Male crab spider (probably)

araneus quadratus
When I first posted this, I very tentatively identified it as a male four spot orb weaver spider (araneus quadratus) (maybe). Or possibly a marbled orb weaver ( araneus marmoreus var. pyramidatus). I hadn’t found the I.D. especially easy, and asked if anyone knew better, for them to please tell me! Thanks to two very assured comments below, I have now changed the I.D. to an adult male crab spider (misumena vatia). Thank you both. I should perhaps give up trying to identify the bugs I find in my garden as my success rate is woefully low. Anyway, this tiny crab spider was photographed peering over a leaf in a tree rather high up and I was using my macro lens when I spotted it, so these are big crops. A characterful little thing.
araneus quadratus

Marmalade beauties

insect

Final approach

One of the most common hover flies in my garden is episyrphus balteatus. I am fairly confident about my identification in four of these shots. Less so in the one below.

insect macro

Legs!

I believe episyrphus balteatus is one of the flies also known by the common name, marmalade fly. Obviously, this is because of its colour and not because it has a penchant for preserves!.

insect in flight

Making a bee, err … hoverfly, line

I think hover flies are a delightful addition to the garden. The adults feed entirely on nectar but the larvae are voracious predators of aphids, which makes them jolly useful! Episyrphus balteatus is also one of the best hover fly hoverers, making it a relatively easy target for the photographer.

insect macro

Hovering over candles?

Hover flies disguise themselves as bees or wasps as a defensive mechanism. Unfortunately, they are so good at this that many people assume they are bees or wasps and, if they think the latter, they tend to swat them. What a shame. Hover flies have no sting and no downside for humans. They aren’t even interested in our food.

insect macro

Shimmer

Hawthorn Shield Bug

insect
Each Spring, the return of the insects to my garden prompts me to dust off my macro lens. After that, it tends to be the default lens until Winter sets in once more. However, it always takes me a while to get my macro eye back in. This year, other commitments meant that I didn’t have much time for photography; a foray into the garden yesterday showed me that my macro eye is most definitely still out! Never mind, there’s always next year…
insect
These shots of a hawthorn shield bug are from earlier in the year. One of the challenges with photographing insects in this country is most of them are so small. In warmer climes, there are big, chunky bugs to capture. These shield bugs are among the biggest I see in my garden, and they are still only 8-10mm when full grown.
insect
I must confess that I was not 100% certain of my ID here and originally misidentified this as a birch shield bug.  Thank you to Maria for the correction in the comments below.

insect

That’s it, I’m off.

Ladybirds with attitude

ladybird

Which way?

Still trawling through my hard drive trying to clear some space, I came across these ladybird images from 2011, and they seemed to make a set of ladybirds with attitude. Humour me. The first one is clearly at one of those crossroad moments in life.

ladybird on stem

The bad tempered ladybird

This one seems to be posing as the inspiration for Eric Carle’s delightful children’s book, The Bad-tempered Ladybird. I remember reading it over and over to my son when he was little.

ladybird on yellow flower

This season, stylish ladybirds wear spots to match their flower.

This ladybird is obviously a fashionista

ladybird

And for my next trick…

and this one an acrobat, or a show-off, or both.

insect taking off

I just want to be left alone

And this one has clearly had enough of being photographed!
Sanity will return tomorrow. I promise.

The return of Gasteruption Jaculator

wasp

So I’m a little bit weird – live with it.


Last year I posted a few shots of this bizarre creature, a wasp parasitic on solitary bees. For some reason I didn’t include this shot of gasteruption in flight, so here it is now. This is just for you, Gunta, because I know how much you like my buggy posts ūüėČ

Poppies, again

poppy field

Poppy field near Send, in Surrey.

In July, I shared some images of a poppy field I had found near the village of Send. I couldn’t resist sharing a few more. It was really special being there, among all the flowers. Three whole fields were covered in poppies. The first shot was taken in the morning, but I popped down again in the evening for some better light.

poppy field

Poppies mixed with other wildflowers and grasses

As the sun set, the poppies began to close, but the light was more interesting.

poppy field in evening light

Poppies start to close

poppy field at dusk

Everything changes in evening light

In low light like this, a tripod was essential. Needless to say, the camera was not set up for a moving deer, so when one bounded across the field I was working in, all I could do was react and take the shot with the wrong settings. At least I have something vaguely deer-like to jog my memory; I have a picture in there that needs no settings.

deer in poppy field

Common Blue

butterfly

It’s been several weeks since I was last here. I’ve missed it. ¬†I just pressed the button on my dissertation! ¬† I can no longer tinker with it; it’s done. ¬†All I need to do now is bind and drop off the hard copies tomorrow. ¬†I am excited to be able to get back to the blog. ¬†I hope you haven’t all given up on me!

I couldn’t completely leave the camera alone for the whole summer. ¬†Here’s a shot of a lovely little common blue butterfly, captured while on holiday in Sark in July. ¬†See you after college tomorrow!

Garden critters

bombylius major

Bee fly again

As the deadline for my dissertation inexorably draws nearer, and with school holidays approaching even faster, I am having to put photography on the back burner, again. But it is bug season! Not fair! I can’t ignore all that gorgeous mini-beast action in my garden completely. So here are a few shots grabbed in illicit moments away from my studies.

insect macro

Capsid bug

These capsid bugs normally hang out on oak trees. Luckily, my neighbour has a whopper of an oak tree so we get a lot of extra bug action. Oak trees rock.

insect macro

Really very tiny anonymous fly

This fly is so small I can’t make out the detail until I grab a macro shot and view it at native resolution on my desktop. It’s too small even for my insect field guide, so I can offer no ID. ¬†Do step up if you know what it is!

insect

What am I?

This might be a moth. It too is very small, but rather cute, in my opinion.

I have a few more shots to share but I am going to have to be strict with myself about spending time on-line for the next few weeks. So sorry if I don’t manage to visit your site for a while. But, come September, there will be no stopping me!