Sunday 27 June 2021
<em>Rhynocoris iracundus</em>, Christophstal June 2021

Rhynocoris iracundus, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Rhynocoris iracundus</em>, Christophstal June 2021

Rhynocoris iracundus, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Agapanthia intermedia</em>, Christophstal June 2021

Agapanthia intermedia, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Agapanthia intermedia</em>, Christophstal June 2021

Agapanthia intermedia, Christophstal June 2021

Red-necked footman, Christophstal June 2021

Red-necked footman, Christophstal June 2021

I'm still learning about some of the local species here in Germany. This bug attracted my attention when I was cutting back some willow suckers from the bottom of one of our trees. He was extremely aggressive and had a real attitude. He raised up whenever I went near him with my cutters. Once I'd downloaded the images and read a bit about this species I realized I could have had a nasty sting from this bad boy. Look at that stinger in the second photo - it looks like a scorpion.

This pair of Agapanthia intermedia beetles were mating in our upper insect garden.

Lastly, also in our upper insect garden was this red-necked footman moth.

Saturday 26 June 2021

We had two common lizards basking on some broken concrete beside our patio today. There's going to be a bit of disruption in that area in a couple of months as we're having some landscaping work done. Hopefully they'll move away for a short time and come back with their friends once we have established our reptile-friendly stone garden.

I have a new hoverfly species and a new fly species for the garden today, Helophilus trivittatus and Tenthredo mesomelas respectively.

Common lizard, Christophstal June 2021

Common lizard, Christophstal June 2021

Helophilus trivittatus, Christophstal June 2021

Helophilus trivittatus, Christophstal June 2021

Tenthredo mesomelas, Christophstal June 2021

Tenthredo mesomelas, Christophstal June 2021

Friday 25 June 2021

I spent several hours excavating around a huge rock which we've discovered in our planned cottage garden. Here are a couple of photos with Christine in one of them for scale.

We also found an albino oak. This is apparently a thing. A genetic mutation means that the plant can't make chlorophyll. It grows until it has used up all the stored energy in the acorn and then it will die.

Monolith, Christophstal June 2021

Monolith, Christophstal June 2021

Monolith, Christophstal June 2021

Monolith, Christophstal June 2021

Albino oak, Christophstal June 2021

Albino oak, Christophstal June 2021

Thursday 24 June 2021
Patchwork leafcutter bee, Christophstal June 2021

Patchwork leafcutter bee, Christophstal June 2021

Patchwork leafcutter bee, Christophstal June 2021

Patchwork leafcutter bee, Christophstal June 2021

Small bee TBI, Christophstal June 2021

Small bee TBI, Christophstal June 2021

Small bee TBI, Christophstal June 2021

Small bee TBI, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Clytra laeviuscula</em>, Christophstal June 2021

Clytra laeviuscula, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling white wagtail, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling white wagtail, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling white wagtail, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling white wagtail, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling white wagtail, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling white wagtail, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling black redstart, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling black redstart, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling black redstart, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling black redstart, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling great spotted woodpecker, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling great spotted woodpecker, Christophstal June 2021

Spotted flycatcher, Christophstal June 2021

Spotted flycatcher, Christophstal June 2021

Baldy bullfinch, Christophstal June 2021

Baldy bullfinch, Christophstal June 2021

I'm starting off today with a new bee species for the garden, the patchwork leafcutter bee, Megachile centuncularis.

I've got a couple of photos of another bee I haven't identified yet. This one was noticeable for being extremely small. I've included a regular-sized bumblebee in the photos to give some scale.

This beetle is Clytra laeviuscula. They're extremely variable and this was marked weirdly. It's an interesting species as it is completely dependent on ants to complete its lifecycle.

Outside of the insect world, there are still a lot of fledgling about including white wagtails, black redstarts and great spotted woodpeckers.

Just as I was closing down for the evening, I spotted(!) a spotted flycatcher in our birch and a male bullfinch with male pattern baldness.

Wednesday 23 June 2021

I've taken a week off this week and it has coincided with some hot, humid weather interspersed with thunderstorms - perfect weather for insect spotting.

Starting off today with a couple of common micro moths which are both in the Nemaphora family: N. degeerella and N. metallica.

I've had to do a bit of ID work to do with these beetles. The first one was taken on fox and clubs flowers and is Cryptocephalus hypochaeridis. It's a beautiful colour scheme. The second I've identified as Ctenicera cuprea. This photo was taken up in the new piece of our garden right up at the top - which we've designated an insect area.

We've seen red spider mites in the garden before but not recorded them. They're nothing to be proud of, but it is another species for the garden.

Lastly, some photos of a rare sighting (for us) of a common linnet. We've previously only seen once before and I didn't manage to get a photo on that occasion - so up until now it was the only bird species on our list without a photo. This individual was eating sorrel seeds just outside our garden.

