Saturday 31 July 2021

Here's a photo of a ruby-tailed wasp who was very interested in one of the tree stumps in our beetle basement. I still haven't quite nailed a decent photo of this species.

Ruby-tailed wasp, Christophstal July 2021

Ruby-tailed wasp, Christophstal July 2021

Tuesday 27 July 2021
Common blue damselfly, Christophstal July 2021

Common blue damselfly, Christophstal July 2021

Common blue damselfly, Christophstal July 2021

Common blue damselfly, Christophstal July 2021

Common blue damselfly, Christophstal July 2021

Common blue damselfly, Christophstal July 2021

Here are some photos of a new damselfly species I saw in the garden today. This is a female common blue damselfly, Enallagma cyathigerum.

Sunday 25 July 2021

We've noticed that our monolith resembles a sleeping elephant from some angles. Here's what we mean (I've added the eye).

Our hop is having another good year after the really bad year it had last year (it was badly infested with black fly). It has decided to flower for only the second time in nine years.

As the afternoon was drawing to a close, this female beautiful demoiselle, Calopteryx virgo, flew across my path. Luckily I had my camera with me.

Sleeping elephant monolith, Christophstal July 2021

Sleeping elephant monolith, Christophstal July 2021

Hop flowers, Christophstal July 2021

Hop flowers, Christophstal July 2021

Female beautiful demoiselle, Christophstal July 2021

Female beautiful demoiselle, Christophstal July 2021

Saturday 24 July 2021
Four swallow fledglings, Christophstal July 2021

Four swallow fledglings, Christophstal July 2021

Manky pine marten, Christophstal July 2021

Manky pine marten, Christophstal July 2021

Goldfinch, Christophstal July 2021

Goldfinch, Christophstal July 2021

Goldfinch, Christophstal July 2021

Goldfinch, Christophstal July 2021

Purple emperor butterfly, Christophstal July 2021

Purple emperor butterfly, Christophstal July 2021

Vibernum leaf beetle, Christophstal July 2021

Vibernum leaf beetle, Christophstal July 2021

 Today we had four swallow fledglings in our birch. It seems to be a good staging post for learning to fly, hunting and drinking from the pond.

It is very unusual to see a pine marten in the middle of the afternoon. This individual looks quite ill, and seems to have some sort of skin problem or got caught in a car engine. Is that oil on his head?

This goldfinch looked a bit healthier and was one of a group of 6 which are enjoying our thistle garden at the moment. 

We had our willows thinned out at the end of last year. I was worried that this might mean the end of our purple emperors. 

Well today we had one, so it doesn't seem to have done any damage.

Finally, there is a new beetle species for the garden (although we knew it was here, because our Snowball tree gets a hammering every year by the larvae). This is the Viburnum leaf beetle Pyrrhalta viburni on our snowball tree!

Friday 23 July 2021

It continues to be quite quiet in the garden from an insect perspective. There are a lot of butterflies, hoverflies and other common insects about, but there really hasn't been anything interesting happening.

On the bird side though, things are picking up again after the summer break. These two swallows were sitting in our birch for most of the afternoon, being fed by a parent.

Two baby swallows, Christophstal July 2021

Two baby swallows, Christophstal July 2021

Two baby swallows, Christophstal July 2021

Two baby swallows, Christophstal July 2021

Two baby swallows, Christophstal July 2021

Two baby swallows, Christophstal July 2021

Baby swallow, Christophstal July 2021

Baby swallow, Christophstal July 2021

Thursday 22 July 2021
Red-backed Shrike, Christophstal July 2021

Red-backed Shrike, Christophstal July 2021

Red-backed Shrike, Christophstal July 2021

Red-backed Shrike, Christophstal July 2021

I've been neglecting the birds recently, but there is a lull in the insect activity at the moment so here are a couple of photos of a male red-backed shrike that was in the garden all day today.

Wednesday 21 July 2021

After much searching, I finally found a wasp spider in the garden. This is a male, so isn't as impressive as the female, but the zigzag web is clear. This is a couple of metres away from where I found the egg sac at the end of last year - which suggests that there are a lot of these spread about all over the garden.

