Thursday, 23 June 2016

'OPPERS




As it's National Insect Week this week (sorry, a bit late!) I thought I'd do a post on some of the 'smaller' insects that can be found, if you look close enough, in most vegetated habitats.

Hoppers...found in the suborder of Auchenorrhyncha and divided into several families...Frog, Tree, Leaf , Lace, Plant etc....are the tiny bugs that are usually only seen as they hop (there's the clue in the name!) from leaf to leaf, sometimes quite long distances for such a small bug, when disturbed from their resting spots on the vegetation.





I'll start with one of the larger, and more conspicuous, ones...

The Red-and-black Froghopper  (Cercopis vulnerata) is 9-11mm long. Common and widespread throughout Britain where it can be found in woodland rides and open habitats from April to August.



We're all familiar with seeing 'Cuckoo Spit' the white froth found on plant stems almost everywhere, it houses the nymphs of the Common Froghopper  (Philaenus spumaris).

I found some in the garden the other day that had been partially washed away by the rain revealing the small, about 3mm long, nymph inside.


After a short photo session it decided to go for a wander..looks a bit grumpy, I guess it was fed up with me 'flashing' at it?

The adult ( 5-7mm long) doesn't look much happier!
It can be found in variable colour forms from May to October.


This Lacehopper (Tachycixius pilosus) is 4-6mm long and one of the twelve species of lacehoppers that can be found in woodland (leaves) throughout England from May to July.


The next two images are of Leafhoppers of which there are around 285 different species to be found in Britain and Ireland.

Empoasca decipiens and Empoasca vitis are very common and abundant and difficult to tell apart, they are both 3-4mm long and green!  The main visual distinguishing feature is that E. vitis has a clear panel running along the forewings. 

E. decipiens (I think?) can be found in low vegetation from June to December.

E. vitis (I think?) can be found all year round on deciduous trees during the summer and evergreen trees, on which it hibernates, during the winter.


Another, larger, Leafhopper is Idiocerus herrichi. About 6-7mm long, it can be found from August to October on Willows, mainly in southern England.


I think this next one is my all time favourite 'little bug'.

The Horned Treehopper  (Centrotus Cornutus) is one of only two British treehoppers. 5-8mm long, it can be found on herbs and shrubs along woodland rides and similar habitats from April to August.

I think it must have some sort of persecution complex as it has a menacing looking 'face' to the front and....

...for rearward protection, a 'wolf' on it's back!

Friday, 3 June 2016

HOLIDAY SNAPS

Just recently I enjoyed a week's holiday on the beautiful North Norfolk coast...lots of birding, lots of walking and, of course, the usual mix of weather!
As you would expect I took more than a few photos! 
It's still an ongoing job sorting them out but I'm slowly wading my way through them.


Here's some that I think are worth sharing....



 A desert island?


 Distant Whimbrel


 Ancient beauty


 Colour amongst the seaweed...male Linnet


 There be jungle!


 Cause for excitement...a scarce Curlew Sandpiper.

 Now, where's that deckchair seller and the ice cream man?

 Fulmar 1

Fulmar 2 


 Taking in the view


 Little Tern


 Stranded


 Spoonbill


 North Westerlies...again!


 Redshank on guard


Reed Bunting

 

And a bit of a sunset to end with....

...I hope you weren't too bored?

 


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

THE KITES AND BUNTING ARE OUT........



....FOR A SPECIAL CELEBRATION.


Reed Bunting


 

This is where it all started...in the front bedroom of a small two up two down terraced cottage located in a small South Cambridgeshire village close to the Hertfordshire border...

 
Red Kite




....65 years ago on the 27th. April 1951 a small bundle of joy was brought into the world.
 

 (I'm glad that I soon grew out of the dress wearing phase!)



 Celebrating Corn Bunting and Reed Bunting.





The blonde hair didn't last long either, although during the last decade it does (what's left of it) appear to have once again reverted towards a lighter shade...of grey! 

 
Red Kite

65 years is a good amount of time to perfect your own style and persona to present to the world....

 
...how do you think I've done?

 

Corn Bunting


Now I find that some days trying to keep up the standard is just sooo tiring!....

 
 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

AN EXULTATION OF MEMORIES




There is one location, not too far from home, where I regularly like to walk, Why?...it reminds me of my childhood...it was a long time ago but some things I can still remember! 

I grew up in the Cambridgeshire countryside and a memory that is always with me is going out into the fields on a bright and sunny day..(Hmm?..that's another memory) to watch and listen as the many (I seem to remember there were lots more then!) Skylarks (Alauda arvensis)  took to the wing and slowly rose higher and higher into the sky while singing that unforgettable melodious song before dropping back down to earth like a stone before, seemingly at the last minute, opening their wings to make a safe landing.

The area where I visit now doesn't seem to hold as many but it's still a pleasure to stop for a while to watch and listen...an remember!


And to take a few photographs, of course....









I'm still working on the flight shots....these are as good as it gets at the moment!

 

 

 Exultation..I'm sure you know...is the collective name for a group of Skylarks.