Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Monday, 13 June 2022

Mini-pond +

Wow, time flies and all that. I've been keeping myself busy, though it doesn't feel like I've ever got near to being ahead on work, chores and tasks. So having not posted for a couple of weeks or so, and seeing as I'll be heading back on Wednesday to see if that surgery gets done this time, here's a mix of stuff.

First up, although these photos are from back on 29/05/2022, you may recall I mentioned making a mini-pond using a raised planter. It's a c64x54mm rectangular box, and I've got the water at c20mm deep. It is far from an ideal pond, and of course I have no intention of it being anything other than (hopefully) a habitat for small inverts. I washed some stones and laid them on the bottom, filled it up and left it for a couple of days before adding some oxygenating weeds and then another couple of days or so before adding some potted marginal plants. Other than these plants, I'll not be deliberating adding anything .... but it was inevitable that the plants would have brought something.

The plants are a Water Forget-me-not, Water Mint with a bonus Monkeyflower that has appeared in the same pot, and a couple of irises. As expected, it seemed to develop a load of algae quite quickly, and then almost as quickly it cleared and I started to notice things. I was certain that the first things to turn up would be fly larvae, and sure enough a load appeared. So whilst it felt completely wrong, I decided to take the plunge as it were and shove the TG-6 below the surface. It survived .... despite me forgetting that I was supposed to remove the light guide.

Lots of mosquito and chironomid larvae making light work of the algae. Whilst these probably arrived naturally, I also noted that there were actually loads of snails that certainly arrived with the plants. I also noted some water boatmen nymphs which again I assume arrived with the plants ....

Whilst I was messing about trying to get shots of these, I noticed a completely unexpected 'newtpole'. In fact I've since seen at least five at the same time. I will have to ensure they get out once they're ready, but the whole point of this being raised was to ensure it doesn't attract frogs or newts!

So the scene is set, and I'll enjoy staring into the nooks and crannies etc waiting for the odd beetle that will hopefully turn up in due course.

Talking of beetles, I saw this one scuttling about in the garden on 07/06/2022 and luckily had a pot to hand. I could see that it was a small Carabid, but that was it until I got a couple of shots and then it was quite simple to sort out ....

It keys through to Asaphidion curtum, a new one for me.

Over the completely ridiculous nonsense that was the Jubilee bank holiday and weekend, we nipped down to Devon. The weather wasn't great, but I'd decided to take a light trap and was intent on using it regardless. I managed to set it up under the overhang of the garden summerhouse, so the trap stayed dry despite a bit of heavy rain in the early hours. The catch wasn't massive, but there was a good mix and a couple of new moths plus a couple I've only seen away from Leics. before. The two ticks were ....

Toadflax Pug

Double Line - sadly a bit knackered!

And a couple of nice species I don't see here ....

Small Seraphim

Sharp-angled Peacock

There were few micros, but there was this Grapholita sp. that I've retained for gen det ...

It may well be Grapholita funebrana, and this one from the garden on 02/06/2022 probably is too ....

Whilst I'm posting tortrixes, here a couple more from the garden ....

Grapholita janthinana - one of five flying about in the garden today

Gypsonoma oppressana from the trap last night

Clearwing lures in the garden have so far brought both Currant and Red-belted - so good to confirm that last years purple patch with the garden lures was not a fluke. I've also managed to see a few new species whilst out and about including Solomon's Seal Sawfly, Broad-leaved Helleborine and Stigmella floslactella.

Otherwise, here's some larval life from Watermead CP North on Saturday ....


Willow Ermine

We went to see The Wonder Stuff on Saturday night, and they were absolutely brilliant - it was just like stepping back 31 years to when we last saw them. We were also meant to see Manic Street Preachers at Peterborough but that got cancelled at the last minute due to James Dean Bradfield having Covid!

For a musical interlude though, I've been listening to loads of the ridiculously massive works of Klaus Schulze. c50years of electronic ambient stuff. Another one that is gone this year along with Vangelis.

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