Friday, 13 August 2010

Little and Large

Morden Bog is a nature reserve just up the road from where I live and we often go for a walk (well, I walk, my OH goes for a run) on the reserve.   I knew the Wasp Spider was at Morden Bog but I have never seen one until yesterday, thanks to one of my contacts on Flickr, I found them.  I found six females and there was three males.   She is big and he is small, the female is impressive but the poor male, he is tiny and puny in comparison, and if he does not get it right, she will eat him either after or during mating. 

The females did vary in size, this female was the biggest, a real beauty I think, I wonder how many male suitors she has eaten:-)
Wasp Spider

Wasp Spider

In this picture, you can just see the tiny male spider, you have to feel sorry for him, nature can be a bit unkind sometimes, but his desire to mate with this huge female outweighs his fear of being eaten by her. 
Wasp Spider

Wasp Spider

Monday, 14 June 2010

Father and Son (or Daughter)

While I was busy doing my last post 'The Chilly North' there was quite a bit of noise in my garden, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers on the nutfeeder, a male and its young.  The noise was coming from the juvenile, wanting his (or her) Dad to give it some peanuts.  Lovely to watch.  The GS Woodpecker adult and young have been visiting my garden now for about three weeks and I have noticed that it is the male GS Woodpecker that does the feeding, this I also saw last year.  I very quickly got my camera and took these pictures through the lounge window.

Great Spotted Woodpecker, father and son or daughter

Great Spotted Woodpecker, father and son or daughter (2)

Great Spotted Woodpecker, father and son or daughter (3)

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Chasers, No Time to Stop and Stare

At Powerstock there are several ponds dotted around the reserve, we found three yesterday, all different from each other; the first was very clear, the second was covered in Duck weed, the third was full of Bogbean.  At two of them, there were quite large dragonflies flying around, the Four-spotted Chaser.  These dragonflies were constantly on the move, chasing off rivals, mating and laying eggs, no time to stop and rest for too long, time is very short for them. 

Four-spotted Chaser
Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly

Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly (2)

Bogbean, which was in one of the ponds

Newts.  This pond was so clear that you could see all the newts swimming around

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Marsh Fritillary

Powerstock nature reserve is brilliant in its variety of habitats and wildlife.  Today we took a trip to Powerstock nature reserve to hunt for the Marsh Fritillary butterfly and we found them.  They are smaller than I expected.  When I have seen pictures of them, they are usually close up pictures so the size of the butterfly (and other creatures) can be deceptive, larger than what they actually are.  But although the butterfly is small, it is a beautiful butterfly and Powerstock is one of its stronghold.  Dorset Wildlife Trust has been working hard on this reserve to provide the right conditions for this butterfly to thrive.

Marsh Fritillary (2)

Marsh Fritillary (3)

Marsh Fritillary (5)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Fontmell Down Nature Reserve

Fontmell Down is Dorset Wildlife Trust's nature reserve and also the National Trusts and is part of the  North Dorset Downs.  It has spectacular views across the Blackmore Vale.  I will say the part that the Dorset Wildlife Trust owns is the better part, the National Trust part is mostly farmland.   I was going to take a flask of tea with us, but my OH said we did not need it because he thought the walk would not be long - wrong!  We had a very long walk, up and down steep slopes, by the end of it I was gasping for my tea.  Fortunately, not far away, there is a cafe in a small aerodrome where they fly small  planes for pleasure trips and also give flying lessons.  Fontmell Down is now added to our list of places to visit regularly.

My best picture of 2010 so far, a fox cub.  This is my first picture of a fox.  This little chap had obviously decided to do a bit of exploring, like us.
Fox Cub

Fontmell Down, this part is the Dorset Wildlife Trust's nature reserve
Fontmell Down reserve

Grizzled Skipper
Grizzled Skipper

Dingy Skipper
Dingy Skipper (3)

Cowslip.  On one side of the Down was covered with Cowslips, whereas the otherside was covered with Milkwort and Early Purple Orchid.  Quite a variety of wildflowers.
Cowslips (5)

Difficult to capture the scale of the area covered in Cowslips, but I have never seen so many Cowslips in one area, fantastic to see.
Cowslips (3)

The sloping area that is covered with Cowslips, this is only a small area of it that I could capture.
Cowslips (2)

Early Purple Orchid
Early Purple Orchid

Common Twayblade.  This is an orchid and it is suppose to be common, this is the first time I have seen one of these.  It does not look very exciting and could be easily overlooked.  This area has nine different orchids.
Common Twayblade Orchid

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Today is Orange and Green Day:-)

Had a great day out at Martin Down nature reserve, I got my Orange Tip butterfly and the Green Hairstreak butterfly:-)  We took a trip to the reserve in hopes of finding the Duke of Burgundy butterfly, I think it maybe another week or so before we see these.  But we had a great time with the Green Hairstreak butterfly, it is the first time we have seen these.  We then went to the Cranborne garden centre for our tea and cake, and afterwards we went for another walk in the woods in Edmondsham, where the Bluebells are brilliant now and their colour is intense.

