Life in the Undergrowth

As I arrived at Blashford this morning I was greeted by a vole running around by the gate. Later on I spotted another vole disappearing down this hole in the meadow by Ivy North Hide.

Vole hole

Vole hole

The meadow is slowly filling with flowers, including these beautiful Oxeye daisies.

Oxeye Daisies

Oxeye Daisies

The dock leaves are now almost completely shredded and the other stages of the green dock beetle’s life cycle can now be seen as the feast continues.

Green Dock Beetle Larvae and Eggs

Green Dock Beetle Larvae and Eggs

Next Saturday Jim will be running a family event celebrating the humble stinging nettle. So just to wet your appetite in anticipation of the event I thought I would spend a moment taking a closer look into the wonderful wildlife filled world of the stinging nettle.

Underneath the leaves there are lots of gloops of cuckoo spit – home to the froghopper nymph.

Cuckoo Spit

Cuckoo Spit

I found this adult froghopper too!

Froghopper

Froghopper

As it was such a gloomy day the damselflies were lying low and attempting to stay on the opposite sides of the nettle leaves and stems to me. On the same leaf as this one there was a lacewing larvae and an aphid.

Damselfly, lacewing larvae and aphid!

Damselfly, lacewing larvae and aphid!

I was on the look out for caterpillars as I know nettles are an important food source for a whole variety of species. This pile of poo was a bit of a give away…..

Evidence of a very hungry caterpillar!

Evidence of a very hungry caterpillar!

…..to this magnificent beast!

IMGP3451

I haven’t been able to find out which caterpillar this is so if anyone knows please share!

There were a whole array of ladybirds including this 7 spot ladybird.

IMGP3480

And a no spot ladybird!

no spots!

no spots!

I caught a pair of leatherbugs sharing an intimate moment.

Leatherbugs

Leatherbugs

Finally I stumbled across this gruesome but incredible scene. These two scorpionflies were feasting on a damselfly.

Scorpionflies

Scorpionflies

They had pulled its head off and were sucking out its insides!

Scorpionfly

Scorpionfly

The scorpionflies are named after the swelling on the tail and the way the male holds his tail which looks just like a scorpion. Never fear though as they are unable to sting although they will pretend to if provoked!

Bird News

There was a lapwing family spotted outside the Tern Hide today, 3 chicks with their parents. A little ringed plover was also seen from the hide before being chased away by the protective parents.

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6 thoughts on “Life in the Undergrowth

  1. Hi Michelle Just reading my spring RSPB magazine, albeit belatedly, and there is a picture there of a Vapourer moth caterpillar which seems to have as many bristles as your picture. I don’t know the emergence times of this species so it may not match but may help. Cheers Carol

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. hi Michelle had a look in my moth and butterfly book and your picture of the caterpillar looks like the Comma

    Pete j

    ________________________________

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