4th August 2016

Alien - July 2016

It's not often you find a bona fide alien in your garden, but that's what I thought I'd found when I was cutting down some large Iris leaves last week!

Of course, it wasn't an alien at all, but rather something called an Exuvia, which is defined as...

An arthropod's cast, moulted or sloughed skin, especially that of an insect larva.

In this case, the insect larva in question is the larva of a Dragonfly (Odonata).

Exuvia - July 2016

When you see a side on view, it's pretty obvious that it was left by a Dragonfly. However, unless you see it emerge, it's difficult to know which species without apparently examining the rear abdominal segments and underside of the head. Something I neglected to take images of unfortunately. Even if I had, you'd need to be an expert to get an identification.

Common Froghopper - July 2016

Over in my dad's garden I encountered this little fellow. It's a Common Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius), and only a few millimetres in length. I was quite lucky to spot it in the undergrowth, and even luckier that it hung around for long enough for me to grab just one shot.

Redshank Collection - July 2016

This Bee was much more accommodating, hanging around for quite a while as it collected pollen from a small patch of Redshank (Persicaria maculosa) plants. Redshank, sometimes called Lady's Thumb, is another one of those plants that we call weeds, and often eradicate from our gardens, but are so important to our declining bee populations.

Butterfly Bush Bumblebee - July 2016

The Bumblebees (Bomba) were out in force this week enjoying the new flowers on the yellow Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)...

Small Bee - July 2016

...while a lot of the smaller Bees were enjoying the delights of the Evening Primrose (Oenothera).

Fluttering Eyelashes - July 2016

Meanwhile, as an aside, I couldn't help but be amused by the very well kept eyelashes of this Flesh Fly (Sarcophaga carnaria). If you look closely, they definitely look like they've been crimped!

Hydrangea Bush Butterfly - July 2016

After the abundance of Butterflies (Lepidoptera) last week I was expecting more of the same this week. However, the only species I saw in dad's garden at the weekend were Gatekeeper's (Pyronia tithonus). This one was enjoying the pollen from some Lacecap Hydrangea flowers.

Stripy Eyed Gatekeeper - July 2016

While this one was enjoying the good weather, and sunning himself in one of the hedgerows.

Mr Blackbird - July 2016

It was another beautiful weekend, and dad's resident Blackbird (Turdus merula) family were busy collecting food for their latest brood. This is the male sitting on a garage roof close to their nest...

Mrs Blackbird - July 2016

...and this is the female. Both of them are looking a little worse for wear after all of their hard work!

House Sparrow at Home - July 2016

It's not just the Blackbirds that are still looking after young, as there are still plenty of House Sparrow's (Passer domesticus) with families to feed. This male was eyeing up some bread on the lawn...

House Sparrow - July 2016 was this one!

Wood Pigeon Welcome - July 2016

Not to be outdone, the Wood Pigeons (Columba palumbus) are always interested in free food, and this particular one was looking very colourful in the sunshine.

Paired Up - July 2016

Over in the top of a Silver Birch (Betula pendula) tree, a pair of Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were also looking colourful in the mid-morning sun...

Goldfinch Family - July 2016

...and shortly afterwards a small family of Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) turned up...

Feral Flyer - July 2016

...while a Feral Pigeon (Columba livia) circled the garden, no doubt also with its eye on the bread scattered across the lawn.

Hey, sometimes you've got to put out bait to get your Avian subjects to come closer to the camera!

Butterfly Bush Globe - July 2016

The only new flower to dad's garden this week was the yellow Buddleia that the Bumblebees loved so much. I love how they form these large flower globes out of smaller florets.

Pear Tree Provisions - July 2016

Over in a neighbour's garden, the Pears were starting to form. I was quite surprised to see that there were so many, as this particular tree didn't seem to have much blossom on it this year.

Slurping Cat - July 2016

My furry photography friend really hasn't liked the hot weather we've been having, and has been very listless in recent weeks. He's even taken to lapping up the water that dad puts out for the birds to drink.

Dahlia Noordwijks Glorie - August 2016

Back in my garden, and there was a good start to the week, with another new Dahlia starting to open up. This one is called Dahlia 'Noordwijks Glorie', and looks like it's going to be another stunner.

Water Mint - August 2016

There was another new flower in my pond too, with the Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) starting to bloom. I actually thought I'd removed all of this from the pond, as it has a tendency to take over.

Orange Zantedeschia - August 2016

For the past few days it seems that summer has abandoned us again, and the rain has returned. However, apart from giving me a break from having to lug watering cans around the garden, some of my plants seem to have reacted very well to the freshwater downpours. Like this Calla Lily (Zantedeschia) for instance...

Lupin Liquid - August 2016

...and even the Lupin's (Lupinus) have put on a growth spurt, making me think they still might produce flowers this year!

Dahlia Pablo - August 2016

By far and away the prettiest Dahlia in the garden this week is this Dahlia 'Gallery Pablo', and it looks even more beautiful when covered in raindrops.

Wet Aster - August 2016

Raindrops seem to have the ability to enhance the beauty of almost anything, even this lovely Aster 'Frikartii Monch' bloom...

Wet Begonia - August 2016

...and who doesn't like a wet Begonia!

So, this week my Image of the Week choice boiled down to a choice between two images, both of them of the same subject. I eventually went with Alien because it looked more dramatic than Exuvia, although I think both are interesting. I also enjoyed waffling on about sloughed insect larva skin...