My first capture of the Orange tip butterfly
Orange Tip butterfly

The green jewel amongst the yellow Gorse, the Green Hairstreak butterfly.  My OH is great at spotting things, I seem to walk around in a dream, he sharper than me when it comes to spotting the butterflies.
Green Hairstreak butterfly

A closer view of the Green Hairstreak
Green Hairstreak butterfly (2)

When the sunlight catches their wings, they shimmer. 
Green Hairstreak butterfly (3)

These are the males of the Green Hairstreak butterfly, there was at least three and they were doing a bit of squabbling.
Green Hairstreak butterfly (4)

Different shades of green
Green Hairstreak butterfly (5)

We had to have our fix of Bluebells.  These Bluebells are reaching their best, their colour is very intense.
Bluebells (3)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Bluebells, Not Quite So Late

The Bluebells here are not quite so late this year, probably about a week later than previous years, certainly not three weeks late as some experts have predicted.   We went to Edmondsham to see the Bluebells, they are nearly at their peak.

Bluebells (2)


This Spring, I have seen a lot of Seven-spot Ladybird, far more than I have in previous years.  On this piece of log, there was several of them.
Seven-Spot Ladybird

Early Purple Orchid with a Dandelion in the background.  Spot the Ladybird:-) 
Early Purple Orchid

Monday, 26 April 2010

The Mining Bees Are Back

These little bees, the mining bees, are back in my garden, making little holes in my lawn.  Apparently there are 60 different species of Andrena mining bees in UK, so take your pick which one this is.  They are solitary bees, each female builds her own nest and looks after her own young.   When the female has finished her nesting, she will plug up the hole.  The young bees will not emerge until next Spring.  I had a go at getting some close up images of these bees.  The best way was to have one perched on my finger, it was difficult to take a picture with just one hand:-)  These little bees do not sting or their sting is so weak that it does not penetrate the skin.

Tawny Mining Bee

Tawny Mining Bee (3)

Mining Bee Nest

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The Great Brain Training Exercise

Take pictures of wild flowers, then when you get home, search your books and the Internet for their ID - is a great way of exercising your brain.  The real exercise of the brain comes when you go out again, see these flowers again and then try to remember what they are.  

Lousewort.  Taken at Kingcombe nature reserve.

Coltsfoot.  Taken at Powerstock nature reserve.
Coltsfoot (2)

Wood Anemones.  Taken at Kingcombe nature reserve.  One of our familiar wild flowers that is not forgettable.
Wood Anemones

The furtile shoots of the Horsetail.  Taken at Powerstock nature reserve.
The Flower of the Horsetail(2)

River Hooke at Kingcombe nature reserve.
River Hooke

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Coastal Walk

Some more images I took on our walk yesterday from Worth Matravers to Hedbury Quarry.

Spider Orchid, there were loads of these along the cliff tops to Hedbury Quarry from Winspit.
Spider Orchid (2)

White Green Winged Orchid
White Green Winged Orchid

Skylark, not a brilliant picture, but I class myself lucky to get this one.

I had to do a bit of research to find out what this bird is and the closest I come to is Linnet. There was a flock of them, five I counted, and Linnets do flock together.


Gorse (2)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Fossils and Lizards

Fossils and lizards seem to go together.  We had a great day out today, beautiful sunshine and no wind.  We drove to Worth Matravers in the Purbecks and then walked from there to Hedbury Quarry.  Our main reason for going to this quarry was to see the Wall lizards and we were not disappointed, they were everywhere in this quarry, I had a brilliant time photographing these little lizards.  We appear to have four species of lizards in the UK:

Common lizard
Sand lizard
Wall lizard
Western Green lizard (a new lizard found on the cliff tops of Boscombe and Southbourne)

Most people know about the Common lizard, some may know about the Sand lizard, but I wonder how many people know about the Wall lizard (I certainly did not know about them until very recently)  The Western Green lizard is a recent discovery, so I expect vertually no one has heard of these.  I have found a useful website about British reptiles:

Wall lizard, I am not sure about who is male and who is female.  The only difference seems to be is that the males are slightly larger than the females.
Wall Lizard

Wall Lizard (13)

This one was watching me while I was watching him
Wall Lizard (21)

This lizard came towards me, maybe he thought he could shoo me off :)
Wall Lizard (8)

Difficult to say if these are two males
Wall Lizard (4)

This was a surprise, a Common lizard, in the same location
Common Lizard (2)

Ammonite Fossil

Ammonite Fosils