Ladybird, ladybird fly away home.

Last week I reported finding a number of ladybird pupa on the leaves in my garden. I’ve been keeping an eye on them and yesterday I found several had emerged. 

The empty pupa

As I had suspected from the pupa they have all been harlequin ladybirds. Harlequins come in a variety of forms with spots and colours varying.

Harlequin’s are an invasive species out competing our native species of ladybird. They have a bigger apetite and can eat more aphids in a sitting than most UK native varieties. They also eat eggs of other ladybird species of moths and butterflies. 

Originally an Asian native they were introduced to the US to control aphid numbers. They spread quickly dominating similar species. It is thought they were accidently spread to the UK either transported within produce or blown across from mainland  Europe. Once here in 2004 they spread rapidly.

More info here: http://www.harlequin-survey.org

So it always comes with mixed feelings when I sight a harlequin. On the one hand, as a beetle lover, it’s good to see a variety of ladybird do well when many are not. I know they’ll eat many of the aphids in the garden. But on the other they may be doing well at the expense of other insects I like.

If sighted you can report them here so the spread can be monitored.

Some scientists have pushed that invasive species can be positive bringing variety that may be able to survive as mankind destroys our world. The theory had faults but worth considering.

Article here
A few more photos of the harlequins. Whether they are destructive or not they certainly have a beauty. 

Oh what a beautiful morning

On the way to work today I stopped off as some of my teaching books were rattling around in the back annoying me. I pulled into one of the lay-bys and couldn’t resist taking a few snaps. The photos don’t do justice to what a beautiful sunrise it was.

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It feels like Autumn is here now. The berries are now on the bushes. Leaves are starting to turn.

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Birds in flight

On a walk out with Alice earlier in the week attempted to catch gulls in flight. I’m trying to get used to tracking their movements. Not the best photos, but getting a bit clearer.

Started a bit distant.

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A swarm taking off along the beach.

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Getting a bit closer.

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Going for a dive bomb overhead.

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Much easier when they stay still.

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Alice seemed soothed by the sound of waves and gulls watched contently.

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Hedgehog feeding

As part of my RSPB home for nature plan I was set the task of opening a hedgehog cafe.

 

Details of here: https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/makeahomeforwildlife/givenatureahomeinyourgarden/gardenactivities/openahedgehogcafe/

I haven’t set up the box station yet, but got a feeding tray and water tray ready next to the hedgehog home.

 

For those who have been following the blog you’ll of seen my highways and byways have had some success getting a hedgehogs into the garden.

Last night I had some of the busiest activity from my hedgehog visitor. I got some of the best footage on the trail cam. Then with Alice rising early for a morning feed at 4 I actually got to see the hedgehog this morning shuffling around the garden rather than just on the trail cam.

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