Male wasp spider, Christophstal July 2021

Male wasp spider, Christophstal July 2021

Sunday 18 July 2021
Byrrhus pilula, Christophstal July 2021

Byrrhus pilula, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Anthrenus fuscus</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Anthrenus fuscus, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Anthrenus fuscus</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Anthrenus fuscus, Christophstal July 2021

Grey dagger moth caterpillar with parasitoid, Christophstal July 2021

Grey dagger moth caterpillar with parasitoid, Christophstal July 2021

Grey dagger moth caterpillar with parasitoid, Christophstal July 2021

Grey dagger moth caterpillar with parasitoid, Christophstal July 2021

I really didn't think I'd have anything for the diary today. I took a few snaps but I didn't think there was anything interesting enough. However, I did record two new beetle species and I found the grey dagger caterpillar from Thursday - this time with its emerged parasitoid as I predicted. The Byrrhus pilula was in one of our beetle basements which is satisfying.

Saturday 17 July 2021

The day started well with this garden tiger caterpillar searching for a pupation site. Well he found a good one: in my puparium!

This pair of Dead-nettle leaf beetles were mating on hemp dead-nettle, so their name seems appropriate.

Our old maple stump is a good source of insects as it is still producing a lot of moisture. This fantastic (and reasonably rare) rove beetle, Ontholestes haroldi, was drinking there today.

Just as I was thinking there weren't any green mountain grasshoppers about this year, two turn up - one of which was sitting in a hawthorn beside our driveway.

And finally, some rather revolting slime mould. This one is Mucilago crustacea. The English common name is confusingly Dog's sick slime mould, but there's another species, Fuligo septica, which is called Dog's vomit slime mould.

Garden tiger caterpillar, Christophstal July 2021

Garden tiger caterpillar, Christophstal July 2021

Dead-nettle leaf beetles, Christophstal July 2021

Dead-nettle leaf beetles, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Ontholestes haroldi</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Ontholestes haroldi, Christophstal July 2021

Ontholestes haroldi, Christophstal July 2021

Ontholestes haroldi, Christophstal July 2021

Green mountain grasshopper, Christophstal July 2021

Green mountain grasshopper, Christophstal July 2021

Green mountain grasshopper, Christophstal July 2021

Green mountain grasshopper, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Mucilago crustacea</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Mucilago crustacea, Christophstal July 2021

Friday 16 July 2021
Common horse fly, Christophstal July 2021

Common horse fly, Christophstal July 2021

I finally got a photo of our third and most common horse fly called, appropriately enough, the common horse fly in English. I've not managed to get a photo of this species before as they're usually biting when we see them. It's deceptively beautiful with its mesmorizing eyes and patterned wings, but we know from experience, they are horrible creatures. This one was sitting on our house wall waiting to pounce. She got swatted as soon as I finished taking photos.

Thursday 15 July 2021

I took a few more photos of the Mangora acalypha spider from different angles.

While taking the additional spider photos, I found another new beetle species, Stenurella melanura.

Up in our upper garden, this grey dagger caterpillar was sitting prominently on a bird cherry leaf. I didn't collect it as it is usually the case that they are parasitized if they're in the open like that.

<em>Mangora acalypha</em>, side view, Christophstal July 2021

Mangora acalypha, side view, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Stenurella melanura</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Stenurella melanura, Christophstal July 2021

Grey dagger moth caterpillar, Christophstal July 2021

Grey dagger moth caterpillar, Christophstal July 2021

Grey dagger moth caterpillar, Christophstal July 2021

Grey dagger moth caterpillar, Christophstal July 2021

Wednesday 14 July 2021
Round-leaved bedstraw, Christophstal July 2021

Round-leaved bedstraw, Christophstal July 2021

Alsike clover, Christophstal July 2021

Alsike clover, Christophstal July 2021

Tiny froglet, Christophstal July 2021

Tiny froglet, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Lagria hirta</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Lagria hirta, Christophstal July 2021