<em>Nemophora degeerella</em>, Christophstal June 2021

Nemophora degeerella, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Nemophora metallica</em>, Christophstal June 2021

Nemophora metallica, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Cryptocephalus hypochaeridis</em>, Christophstal June 2021

Cryptocephalus hypochaeridis, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Ctenicera cuprea</em>, Christophstal June 2021

Ctenicera cuprea, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Ctenicera cuprea</em>, Christophstal June 2021

Ctenicera cuprea, Christophstal June 2021

Red spider mite, Christophstal June 2021

Red spider mite, Christophstal June 2021

Common linnet, Christophstal June 2021

Common linnet, Christophstal June 2021

Common linnet, Christophstal June 2021

Common linnet, Christophstal June 2021

Monday 21 June 2021
Orthosia gothica caterpillar on hedge bedstraw, Christophstal June 2021

Orthosia gothica caterpillar on hedge bedstraw, Christophstal June 2021

Orthosia gothica caterpillar on hedge bedstraw, Christophstal June 2021

Orthosia gothica caterpillar on hedge bedstraw, Christophstal June 2021

Svensson's copper underwing, Christophstal June 2021

Svensson's copper underwing, Christophstal June 2021

I found this enormous (~55mm long) caterpillar up at the top of the garden today. I'm pretty sure it is Orthosia gothica.

My Svensson's copper underwing moth emerged today. It looks like it may have been knocking around in the box for a while as there is quite a lot of damage on the trailing edges of the wings.

Sunday 20 June 2021

This spectacular poppy opened today. It was almost too red to look at!

Poppy, Christophstal June 2021

Poppy, Christophstal June 2021

Saturday 19 June 2021
Fledgling great spotted woodpecker, Christophstal June 2021

Fledgling great spotted woodpecker, Christophstal June 2021

Wood white, Christophstal June 2021

Wood white, Christophstal June 2021

Grasshopper nymph with parasitoid eggs, Christophstal June 2021

Grasshopper nymph with parasitoid eggs, Christophstal June 2021

Grasshopper nymph shedding skin, Christophstal June 2021

Grasshopper nymph shedding skin, Christophstal June 2021

We've now had quite a few great spotted woodpecker fledglings around the house over the last few days. Here's one that was learning how to get peanuts from our peanut feeder.

There still aren't many butterflies flying, but we did see a wood white today.

There are lots of grasshopper nymphs hopping about in the garden. The first photo looks like it has three parasitoid eggs attached to it. The second is just finishing off shedding a skin.

Thursday 17 June 2021

It was extremely hot today. This squirrel was suffering in the heat and just splayed itself out on top of one of the bird tables.

Hot squirrel, Christophstal June 2021

Hot squirrel, Christophstal June 2021

Sunday 13 June 2021
<em>Bassaniodes robustus</em>?, Christophstal June 2021

Bassaniodes robustus?, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Bassaniodes robustus</em>?, Christophstal June 2021

Bassaniodes robustus?, Christophstal June 2021

Xysticus cristatus?, Christophstal June 2021

Xysticus cristatus?, Christophstal June 2021

Carpenter ant nest, Christophstal June 2021

Carpenter ant nest, Christophstal June 2021

Harebells, Christophstal June 2021

Harebells, Christophstal June 2021

It was warm and sunny today. However, not much was happening in the garden. I got a couple of photos of some hunting spiders which I'll try to ID at some stage.

The carpenter ant from yesterday has finished her nest.

The harebells in our front garden are the best ever.

Later one, a baby great spotted woodpecker flew into one of our windows. It wasn't badly hurt and it flew off after laying on the ground for a few minutes.

Saturday 12 June 2021

Now that we've cleared the old copse of dead trees and undergrowth, we're discovering all sorts of things. This beautiful red columbine is flowering under the snowball tree. We've seen some columbines up there before, but not this fantastic colour.

We checked our beetle basement to see if the lizard is still in there. He is. While we were there, we saw this queen ant excavating a nest. I'm not sure of the species although I'm guessing it is a carpenter ant, possibly Camponotus herculeanus.

Red columbine, Christophstal June 2021

Red columbine, Christophstal June 2021

Red columbine, Christophstal June 2021

Red columbine, Christophstal June 2021

Red columbine, Christophstal June 2021

Red columbine, Christophstal June 2021

Queen carpenter ant, Christophstal June 2021

Queen carpenter ant, Christophstal June 2021

Queen carpenter ant, Christophstal June 2021

Queen carpenter ant, Christophstal June 2021

Thursday 10 June 2021
Cassida vibex, Christophstal June 2021

Cassida vibex, Christophstal June 2021

Cassida vibex, Christophstal June 2021

Cassida vibex, Christophstal June 2021

Red net-winged beetle, Christophstal June 2021

Red net-winged beetle, Christophstal June 2021

Fringed haycap, Christophstal June 2021

Fringed haycap, Christophstal June 2021

We had a brief tour around the garden between rain showers and recorded two new beetle species for the garden: a green tortoise beetle and a red net-winged beetle.

