The ducks are starting to look a little shabby as they loose their mating plumage, and the grebe pair
|Garden Moth Caterpillar|
opportunity to admire them close up, though they are very soft and vulnerable at this stage. The scene does look a little alien though as the brown nymph exoskeleton they've just emerged from sits just underneath them like a second head. Later, when the dragonfly had moved on, I collected the exuvia to treasure along with the photo.
Newly emerged Dragonfly, not pigmented at
this stage they're difficult to ID but is most
likely a Black-Tailed Skimmer.
One change I'll admit to being a little disappointed in is the movement of spiders. Earlier in the spring Dolomedes spiders - a genera of running spiders who actively hunt rather than spin webs - could be found all along the moorings, basking on leaves. But now the temperatures have risen even more and I can only assume it's become too hot for them there as they've all disappeared. Instead they've been replaced by the banded demoiselle damselfly and the occasional black-tailed skimmer. While a lot of people find the 8 legs and 8 eyes unnerving I've always found them interesting and enjoyed having so many individuals so willing to sit and be inspected by a curious human. I do still see the zebra jumping spider who hunts around the hut quite regularly, and seems to be as fascinated by me as I am by him, but with the important job of feeding to be getting on with they never stay still for long.
Dolomedes spider, moved from the moorings
to appear outside the hut.
|Drinker Moth caterpillar|
Buff-Tip Moth, both the markings and the conical
way it holds its wings help it blend in as part of the branch.
As well as improving my ID skills and learning about the wet woodland habitat, I've also improved my public speaking skills, become more confident greeting the visitors to the trail and found that my preconceptions about nature have changed. I'd always thought that while there are so many interesting species out there the chances of seeing any was very small. However I've seen so many species I never expected to ever encounter in person; such as my first real life osprey who'd stopped to feed before flying on to his breeding area, and a ruby-tailed wasp which is a brilliant red and blue, metallic wasp that predates on mining bees much like the cuckoo. Now I've noticed a change in perspective when I'm walking through any green area and I rarely miss a chance to have a look for what can be found in the vegetation lining the path.
One of two Cock Chafers; large fruit eating beetles
who'd also been caught by our light trap