium leaf, but what is that white mark at the tip of of my orange arrow?

As far as I can see, caterpillars do not leave a trail of slime in the way that slugs and snails do. However, I have discovered from Reg Fry on the UKLeps website (you will need to search or scroll down once you have clicked the link) that White (Pierid) caterpillars spin a silkpad as part of the pupation process.

Intriguingly, it does not actually look to me as though the 'silk' in my photos is going to be used in this way. Do let me know if you have any thoughts.

I wish my photographs were clearer, but I was leaning over an unruly clump of wild honeysuckle, and had no wish to topple over! 

Close-up of ?silk

The photo above shows a couple of Nasturtium plants that have largely survived the onslaught of the caterpillars thus far. However, as you can see the leaves have been eroded by Leaf Miners (you will need to scroll down once you have clicked the link). I blogged about these two years ago in July. My Nasturtiums have been much later this year.

What interests me, though, is whether any of the parasitic wasps that have frequented this part of our garden around my insect hotel have been laying eggs in the Miner larvae. This thought may not be for the squeamish!

Above: something more straight forward - a Daddy Longlegs or Cranefly. I expect these will soon be making their way into our homes. 

And finally, a Shieldbug nymph (I think it is the Common Shieldbug nymph, 4th instar, but, as ever, please let me know if this is not correct).

I shall try out my ten to twelve minute observation exercise again. Who knows what I may have missed this afternoon!


Crafty Green Poet said...

Great observations there, Caroline! Lovely photos too

eileeninmd said...

Hello Caroline, I enjoyed this mixed bag of images. The Blackberries are looking yummy. I have been seeing some of the craneflies around here. Great post, have a happy day!

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

There will still be plenty of cracking stuff like this to see into November!

Mavis said...

Lovely post, Caroline. Thanks. You've inspired me to go out and see what I can find in twelve minutes. I just need the weather to improve. It's an overcast windy day here on Islay.

Ragged Robin said...

A great post Caroline illustrating so well what you can see if you look in a garden :) Very interesting about the Small White caterpillar. I think I can now see some flower buds on my nasturtiums!!!