There's a fair number of fringed haycap mushrooms up at the end of the garden too.

Tuesday 8 June 2021

One of our beetle basements has been occupied by a small common lizard. He looks quite happy in there.

I found a white plume moth caterpillar on the bindweed in our front garden. We see them nearly every year now.

My vapourer moths have begun to emerge. There were four males and two females in the box this morning.

Common lizard, Christophstal June 2021

Common lizard, Christophstal June 2021

White plume moth caterpillar on bindweed, Christophstal June 2021

White plume moth caterpillar on bindweed, Christophstal June 2021

Male vapourer moth, Christophstal June 2021

Male vapourer moth, Christophstal June 2021

Male vapourer moth, Christophstal June 2021

Male vapourer moth, Christophstal June 2021

Sunday 6 June 2021
Gormless red squirrel, Christophstal June 2021

Gormless red squirrel, Christophstal June 2021

Male great spotted woodpecker, Christophstal June 2021

Male great spotted woodpecker, Christophstal June 2021

Manky blue tit, Christophstal June 2021

Manky blue tit, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Taphrina padi </em>fungal gall on bird cherry, Christophstal June 2021

Taphrina padi fungal gall on bird cherry, Christophstal June 2021

Male red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2021

Male red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2021

Willow tit, Christophstal June 2021

Willow tit, Christophstal June 2021

Wet starling, Christophstal June 2021

Wet starling, Christophstal June 2021

No 77, Christophstal June 2021

No 77, Christophstal June 2021

We're back to the terrible weather.

Here's a gormless squirrel hanging on our shed.

And here's a photo of a male great spotted woodpecker. We had one fly into the window a couple of weeks back and although it resounded through the house, such was the impact, he recovered and flew off. Must be all that drumming toughens them up.

I'm not sure what is going on with this blue tit. He's either in heavy moult or is very ill. He had quite an appetite, so I suspect it is the former.

I noticed something weird on the bird cherry. These large, white berries shouldn't be there. After a bit of Googling, I identified this as a fungal gall, Taphrina padi. We'll have to cut that off so we don't get an infestation.

Here are some photos of various birds including a rare visit from a willow tit.

Finally, with all the rain, I've been busy numbering the roman snails in our garden. I'm now up to 130. It's questionable whether the ink is staying on as number 12 is the only individual I've found from last year so far. Here's a photo of 77 who spent the last week on our shed, but moved off this afternoon. We're doing an additional experiment at the moment and moving the snails on on our of our beds various distances away to see how far we have to put them before they don't come back.

Saturday 5 June 2021

We saw the first willow warbler of the year today and the male bullfinch, who has been a regular at the table for a few weeks, was helping himself to some dandelion seeds.

Towards dusk, a buzzard flew over the valley. I initially thought it was the one with the gammy leg from a few years ago as it seems a leg was dangling. On inspection of the photos, it seems he has got hold of a fledgling.

Willow warbler, Christophstal June 2021

Willow warbler, Christophstal June 2021

Male bullfinch eating dandelion seeds, Christophstal June 2021

Male bullfinch eating dandelion seeds, Christophstal June 2021

Buzzard with fledgling (not in a good way), Christophstal June 2021

Buzzard with fledgling (not in a good way), Christophstal June 2021

Friday 4 June 2021
Painted lady, Christophstal June 2021

Painted lady, Christophstal June 2021

Mazarine blue, Christophstal June 2021

Mazarine blue, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Morlina glabra</em> maybe?, Christophstal June 2021

Morlina glabra maybe?, Christophstal June 2021

Morlina glabra maybe?, Christophstal June 2021

Morlina glabra maybe?, Christophstal June 2021

<em>Morlina glabra</em> maybe?, Christophstal June 2021

Morlina glabra maybe?, Christophstal June 2021

We forgot that yesterday was a bank holiday here and went to the supermarket. It was like a scene from an apocalyse movie - completely empty. I ended up working as I'd promised to work on some stuff so I took a couple of hours off today as recompense.

The sun was shining and the first few butterflies were flying.

While sitting on the terrace I found a shiny snail. I've managed to identify this as a member of the Oxychilidae family. I reckon it is Morlina glabra, but that would be quite rare here.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

I managed to find an hour to watch the birds. Not a lot going on, but here's a white wagtail and a male blackcap in our willows.

White wagtail, Christophstal June 2021

White wagtail, Christophstal June 2021

Male blackcap, Christophstal June 2021

Male blackcap, Christophstal June 2021