Pseudovadonia livida, Christophstal July 2021

Pseudovadonia livida, Christophstal July 2021

Pseudovadonia livida, Christophstal July 2021

Pseudovadonia livida, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Eristalis tenax</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Eristalis tenax, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Eristalis tenax</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Eristalis tenax, Christophstal July 2021

Polymerus unifasciatus, Christophstal July 2021

Polymerus unifasciatus, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Adelphocoris seticornis</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Adelphocoris seticornis, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Mangora acalypha</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Mangora acalypha, Christophstal July 2021

Earlier this week, we went out for a run a spotted an unusual bedstraw that we'd seen a couple of years ago. Back then, we thought it might be licorice bedstraw, but that is an American species so it wasn't really possible. With a bit more research, we've now identified this as Round-leaved bedstraw, Galium rotundifolia. Today we cycled up to get some photos of this species in its natural habitat. It's a fairly understated plant and it only flowers for a few days a year so it is probably more common than it appears. But, for now, we've only seen a very local patch of this in one place in Christophstal.

We also recorded Alsike Clover in our garden back in 2016 but we've not seen it since. For the past couple of weeks I've seen a strange clover at the end of the garden and today we confirmed that it was Alsike Clover.

The weather forecast for today was heavy rain all day. However, it didn't actually rain during the day so we managed a few circuits of the garden and did a bit of planting/replanting. We had to be particularly careful where we were treading as there are quite a few very small froglets around the garden. Once again, Christine's finger provides some scale - she has treated herself to a manicure after seeing the photo from earlier in the week.

There are a few new beetle species and a new hoverfly, Eristalis tenax. There was a new species of bug too, Polymerus unifasciatus which I spotted on its host foodplant, heath bedstraw. I spotted a similar looking species on a nearby scabious, but this is actually Adelphocoris seticornis.

I thought I'd seen a small wasp spider down near the patch where I found an egg sac last year (that egg sac disappeared completely in late autumn - I've no idea how). This is actually Mangora acalypha  - a new species for the garden.

Monday 12 July 2021

Some fine weather finally.

We had an early morning visitor to the pond, a cormorant, a rare visitor here.

It's pretty good for butterflies at the moment. Here's a marbled white.

I got some nice photos of this European Wood Carder Bee, Anthidium manicatum, a new species for the garden.

And just after lunch we were visited by this enormous Ichneumon wasp, Dolchomitus imperitor, another new species for the garden. The first photo has Christine's finger to give some scale to this huge individual.

At the top of the garden, I spotted these wood ants farming some black fly.

And to close the day, a new beetle recording, Rhagonycha fulva, also from the top of the garden.

Cormorant, Christophstal July 2021

Cormorant, Christophstal July 2021

Cormorant, Christophstal July 2021

Cormorant, Christophstal July 2021

Marbled white, Christophstal July 2021

Marbled white, Christophstal July 2021

European Wood Carder Bee, Christophstal July 2021

European Wood Carder Bee, Christophstal July 2021

European Wood Carder Bee, Christophstal July 2021

European Wood Carder Bee, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Dolichomitus imperator</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Dolichomitus imperator, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Dolichomitus imperator</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Dolichomitus imperator, Christophstal July 2021

Wood ants farming black fly, Christophstal July 2021

Wood ants farming black fly, Christophstal July 2021

Rhagonycha fulva, Christophstal July 2021

Rhagonycha fulva, Christophstal July 2021

Sunday 11 July 2021

There were a lot of butterflies flying today including this heath fritillary. I was also rewarded with a new moth species for the garden, Anania verbascalis.

On one of my scans of the garden, I spotted this harlequin ladybird and an Agrypnus murinus beetle engaged in some funny business. They were sitting like this for quite some time. I'm not sure what is going on here, but it looks unpleasant. Neither species is carniverous so perhaps it was all quite innocuous.

