Sunday 31 August 2014

Three bright characters for the end of August

Some invertebrates appear as heralds of autumn, and today three striking ones were present in the garden. Migrant Hawkers have been around for a while, forming loose swarms that hunt between 2 and 8 m high, often well away from water. In the cooler, shorter days of late summer it becomes easier to come across sunbathing ones, perched on a branch, often more than one near each other. I flushed this male a few times as I went about in the garden, until I finally spotted him hanging from its perch. I got so close taking the macro above that I could have kissed him.
A single Red Admiral was also about, alternating between feeding in the buddleia and basking on a brick wall. During sunny spells she closed its wings, while during passing clouds she revealed its fresh, amazingly marked wings to their full splendor. This was a beautifully marked individual, the small, delicate blue markings on the edge of its wings very apparent.

I used the flash to counteract the sunshine and reveal the intricate patterning of the underwings, which can make the butterfly well camouflaged.
This garden spider, Araneus diadematus, is one of the largest in the garden, she hangs her web on the side of the rubbish bin, and has her retreat under the rim. Given the size of this species, detailed inspection of the epigyne is possible without even disturbing the spider (click on the photo to see it).


Unknown said...

I love you photographs and commentary. I found your blog while trying to identify something I had photographed

Africa Gomez said...

Thank you Sarah! Keep coming back :-)