The buddleia has now come into flower in the back garden and the butterflies are taking full advantage of it. At one point we had four of these small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) feeding on one flower – trouble was there was quite a breeze which was freaking them out so catching them proved to be quite tricky…

Another macro from the garden – plenty going on out there at the moment.

Keeping with the macro theme of the last couple of days, I spotted this green fly glinting in the sun this afternoon in the garden. I love the red of the eyes that stand out so well.

I take a lot of photographs every day, but rarely publish more than one or two. Indeed I have a lot of photographs that I haven’t even processed which seems a shame, so here’s, hopefully, the first of a few catch up posts.

Yesterday we had a great walk around Rowney Wood, a lovely wood between Thaxted and Saffron Walden – you’ll find it almost opposite the main entrance to Carver Barracks as you head towards Debden in Essex. We spent around an hour strolling around the woods and saw many species of butterfly, all of which are shown in this image.

Of the butterflies going clockwise from top left we have:

  • Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
  • Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)
  • Large Skipper (Ochlodes faunu)
  • Comma (Polygonia c-album)
  • Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)
  • Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

There was a species of butterfly that we often see in the woods but didn’t see yesterday which is the Peacock (Aglais io)…that’s the caterpillar you see here – there were hundreds of these busily devouring nettle leaves.

We had our first walk in Rowney Woods this afternoon for the first time in 2 or 3 weeks…the growth is amazing. We went, amongst other things, to find some dragonflies to photograph, but they had all cleared off…leaving a whole host of butterflies and moths dashing about…but my favourite photograph of the day had to be this Long-jawed Orb-weaver Spider (Tetragnatha extensa), also known as the Common Stretch Spider.

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Popped out between showers this evening to catch some of the bugs that were flitting around. This fly was having a paddle on a leaf.

Another glorious day today found us walking around Rowney Wood near Saffron Walden. I deliberately only took my macro lens with me (instead of doing my usual and lugging about 5 lens around…and only using 1 of them!), well, it was a very warm 25°C.

We saw many butterflies, moths, damselflies, dragonflies, hoverflies, along with the usual bird activity. We saw a new dragonfly for us – a broad chaser (both a female and a male) – which we haven’t seen before in these woods. Today’s picture is of the Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), which isn’t large at all – along with the main image I’ve included a closer version and a Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria) below as well.

Speckled Wood Butterfly - Pararge aegeria

Large Red Damselfly - Pyrrhosoma nymphula-2

Rats with good PR, as someone once described them to me. I actually like squirrels and there are plenty in Hatfield Forest at the moment. There are more shots of some of the wildlife in Hatfield Forest below.

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So, yesterday I had a new bug (to me) to photograph, and today I have another one. Who knew there was such a thing as a “Tiger Crane Fly” (Nephrotoma flavescens)? Certainly not me, but here was one flapping around Dunmow this afternoon.

He’s behind bars now like too many of his larger namesakes.

I always enjoy finding strange bugs wherever I go. These are strange to me – probably people who pay attention to their surroundings won’t find these particularly strange…so today – the relatively commonplace and the definitely new (to me).

New to me is this Rusty Tussock Moth Caterpillar ( Orgyia antiqua)…at least, that’s what I think it is…it’s definitely a Tussock Moth Caterpillar…well…90% sure, the rusty bit is a bit more of an educated guess as that’s the nearest I can get looking at all the pictures I can find of these things. Fabulously hairy, probably a bit poisonous and some great colours…what more could you want from you bugs? It’s also known as a “Vapourer” as well apparently.

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