Heath fritillary, Christophstal July 2021

Heath fritillary, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Anania verbascalis</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Anania verbascalis, Christophstal July 2021

Harlequin ladybird and beetle, Christophstal July 2021

Harlequin ladybird and beetle, Christophstal July 2021

Saturday 10 July 2021
Dog violets, Christophstal July 2021

Dog violets, Christophstal July 2021

Earlier in the spring, we were disappointed with the violet display in the garden. It was pretty unimpressive this year. It looks like the bad weather has made them concentrate on vegetative growth this year as we have some large clumps growing in the usual places.

Friday 9 July 2021

The weather has been really horrible for the past week or so so we've rarely been out in the garden. Today the sun came out for a short time and, although it wasn't particularly warm, there was lots of insect activity in the garden.

I found this dwarf cream wave moth inside the house. I've only previously got a poor photo of this species so I'll replace that with this one which is much clearer.

There were plenty of meadow browns and ringlet butterflies flying around as well as high brown and heath fritillaries.

The wet weather has caused one of the thistles in our thistle garden to reach an amazing height. Here's a photo of Christine beside this behemoth.

A short walk around the rest of the garden yielded a Hemipenthes maura fly, a new bush cricket species, the Great Green Bush Cricket and a new bug, the Crucifer Shieldbug.

Dwarf cream wave moth, Christophstal July 2021

Dwarf cream wave moth, Christophstal July 2021

High brown fritillary, Christophstal July 2021

High brown fritillary, Christophstal July 2021

Giant thistle, Christophstal July 2021

Giant thistle, Christophstal July 2021

Hemipenthes maura, Christophstal July 2021

Hemipenthes maura, Christophstal July 2021

Great Green Bush Cricket, Christophstal July 2021

Great Green Bush Cricket, Christophstal July 2021

Great Green Bush Cricket, Christophstal July 2021

Great Green Bush Cricket, Christophstal July 2021

Crucifer shieldbug, Christophstal July 2021

Crucifer shieldbug, Christophstal July 2021

Wednesday 7 July 2021
<em>Pseudargyrotoza conwagana</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Pseudargyrotoza conwagana, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Psyche casta</em>?, Christophstal July 2021

Psyche casta?, Christophstal July 2021

I thought I'd got a new moth species for the garden today when I found this Pseudargyrotoza conwagana on a window. It turns out I'd already recorded this species a couple of years ago. To compensate for my disappointment, I took a photo of this grey micro moth sitting on the northern wall of the house. We see a lot of these every year and I know it's going to be almost impossible to identify the species - especially as he was hiding his antennae. I've always suspected this is Psyche casta as we have a lot of the cased larvae all over the house and garden, but it could be any member of that family.

Saturday 3 July 2021

The weather continues to be changeable. Nevertheless, we recorded three new fly species, a new moth species and a new beetle species for the garden. The horse flies pictured must be males as they were more interested in the pollen than me. Having said that, the Large Dark Horsefly sat letting me photograph him up until I'd obviously wound him up and he flew directly at me. I managed to swat him away and he flew off.

I've included a couple of additional photos of stuff that was going on.

<em>Tenthredo temula</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Tenthredo temula, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Tenthredo temula</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Tenthredo temula, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Tenthredopsis scutellaris</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Tenthredopsis scutellaris, Christophstal July 2021

Banded-eye brown horsefly, Christophstal July 2021

Banded-eye brown horsefly, Christophstal July 2021

Banded-eye brown horsefly, Christophstal July 2021

Banded-eye brown horsefly, Christophstal July 2021

Large dark horsefly, Christophstal July 2021

Large dark horsefly, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Diplodoma laichartingella</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Diplodoma laichartingella, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Diplodoma laichartingella</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Diplodoma laichartingella, Christophstal July 2021

<em>Variimorda villosa</em>, Christophstal July 2021

Variimorda villosa, Christophstal July 2021

Honeybee with pollen on face, Christophstal July 2021

Honeybee with pollen on face, Christophstal July 2021

Meadow grasshopper nymph, Christophstal July 2021

Meadow grasshopper nymph, Christophstal July 2021

Roesel's bushcricket nymph, Christophstal July 2021

Roesel's bushcricket nymph, Christophstal July 2021